11 March 2020

Uniper confirms non-compliance with Paris goals in new climate-neutrality strategy

BERLIN, 11 March 2020 – German energy company Uniper has confirmed it does not intend to align its business with the goals of the Paris climate agreement, in its new European climate-neutrality strategy, announced yesterday.

The strategy [1] is based upon a business as usual pathway that Uniper claims would make its power generation portfolio in Europe climate-neutral by 2035. It details almost no voluntary closures of coal power plants in advance of government-enforced coal phase-outs, and fails to mention the company’s threat to sue the Dutch government [2] over harm it says the country’s 2030 coal phase-out policy would do to its future profits.

“We’re in a climate crisis, and Uniper knows that any discussion about coal must respect climate science and be based upon a pathway consistent with the Paris climate agreement. It clearly wants to be seen as a responsible actor, but for that, it needs to cancel the new coal power plants it has in the pipeline, and produce detailed plans for retiring all of its existing plants, including its Russian lignite fleet. Anything short of that is just corporate posturing,” said Kaarina Kolle, finance and utility coordinator at Europe Beyond Coal

Uniper’s carbon-neutrality target excludes half of its power generation, which is located outside of Europe, and the company has expressed its willingness to achieve the goal by offsetting CO2 emissions if necessary. Meanwhile, a core part of its European decarbonisation strategy relies upon selling its high-carbon assets to other utilities [3], which will achieve no real reduction in emissions if their buyers continue to operate them.

“Uniper needs to understand that the climate crisis isn’t somewhere off in the future, it’s here now. Uniper is the only company planning to bring a new coal power plant online in Western Europe. That inevitably renders it a pariah. If Uniper wants to say something about carbon-neutrality, it should start by telling us about its plans for abolishing Datteln IV which it is apparently willing to operate three years beyond its climate-neutrality target, not roll out the latest iteration of its field-tested greenwashing strategy,” said Sebastian Rötters, energy and coal campaigner at Urgewald.



Alastair Clewer, communications officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185 (English).

Kaarina Kolle, senior finance and utility coordinator at Europe Beyond Coal,
[email protected], +358505913072 ( English, Finnish).

Sebastian Rötters, energy and coal campaigner at urgewald (German, English, Spanish)



  1. https://www.uniper.energy/news/uniper-surpasses-2019-financial-targets-and-aims-for-climate-neutral-power-generation-in-europe-by-2035/
  2. https://www.clientearth.org/press/lawyers-condemn-unfounded-legal-challenge-over-dutch-coal-ban/
  3. Uniper recently sold its stake in Schkopau coal power plant to Czech energy company EPH. https://www.uniper.energy/news/uniper-sells-stake-in-schkopau-lignite-fired-power-plant-to-joint-venture-partner-saale-energie/



Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal-free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

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