Destroying the climate on your behalf

Tell the Bełchatów Power Plant
what you think!

Share this movie with a comment:

BełchatówPower Plant must stop destroying the climate by 2035 the latest.
@GrupaPGE @MinKlimatu @urzadmarszalkowski

Why does Bełchatów
concern all of us?

Black Heart

The Bełchatów Power Plant, together with the "Bełchatów" and "Szczercow" open-cast mines, created the largest cone of depression in Europe. It drains fresh water water, contributing to severe desertification of the most dehydrated region in Poland – Łódzkie voivodeship.

Fossil Fuel

Forty-five years ago, when the plant was constructed, the public was unaware that lignite was the most emissive and polluting fuel. Today it is certain that continuing burning of fossil fuels will lead to the end of our civilization.

Bełchatów Power Plant

The Bełchatów Power Plant is the black heart of Europe - it releases 35 million tonnes of CO2 every year which constitutes 10% of all Polish emissions. The Bełchatów Plant is Europe’s largest emitter. But the country is dependent on it - it supplies 20% of Polish electricity, delivering power to every fifth house.

Your reaction can stop the disaster.

We are experiencing increasingly extreme weather conditions: droughts, fires, storms and floods. These life-threatening anomalies hamper food production, cause water shortages, destroy vast territories, force people to migrate, and create conflicts over resources. How to prevent this? We can reduce air travel, move by bikes instead of cars or stop eating meat. But that's not enough. We have the right to demand changes from the biggest emitters! They must change their habits and replace coal with clean energy. Our future is at stake.


Join the activists,
before it's too late!!

Our joint pressure is already affecting key decisions of the authorities..
By reacting you will join active groups:


ClientEarth sued the owner of the Bełchatów Power Plant for destroying the climate – our common good.


More than 10,000 individuals signed the petition demanding the Bełchatów Power Plant to reduce its emissions. A grassroots group ‘Parents for Climate’ presented the petition to the PGE Management Board..



Public figures, people of theatre, cinema and television, protested against the destruction of climate by the Bełchatów Power Plant.

Grażyna Barszczewska: Watch

Mikrowyprawy: Watch

Paweł Orleański: Watch

Adam Wajrak: Watch

Together we will write a positive story.

The history of Bełchatów Power Plant is already 40 years old and we have no influence on it, so today we are focused on the future! We've developed a plan that will allow the black script to end positively soon. See our timeline!

1960 1964 1965 1972 1975 1980 1982 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1988 1988 1989 1992 1997 1997 1997 2003 2005 2009 2009 2011 2013 2013 2014 2015 2017 2018 2018 2018 2018 2019 2019 2019 2019 2019 2019 2019 2020 2020 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2030 2030 2030 2032 2033 01.01.2035 2035 2038 2050
Lignite deposits discovered in Bełchatów the Minister of Mining and Energy commissions the construction of the Bełchatów complex. Scientists present the first report on the possible dangers caused by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The Report "Boundaries of Growth" predicts a shortage of resources, an increasing pollution and declining population in the 21st century. Construction of the Bełchatów Power Plant begins. First tonnes of lignite extracted from the Bełchatów open-pit mine. Unit No. 1 of the Plant, the largest 360 MW power unit at that time, is integrated into the national power system. Researchers of the American oil company Exxon conceal results of a forecast announcing that global warming will aggravate because of the expected increase in CO2 emissions. Units No. 2 and 3 integrated into the national energy system. Units No. 4 and 5 integrated into the national power system. Units No. 6 and 7 integrated into the national power system. Incorporation of units No. 8 and 9. Bełchatów PP becomes the largest power plant in Poland. Unit No. 10 integrated into the national power system. UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher warns about the dangers of global warming and increases control over the industry. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established. It serves as advisory body to the UN. Units No. 11 and 12 commissioned. The Bełchatów Power Plant reaches its full capacity of 4320 MW. Poland sees the beginning of a significant drop in CO2 emissions. Cause: the political transformation and the industry shutdown. Poland signs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It aims at preventing damage to the climate. The Bełchatów Power Plant reaches one million operating hours. Poland signs the Kyoto Protocol - the first binding international agreement on combating global warming. Owners of the Bełchatów Power Plant decide to build unit No. 14. PGE obtains the first integrated permit for the construction of the "Zloczew" mine to supply lignite to the Bełchatów Plant. Bełchatów Power Plant becomes the largest CO2 emitter in the European Union. It will maintain this position every year except for 2007. First tonnes of lignite are extracted from the Szczerców open-pit mine. The Bełchatów Power Plant receives 180 mln euros in subsidies to finance the construction of a CO2 capture and storage installation. Preparatory works begin. Unit No. 14, the largest power unit in Poland (858 MW), is commissioned. Its construction will last 14 years. PGE abandons the CO2 capture project due to unprofitability and lack of public funds. The 2020 Strategic Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change officially states that the Łódź Province is a region with water shortages. The one billionth tonne of lignite burns at the Bełchatów Plant. Poland, along with 194 other countries, signs the Paris Agreement and agrees to prevent the global temperature to rise above 1.5°C. The local citizen association opposing the construction of the Złoczew mine, "NIE dla odkrywki Zloczew", is created. Greenpeace reveals that the amount of emitted mercury declared by PGE was 18 times lower than the actual Bełchatów Plant emissions from 2016. In reality, the plant emitted 3 tonnes of this harmful element. The Ecological Policy of the State 2030 is created. The document includes the description of desertification of the Łódź Province. For the first time in Poland wind energy price is half of the current energy price on the market. The 1.5°C IPCC Special Report is published. It states that OECD countries must close all coal-fired power plants by 2030. Unit No.1 of the Bełchatów Plant - the first and the oldest – is closed. The Bełchatów Plant produces one billionth megawatt hour of electricity. For the first time in Poland solar energy is cheaper than coal energy. ClientEarth starts legal action against the owner of the Bełchatów Power Plant for environmental damage. ClientEarth reveals that the Bełchatów Power Plant received 5 bln zlotys of state aid. The support didn’t translate into a positive environmental effect. The European Commission starts working on the European Green Deal. Aim: to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050. Poland does not support the EU objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Sweden and Austria close their last coal-fired power plants. Shutdown of Unit no. 2 in the Bełchatów Power Plant (as recommended by experts). Lignite resources in the Bełchatów mine are exhausted. Slovakia becomes coal-free (plan). France becomes coal-free (plan). Ireland, Italy and the UK become coal-free (plan). Shutdown of units No. 3 and 4 (as recommended by experts). Shutdown of units No. 5 and 6 (as recommended by experts). Shutdown of units No. 7 and 8 (as recommended by experts). Shutdown of units No. 9 and 10 (as recommended by experts). Shutdown of the oldest 11 coal-fired units in the Bełchatów Power Plant, responsible for 85% of production, as claimed in the ClientEarth’s lawsuit. Hungary becomes coal-free (plan). All OECD countries become coal-free to prevent from trespassing the safe threshold of 1.5°C of global temperature increase. Denmark becomes coal-free (plan). Extraction of lignite from the "Złoczew" mine commences and will continue so for up to 30 years (PGE's plan). PGE halves extraction in the Bełchatów region. Employment drops by 50% (PGE's plan). Shutdown of the last coal unit in the Bełchatów Power Plant, as claimed in the ClientEarth’s lawsuit. Lignite resources in the "Szczercow" mine are exhausted (as estimated by PGE). Germany becomes coal-free (plan). The European Union achieves climate neutrality and complies to the European Green Deal.

Stay tuned

  • The current legal status of ClientEarth's lawsuit against PGE GiEK

    In its lawsuit against the owner of the Bełchatów Power Plant, ClientEarth demands a shutdown of the 11 oldest coal units by 1.01.2030 and the shutdown of the last unit by 1.01.2035. ClientEarth sued the owner of the Bełchatów Power Plant for the damage to the natural environment, such as the climate and water, understood as a common good. ClientEarth indicated the installation's enormous emissions of CO2 and other harmful substances into the air, the creation of the largest cone of depression in Europe and the desertification of the region. The Charity based its demands on public data and documents, reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), technical and economic research, as well as expert opinions on the impact of the Bełchatów complex on the climate, soil, flora and fauna, water relations and landscape.

    Huge coal win as judge orders Europe’s largest power plant to work with ClientEarth to close

    22 of September in a landmark decision, a District Court judge in Poland demanded the plant operators negotiate with our lawyers to accelerate the plant’s closure and find a solution within three months.

    The decision is a major breakthrough that signals to the people of Poland that the health of the country and the planet is more important than coal.

    Head of ClientEarth’s Central and Eastern Europe operation Marcin Stoczkiewicz said: “This decision is a major breakthrough for the environmental movement. It puts environmental experts at the table with coal companies, to find a solution that genuinely works for the climate.

    About Belchatow coal plant
    Belchatow is a giant coal plant in Central Poland, burning 45 million tonnes of lignite, the dirtiest form of coal, every year – an entire tonne every second. Over its lifetime, the plant has emitted approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, making it the largest single greenhouse gas emitter in Europe. Its annual emissions, roughly equivalent to the sum total of New Zealand’s, are rising year on year. The plant is a major climate culprit but its owner, PGE GiEK, has not presented any official plan to reduce its climate impacts. We’re demanding that the plant operators stop burning lignite in the plant – or take measures to eliminate its CO2 emissions – by 2035 at the latest.

    “The largest emitters, like Belchatow, must shoulder their share of responsibility for the climate crisis. Without a rapid coal phase-out, the climate fight will be futile.”

    The need for a rapid coal phase-out
    Our Head of Central and Eastern Europe Marcin Stoczkiewicz said: “Belchatow Power Plant has provided Poland with vital power for decades but times have changed. The largest emitters, like Belchatow, must shoulder their share of responsibility for the climate crisis. Without a rapid coal phase-out, the climate fight will be futile.”

    The lawsuit leverages Polish civil law in a completely new way, focusing on the environment as a common good, which NGOs can go to court to protect. This includes demanding installations and their owners cease activities which are causing harm to the environment.

    Marcin said: “This is a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, seeking to hold coal plant operators to account for the direct impact their operations have on the planet and the surrounding environment. To protect the planet we rely on, we need to see a drastic reduction in carbon emissions and we are using litigation to accelerate the process.”
  • Read the experts' analyses

    Opinia na temat emisji gazów cieplarnianych Polski na tle budżetu węglowego świata

    Z raportu zleconego przez ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi wynika, że w Polsce już wyczerpaliśmy nasz budżet węglowy ograniczający wzrost globalnej temperatury do 1,5°C, a wkrótce wyczerpiemy ten na 2,0°C. Warunkiem uniknięcia punktu krytycznego jest zastąpienie węgla czystą energią.
    Budżet węglowy to łączna ilość dwutlenku węgla, jaką każdy kraj może wypuścić do atmosfery, nie przekraczając określonego progu wzrostu średniej temperatury na Ziemi względem epoki przedprzemysłowej. Ratyfikując Porozumienie Paryskie Polska zadeklarowała dążenie do tego, by ograniczyć wzrost do 1,5°C i tym samym solidarnie przeciwdziałać katastrofie klimatycznej. Read more →

    Zielone miejsca pracy: Przypadek regionu bełchatowskiego

    Województwo łódzkie może stać się drugim największym beneficjentem unijnych funduszy na sprawiedliwą transformację regionów węglowych – wynika z nowego raportu Fundacji Instrat powstałego na zlecenie ClientEarth Prawnicy dla Ziemi. W zielonych inwestycjach może powstać nawet 6 razy więcej miejsc pracy niż jest obecnie w górnictwie i spalaniu węgla brunatnego w Elektrowni Bełchatów. Warunkiem jest stworzenie planu odchodzenia od węgla w regionie oraz akceptacja celu neutralności klimatycznej do 2050 r. Read more →

    Bełchatów Power Plant - key information

    The Bełchatów Power Plant, located in the Łódź Province, is the largest power plant in Poland and the largest lignite power plant in the world. With the capacity of 5102 MW, it provides about 20% of Poland's electricity. The lignite is delivered to the plant from two huge nearby open-pit mines: "Bełchatów" and "Szczerców". The plant is owned by PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna (PGE GiEK), a subsidiary of the largest Polish energy company: the state-owned PGE S.A. Read more →

    Planned Złoczew mine - key information

    "Złoczew" is a planned open-pit lignite mine for the Bełchatów Power Plant. The direct investor is PGE Górnictwo i Energetyka Konwencjonalna (PGE GiEK S.A.), a subsidiary of the largest Polish energy company: PGE S.A., which is also state-owned. Read more →

    Assessment of options for the replacement of the Belchatow lignite power plant

    In this scenario lignite at the Bełchatów Power Plant is gradually replaced with power from renewable sources with a small addition of of gas. It causes a reduction of operating costs of the entire Polish energy system, reduces dependence on energy imports and increases employment in the power sector. Read more →

    Technical analysis of the possibilities of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the Bełchatów power plant

    This analysis presents three transformation scenarios for the Bełchatów Power Plant: hybridisation of conventional power units, replacement of lignite-fired power units by gas units and a modernisation of existing units or construction of new lignite-fired units using CO2 capture and storage technology.. Read more →

    Bełchatów Power Plant - what next?

    In this scenario the lignite at the Bełchatów Power Plant is replaced by gas units, as well as hydrogen units. In an alternative version, the plant is converted into an energy storage for renewable sources or into a medium-sized new generation nuclear plant. Read more →

    What kind of fuel for the Bełchatów Power Plant?

    Analysis of the quality of lignite in deposits which currently constitute or may constitute a source of raw material for the Bełchatów Power Plant. The study focuses on the comparison of chemical and technological parameters of lignite and presents the consequences of its extraction and usage for human health and the climate. Read more →

    Photos for the media

    description of the photos: "Photo B. Banaszak/ClientEarth" Download

  • Inspiring materials

    In 2018, we launched our social campaign #iCO2dalej. The inauguration coincided with COP24 in Katowice. We illustrated climate change using the language of music which unites people transcending divisions, views and ethnicity.

    Composers Szymon Weiss and Szymon Sutor created "The Lost Seasons - inspired by Antonio Vivaldi", a catastrophic version of "The Four Seasons", adapted to current weather conditions. They demonstrated how the excessive CO2 emissions have changed spring, summer, autumn and winter compared to how they were in 1725, when Antonio Vivaldi's work was created.

    Watch the documentary entitled „The Lost Seasons”

    See the project summary

    Listen to the whole musical composition

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