By Laura Barron-Lopez - 01/06/14 09:53 AM EST
As Europe strives to achieve cheaper electricity, it is reviving mines that produce the greatest polluting type of coal, Bloomberg reports.
From Germany to the Czech Republic, open-pit mines, which produce lignite, are being opened. Lignite holds less energy and more carbon that the frequently burned hard coal.
Although the projects violate European Union rules, which seek to limit emissions and push cleaner energy, officials are allowing the expansion of coal mines to drive down power prices.
The International Energy Agency estimates that the demand for lignites worldwide will rise roughly 5.4 percent by 2020. But for the EU and world leaders to hold climate change to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, consumption must fall 10 percent.