The problem

Page - September 8, 2010
The energy sector is responsible for some two-thirds of world's climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions Coal-fired power plants are the biggest offenders.

A Filipino Greenpeace activist onboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior looks on as the vessel blocks coal shipments at the Pagbilao coal-fired power plant in Quezon province, Philippines. © Greenpeace / Vinai Dithajohn

  • Coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels and is the world’s the largest single source of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide
  • Currently one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide come from burning coal

Coal is a highly polluting energy source. Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions. Emitting 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80% more than gas, it is one of the leading contributors to climate change. Burning coal also releases massive amounts of toxic substances such as mercury and arsenic that have deadly impacts on human health and create acutely detrimental effects on developing economies and hosting communities.

We can stop climate change, but only if we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, particularly coal.