Drought in China

Coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. This makes burning coal the single greatest threat facing our climate. 80% of China's carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. It supplies more than 70% of the country's energy needs and 80% of the country's electricity. If we are to stop climate change, then China must move away from coal to renewable energy.

In China, coal burning is responsible for:

Poisoned food

12 million tonnes of food supplies polluted by heavy metals.

Coal Ash

375 million tonnes of coal ash each year. Coal ash is the solid waste left behind after coal combustion and contains some 20 heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. It is estimated to concentrate 40% of the arsenic and 70% of the lead present in raw coal. China's single largest source of solid waste, coal ash is a also a light particle that spreads easily through wind, water and air.

Collapsed bridge in China

700,000 hectares of land subsidence by 2006, damaging roads, railways, bridges, and electricity lines.

Health hazards from air pollution

500,000 deaths from illnesses related to air pollution in 2008.

Drought in China

Coal mining uses a great deal of water: 71% of China's 96 major state-owned coal mines face water shortages, 40% of them severely.

Children wearing masks

80% of carbon dioxide emissions, 85% of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, 67% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and 70% of particulate matter emissions.

Quit coal for real solutions

China has vast potential for renewable energy, which could be realized with sufficient investment and effective government policies. We need an energy revolution that replaces dirty energy sources like coal and other fossil fuels with clean energy solutions: wind and solar energy, as well as energy efficiency and other modern technologies.

Read our following in-depth reports:

The True Cost of Coal
The True Cost of Coal: Air Pollution and Public Health
The True Cost of Coal: An Investigation into Coal Ash in China
The True Cost of Coal: Coal Dust Storms and Toxic Wind

For e-mail updates on quitting coal: subscribe here.