Why we must quit coal

The coal industry stands in the way of a safe and healthy future for us all. From destructive mines to polluting stacks and toxic ash dumps, coal lays waste to our environment. Coal threatens our most basic needs: clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, and a safe climate.

Around the world Greenpeace helps communities fight back, and together we're winning! But we can't stop until we completely break free from coal, and embrace the 100 percent renewable energy future we must have.

Coal stokes global warming

Coal is a dying industry, and for good reason. Emissions from burning coal for heat and energy fuel global warming, making coal the single greatest threat to our climate. Coal mining is also a source of methane, a very potent global warming gas.

Thirsty coal deepens the global water crisis

The coal industry uses enough fresh water to meet the basic needs of one billion people. Yet we are already at risk of a global water supply crisis. Adding further strain on our water supplies, pollution from coal mines and coal plants contaminates groundwater and waterways.

Coal air pollution harms our health

Mining and burning coal release harmful pollutants into the air. These include mercury, fine pollution particles, and chemicals that form smog — all damaging to our health. Pollution from burning coal also leads to acid rain, which kills fish and plants and damages soils.

Coal lays waste to landscapes

Open-cut coal mining disturbs landscapes on a vast scale, destroying forests and scraping away soils. So severe is the damage, in most cases it cannot be repaired. When mines unearth and disturb rock and earth, toxic chemicals within can mix with water. This leads to acid main drainage, harmful to streams, soils, and plants, animals and people.

What is Greenpeace doing to fight coal?

Around the world, Greenpeace helps communities break free from coal and supports their shift to clean, safe solutions including renewable energy.

  • We campaign to close down coal power plants and prevent new ones being built.  We join forces with communities, support farmers driven from their land, and energise people-powered movements to stop the dirtiest coal projects.

  • We reveal the coal industry's true costs; the harm it does to our airwaterlands and health.

  • Greenpeace also exposes myths about false solutions, including expensive and unworkable carbon capture and storage.

  • We campaign to stop the flow of investment to coal and other dirty fossil fuel projects.

The latest updates

 

4 stories of Indigenous Peoples’ struggle for climate justice

Blog entry by Martin Vainstein | 9 August, 2016

Racism, deforestation, powerful mining companies, colonialism, the oil industry – Indigenous People across the world are fighting so many things in the struggle for climate justice. From Canada to Honduras to Brazil to Finland...

Sweden subverts Paris agreement with Vattenfall coal deal

Press release | 2 July, 2016 at 13:43

Stockholm, 2 July 2016 – Greenpeace condemns the Swedish government’s decision to allow state-owned Vattenfall to hand over its lignite mine assets in Germany to the Czech company EPH. The decision announced this morning risks catastrophic...

G7 leaders must move faster on promise to decarbonise global economy

Press release | 26 May, 2016 at 4:50

Ise-Shima, Japan, 26 May 2016 - World leaders in Japan for the G7 Summit must use the opportunity to build on last year’s commitment to decarbonise the global economy over the course of this century, says Greenpeace. Since then the Paris...

Breaking free from fossil fuels – the risk we take is not taking action

Blog entry by Jennifer Morgan | 23 May, 2016

Last week,  #BreakFree2016 wrapped up across the globe. Greenpeace joined with many inspiring organisations in a global wave of peaceful actions that lasted for 12 days and took place across six continents to target the world’s most...

Largest global civil disobedience in the history of the climate movement concludes

Press release | 16 May, 2016 at 6:30

Hong Kong, 16 May 2016 - Twelve days of worldwide actions from NGOs, local organisations and communities against fossil fuels have just concluded, showing that the climate movement will not rest until all coal, oil and gas is kept in the ground.

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