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

 

Assaulted for protecting olive trees

Blog entry by Andrew Davies | 21 October, 2014 7 comments

Villagers and activists were assaulted, handcuffed and hospitalized today while protecting olive trees at the site of a proposed coal plant in Turkey. The Kolin Group wants the olive trees cut down to make way for a new coal power...

Villagers met with violence while protecting olive trees

Press release | 21 October, 2014 at 18:55

Soma, Turkey, 21 October 2014 – 11 local villagers and Greenpeace Mediterranean activists were today handcuffed, beaten and hospitalized while peacefully protecting a Yirca village olive grove from being unlawfully razed for a proposed Kolin...

7 inspiring stories of communities taking action for climate

Blog entry by Helena Meresman | 17 October, 2014 7 comments

Stories of communities taking action for the climate and refusing to accept the plans of polluting fossil fuel companies are happening more and more. Here are just a few inspiring climate acts of courage taken by doctors, villagers,...

Airpocalypse hits Beijing... and breaks devastating new record

Blog entry by Zhang Kai | 10 October, 2014 9 comments

Usually it's only locals that have to suffer through Beijing's notorious air pollution. But as records in air quality are smashed, celebrities and sport stars in town this week are forced to power through as well. Mariah Carey, top...

Should the European Commission wear green goggles more often?

Blog entry by Daniel Simons | 6 October, 2014

That's the question lawyers were arguing about in Luxembourg last week. It is a case where Greenpeace is challenging the approval of up to €1.6 billion in aid to Spain's coal industry. Spain is a poster child for clean energy. It...

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