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

 

Activists bring coal supply to a standstill at massive Indonesian power plant

Press release | 15 May, 2016 at 3:20

Jakarta, 15 May 2016 – Greenpeace Indonesia activists today climbed the cranes of two grab-type ship unloaders, blocking the supply of coal for the Cirebon Coal Power Plant. The protest in Indonesia, the world’s second biggest exporter of coal,...

Greedy coal company is forcing farmers to crawl to get to their land

Blog entry by Aghnia Fasza or Tides | 13 May, 2016

In Batang Regency, on the north coast of Central Java, one of Indonesia's largest coal companies have made themselves at home… right in the middle of land owned by local farmers. How are they able to get away with this? Batang...

4 reasons we’re breaking free from fossil fuels

Blog entry by Annie Leonard | 11 May, 2016

Over the next two weeks, activists like you and me are standing in the way of the world's most dangerous fossil fuel projects. Join the global movement to Break Free and keep fossil fuels in the ground. With the presidential...

5 reasons why the world needs a moratorium on new coal mines

Blog entry by Leanne Minshull | 20 April, 2016

Only four months ago, the world recognised the need to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees C. The Paris climate agreement signalled the end of the era of fossil fuels, particularly coal, the dirtiest source of power. But...

How coal is deepening the water crisis in India

Blog entry by Subrata Biswas | 22 March, 2016 1 comment

New Greenpeace International  research released today , on World Water Day, finds that coal power plants around the world consume enough freshwater to sustain one billion people. One photographer in India documented the impacts on...

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