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

 

World’s coal power plants consume enough freshwater to sustain 1 billion people -...

Press release | 22 March, 2016 at 1:00

Hong Kong, 22 March 2016 - The world’s rapidly dwindling freshwater resources could be further depleted if plans for hundreds of new coal power plants worldwide go ahead, threatening severe drought and competition, according to a new Greenpeace...

Love the Oscars? You’ll love these environmental films too

Blog entry by Shuk-Wah Chung | 29 February, 2016 4 comments

Rising seas, severe droughts, catastrophic storms, people foraging for food. Sounds like a backdrop for a post-apocalyptic film but this is climate change, and it’s the real-life blockbuster happening right now. Whether it’s Al...

Coal dropped from Vietnam’s future energy plans

Press release | 27 January, 2016 at 4:13

Bangkok, 27 January 2016 - Vietnam will effectively shelve the equivalent of 70 large coal power plants following an announcement from the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that the country would drop all further coal-fired power plant projects and...

Could 2016 be the year we break free from coal?

Blog entry by Kelly Mitchell | 15 January, 2016 2 comments

We've barely entered 2016, but China and the US the world's largest coal producers have already embarked on sweeping changes to cut out coal. Could 2016 be the year we break free from this dirty fossil fuel? It's the centuries...

Greenpeace activist scales coal ship off the coast of Helsinki

Press release | 1 November, 2015 at 11:13

Baltic Sea/Helsinki, 1 November 2015 – A Greenpeace activist has scaled the 155m long bulk carrier, Alppila, transporting coal to one of Finland’s most polluting power plants in central Helsinki. The coal ship and its climate-damaging cargo have...

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