Point of No Return report

Coal

Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of man made CO2 emissions. This makes coal energy the single greatest threat facing our climate.

[Live in the USA?  Check out the Quit Coal website to join communities around the country organizing to fight coal and demand clean energy.]

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including widespread drought, flooding and massive population displacement caused by rising sea levels, we need to keep global temperature rise below 2ºC (compared to pre-industrial levels). To do this, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015 and from there go down to zero.

I can’t understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.

Noble Peace Prize winner Al Gore

A third of all carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. It's used to produce nearly 40 percent of the world’s power, and hundreds of new coal plants are planned over the next years if the industry gets its way.

Apart from climate change, coal also causes irreparable damage to the environment, people’s health and communities around the world. While the coal industry itself isn’t paying for the damage it causes, the world at large is.

Quit coal for real solutions

The world has enough technically accessible renewable energy to meet current energy demands six times over. We need an energy revolution that substitutes wind, solar, energy efficiency and other modern technologies for dirty energy sources like coal.

Unfortunately, governments across the world are allowing industry to spend hundreds of billion of dollars to build hundreds of new coal-fired power stations worldwide in the coming years. If they are built, CO2 emissions from coal are expected to rise 60 percent by 2030. This will undermine any international agreements to tackle climate change.

These governments have in part been seduced by an illusion of “clean coal.” The result of a major public relations offensive by the coal industry including a number of dubious “technological fixes” that they claim make burning coal safe for the climate.

Coal blockade

Activists block the construction of a new coal fired power plant in Rotterdam.

One of these Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) is a plan to capture carbon emissions from power stations and bury them underground. The technology won’t be ready for at least another 20 years, too late to save the climate. Yet the vague promises of CCS are being used to justify building new coal-fired plants. These plants will spew out enormous amounts of CO2 pollution for at least the next 20 years and probably during their whole 40-year lifetime. In short, any new coal fired power plant will contribute massively to the climate crisis.

The world doesn’t need more coal, it needs an Energy [R]evolution.

As world leaders fail to step up and take the necessary action to stop coal, people across the world are taking on the struggles themselves. Across the world environmental activists, students, doctors, church leaders and many more are mobilising against coal.

We have been supporting local movements against coal accross the globe and taking action to stop global warming.

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The latest updates

 

Are you being SLAPPed? How corporations and governments try to silence public debate

Blog entry by Karianne Bruning | 23 May, 2014

The lawyers at Greenpeace International are a creative, dedicated team who tackle a wide range of duties. Part of our work is preparing legal strategies and defence for cases against Greenpeace International. We also monitor legal...

Divert excessive weapon spending to achieve clean energy future

Blog entry by Jen Maman | 14 April, 2014 2 comments

According to new figures released on Monday, last year a whopping US$1747 billion was spent on armies across the world. Modest decreases in spending in austerity hit Western Europe and reduced spending in the US, which is still the...

Air, water, and climate – the triple whammy that ends China’s coal boom

Blog entry by Li Shuo and Kaisa Kosonen | 11 April, 2014

This week, Beijing’s air pollution is way above safe levels again, the world’s largest coal company has been forced to change its water strategy , and the UN panel looking at options to act against climate change is expected to...

How Germany is revolutionising its energy system. And who's standing in the way.

Blog entry by Karsten Smid | 9 April, 2014 6 comments

As the UN climate panel meets in Berlin this week to finalise its report on options for combating climate change, here's how Germany is rising to the challenge. Rapidly reduce your reliance on coal? AND phase out nuclear power at...

Why the world's biggest coal company has backed down

Blog entry by Deng Ping and Harri Lammi | 8 April, 2014 3 comments

Last year, Greenpeace decided to do something we had never done before during our 13 years of work in China: target and confront a state owned coal company. And not just any company. The biggest and boldest, a Chinese government...

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