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

 

Greenpeace backs Kiribati President’s call for an end to coal

Press release | 13 August, 2015 at 3:51

South Tarawa, Kiribati, 13 August 2015 - Kiribati President Anote Tong today called for a global and immediate moratorium on all new coal mines and coal mine expansions, and has called on all State leaders to back his call to action in the lead...

Clean energy could save thousands of Indonesian lives

Blog entry by Hindun Mulaika | 12 August, 2015

In a country where 28 million people live below the poverty line, development is on everyone’s lips in Indonesia. And rightly so. Everyone wants a life with dignity and opportunity, as well as simple things such as running water and...

Victory as Standard Chartered ditches giant coal mine threatening Great Barrier Reef

Press release | 11 August, 2015 at 4:47

Sydney, 11 August 2015 - A major UK bank has announced today it is pulling out of one of the world’s most controversial coal developments following an international campaign by Greenpeace Australia Pacific and other organisations.

How a lizard and a snake beat king coal

Blog entry by Elsa Lee | 7 August, 2015 3 comments

This week two major wins came out of the campaign to protect Australia's Great Barrier Reef. But the fight is not over… When news broke of Australia's Federal Court overturning the approval of the Carmichael coal mine – a A$16...

Coal and coral don't mix - the Great Barrier Reef is still in danger

Press release | 1 July, 2015 at 14:53

Bonn, Germany, 1 July, 2015 - Greenpeace has warned that until the threat from coal and climate change is removed, the Great Barrier Reef remains in danger.

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