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

 

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.

China begins the long march to Paris

Blog entry by Li Shuo | 1 July, 2015 1 comment

In the politics of climate change, it doesn't get much bigger than this. The world's biggest emitter last night announced how it intends to reduce its carbon emission beyond 2020.  China has joined 41 other nations to unveil its...

The message from millions: Save the Great Barrier Reef

Press release | 28 June, 2015 at 20:43

Bonn, Germany, 28 June, 2015 – The Chair of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO was today urged by Greenpeace to not let the Australian government destroy the Great Barrier Reef.

Norway’s "no to coal" is a challenge to decision makers worldwide

Blog entry by Johan Hammerstrøm | 5 June, 2015

Today’s vote in the Norwegian Parliament marks a truly historic event: It is the first time in history that all our politicians — left-leaning and right-leaning — have come together to take a stand against coal. The parliament...

Copenhagen to Paris via Mahan

Blog entry by Pushpinder | 7 April, 2015 2 comments

I was in Delhi to witness the spectacular failure of climate COP in Copenhagen in December 2009. I was a small time organizer in the movement and we were running a climate camp in New Delhi. We did a protest outside the US embassy when...

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