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


Victory for Mahan as Indian government pulls disputed forest from auction

Press release | 20 March, 2015 at 12:57

New Delhi, 20 March 2015 – A forest block at the centre of a landmark legal victory for Greenpeace India over the government has been withdrawn from auction after years of campaigning.

Hunt’s proposed dredge waste ban a bandaid, not a cure for threats against Reef

Press release | 16 March, 2015 at 10:55

Sydney, 16 March 2015 – In response to Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s announcement of a draft law to ban the dumping of capital dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Shani Tager at Greenpeace Australia made the following statement:

European coal pollution limits worse than China – is that the best we can do?

Blog entry by Lawrence Carter | 12 March, 2015 1 comment

New rules that were supposed to help tackle deadly air pollution in Europe could result in weaker rules than are currently in place in China ( notorious for its poor air quality), a Greenpeace investigation has revealed. The new...

High Court overturns Priya Pillai offloading, declares government move undemocratic

Press release | 12 March, 2015 at 10:07

New Delhi, 12 March 2015 - The Indian government was handed a symbolic legal rebuke today as the Delhi High Court declared the decision to block Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai from travelling to Britain in January 2015 was undemocratic.

Fossil Fuel's last stand

Blog entry by Arin de Hoog | 12 February, 2015 8 comments

The struggle to remain relevant can be a tough one. For the fossil fuel industry, remaining relevant can mean stacks of money and political clout, or, staring into the darkness of very empty pockets. In the face of growing ...

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