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

 

7 Greenpeace victories you made possible in 2014

Blog entry by Greenpeace USA | 27 December, 2014

It's been a great year for Greenpeace and our supporters. Getting toxic chemicals out of our clothes. Putting sustainable seafood in our grocery stores. Giant internet companies breaking away from climate-denying lobbyists. We could go...

Coal mining causing widespread contamination of Indonesian province's freshwater

Press release | 3 December, 2014 at 14:30

Jakarta, 3 December 2014 - Almost half of all water bodies in the Indonesian province of South Kalimantan are at risk of being contaminated by coal mining waste says a report released today by Greenpeace.

Devastation from coal mining in South Kalimantan, Indonesia

Blog entry by Arif Fiyanto | 3 December, 2014 16 comments

In the five years or so that I have been a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace Southeast Asia I have often visited scenes of environmental destruction caused by corporate and human greed. So many beautiful areas of our...

Sadness turns to joy as Turkish coal project halted

Blog entry by Deniz Bayram | 12 November, 2014 6 comments

The community of the western Turkish village of Yirca has experienced a rollercoaster of sadness and elation in recent days, winning an important court battle against a coal project but losing 6,000 valuable olive trees. Just...

Assaulted for protecting olive trees

Blog entry by Andrew Davies | 21 October, 2014 7 comments

Villagers and activists were assaulted, handcuffed and hospitalized today while protecting olive trees at the site of a proposed coal plant in Turkey. The Kolin Group wants the olive trees cut down to make way for a new coal power...

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