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

 

Clean air doesn't come to those who wait

Blog entry by Zhang Kai | 22 January, 2015 7 comments

"One thing that fascinated and shocked me the most was the fact that even on smoggy days, people still lived their lives as usual," said Chinese film director Jia Zhangke last week as the air outside in Beijing was a thick, soupy grey.

Priya Pillai speaks to UK MPs despite being barred from travelling to the UK

Blog entry by Pete Speller | 16 January, 2015 5 comments

Undeterred by the government of India trying to halt her speech when she was barred from boarding her flight to London, Greenpeace India campaigner Priya Pillai stuck to her commitment of taking the voices of struggle from Mahan to a...

What's the cost of standing up for fundamental rights in India?

Blog entry by Priya Pillai | 14 January, 2015 4 comments

Sunday marked yet another black day for fundamental rights in India. Though these charter of rights are enshrined in our constituion, my experience on Sunday morning at the Delhi airport show that these are not equally accessible to...

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.

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