Point of No Return report

Coal

Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of man made CO2 emissions. This makes coal energy the single greatest threat facing our climate.

[Live in the USA?  Check out the Quit Coal website to join communities around the country organizing to fight coal and demand clean energy.]

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including widespread drought, flooding and massive population displacement caused by rising sea levels, we need to keep global temperature rise below 2ºC (compared to pre-industrial levels). To do this, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2015 and from there go down to zero.

I can’t understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.

Noble Peace Prize winner Al Gore

A third of all carbon dioxide emissions come from burning coal. It's used to produce nearly 40 percent of the world’s power, and hundreds of new coal plants are planned over the next years if the industry gets its way.

Apart from climate change, coal also causes irreparable damage to the environment, people’s health and communities around the world. While the coal industry itself isn’t paying for the damage it causes, the world at large is.

Quit coal for real solutions

The world has enough technically accessible renewable energy to meet current energy demands six times over. We need an energy revolution that substitutes wind, solar, energy efficiency and other modern technologies for dirty energy sources like coal.

Unfortunately, governments across the world are allowing industry to spend hundreds of billion of dollars to build hundreds of new coal-fired power stations worldwide in the coming years. If they are built, CO2 emissions from coal are expected to rise 60 percent by 2030. This will undermine any international agreements to tackle climate change.

These governments have in part been seduced by an illusion of “clean coal.” The result of a major public relations offensive by the coal industry including a number of dubious “technological fixes” that they claim make burning coal safe for the climate.

Coal blockade

Activists block the construction of a new coal fired power plant in Rotterdam.

One of these Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) is a plan to capture carbon emissions from power stations and bury them underground. The technology won’t be ready for at least another 20 years, too late to save the climate. Yet the vague promises of CCS are being used to justify building new coal-fired plants. These plants will spew out enormous amounts of CO2 pollution for at least the next 20 years and probably during their whole 40-year lifetime. In short, any new coal fired power plant will contribute massively to the climate crisis.

The world doesn’t need more coal, it needs an Energy [R]evolution.

As world leaders fail to step up and take the necessary action to stop coal, people across the world are taking on the struggles themselves. Across the world environmental activists, students, doctors, church leaders and many more are mobilising against coal.

We have been supporting local movements against coal accross the globe and taking action to stop global warming.

More info

The latest updates

 

Clean air doesn't come to those who wait

Blog entry by Zhang Kai | 22 January, 2015 4 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

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...

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...

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