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


The Great Water Grab

Publication | 22 March, 2016 at 1:15

Water is essential for all life on earth and plays a central role in human development: from sanitation and health, to food and energy production, to industrial activities and economic development.

Silent Killers

Publication | 11 June, 2013 at 23:00

32,000 life years would be robbed every year if the coal-fired power plants currently under construction or in planning go into operation. This loss of life is entirely unnecessary, as renewable energy and the latest cutting-edge energy-efficient...

Point of No Return

Publication | 22 January, 2013 at 14:00

The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. With total disregard for this unfolding global disaster, the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive coal, oil and gas projects that would...

Renewables 24/7

Publication | 4 February, 2010 at 0:00

Smart grid or super grid, decentralised or centralised renewable power plants? The discussion about the future of our power supply is running hot, and hi- tech visions are everywhere.

Background: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)/ Czech Republic TEIA

Publication | 17 January, 2010 at 0:00

A legal request by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) for the initiation of an environmental impact assessment regarding the life-extension of a coal-fired power plant in the Czech Republic, known as Prunerov II.

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