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

 

Greenpeace activists protest on coal ship calling on Merkel to end coal use

Press release | 15 November, 2017 at 16:00

Bonn, November 15, 2017 – Ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s appearance at the UN climate talks, 14 Greenpeace Germany activists protested on a coal freighter on the Rhine River calling for a coal phase-out in Germany.

IEA’s energy outlook on renewables “absurdly pessimistic” - Greenpeace

Press release | 14 November, 2017 at 1:33

Hong Kong, 14 November 2017 - The International Energy Agency (IEA) today released its annual World Energy Outlook 2017 - a set of scenarios for global energy consumption and production which has a long history of dramatically underestimating...

Merkel must help break deadlock on pre-2020 climate action at Pacific COP

Press release | 13 November, 2017 at 9:38

Bonn, Germany – 13 November 2017 – Developed countries must break a deadlock at the UN climate talks in Bonn and discuss their pre-2020 climate actions, starting with COP host German Chancellor Merkel who can lead the way, Greenpeace said.

Victory! Italy decides to quit coal by 2025

Blog entry by Giuseppe Onufrio | 31 October, 2017 2 comments

It began in December 2006. It was a foggy day at the Porto Tolle - a large power plant in the Northern Adriatic - which the Italian utility giant, Enel, was planning to convert into a new coal plant. 35 activists from Italy, UK, Poland...

5 reasons why coal is on the way out

Blog entry by Lauri Myllyvirta | 25 October, 2017 1 comment

While some politicians  - ahem, Trump! - are trying to prop up the fossil fuel industry, there’s been a quiet revolution happening around the world. People are ditching coal - the main global energy source since 2003 - like never...

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