Coal still powers the world – around a third of global electricity is coal generated. It’s cheap and plentiful, but it comes with a cost. When burnt, it releases more carbon dioxide than oil or gas, so it’s a big problem when it comes to climate change. Coal also produces toxic elements like mercury and arsenic, and small particles of soot which contribute to air pollution.
Despite their climate change commitments, many governments and countries are still backing coal. New coal power stations are being built, and new mines opened which are also destructive. Forests and other landscapes are destroyed, and mining waste pollutes rivers and fields.
It might be cheap, but the real cost of coal is too high.
The age of coal is coming to an end
Millions of people around the world have been working to bring about the end of coal, and Greenpeace supporters have been a vital part of that. Here in the UK, we’ve blocked construction of new power stations and championed renewable energy such as wind and solar power to replace them. We’ve also followed the money, forcing banks and investors to walk away from coal projects.
It’s been a huge success. Coal use in the UK is plummeting and is being replaced by renewable energy like wind power. On top of that, the government has committed to removing coal from our power supplies by 2025.
Some governments are doing the same – even China is closing coal power stations. But many countries are heavily dependent on coal, so coal power stations and mines are still being planned and built.
The movement to stop coal is growing. We won’t stop until coal is a thing of the past, and we’re using renewable energy instead.