Coal

Coal Phase Out

 

Burning coal is one of the main drivers of climate change because coal is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive fuels (see for example here).

Despite this over 40% of world electricity is still generated from coal. Globally, coal causes over 12 Giga tons of CO2 per year and accounts for about 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In 2014, 18% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from burning coal.

Coal’s overall human and ecological toll is truly staggering. Mining and burning coal causes sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, dust particles and mercury emissions and contaminates soil, air and water, see Report: Europe's Dark Cloud. For example, the total cost of coal use on Chinese society has been estimated at more than 7% of GDP, considering that ecological and health costs are included.

But the good news is: We do not need coal.

We have affordable renewable energy. We can save energy. We can use energy more wisely (e.g. by demand-side management). And we are already building modern, flexible, decentralized, community-based, environmentally-friendly energy systems that can serve our energy needs on site.

Phasing out coal is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to scaling up emission reductions in Europe in line with the Paris Agreement. We therefore need to make this a priority in every European country.

But the speed at which coal plants are closed down is not at all sufficient. The rate at which coal emissions must fall every year needs to triple to 8% in order to be in line with keeping global average temperature rise below 2 degrees (see Report: End of an era). With the agreement in Paris to pursue efforts to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees this needs to be scaled up even more.

The rush of building new coal-fired power plants in the EU is over (with some notable exceptions such as Poland) and has moved to South East Europe and Turkey. If we are to comply with what was agreed in Paris we cannot afford to build any of these proposed coal plants. South East European countries and Turkey need to turn their back on new coal projects now and start exploring the alternatives.

The CAN Europe Secretariat works with its members and fellow NGO networks:

  • to prevent the construction of new coal power plants, opening of new mines and building of coal transport infrastructure,
  • to campaign for a complete and rapid phase-out of coal in Europe and policy instruments and targets to achieve that,
  • to advocate for an end to any form of public or private funding of coal originating in Europe and for an immediate phase-out of direct and indirect subsidies to coal,
  • to support local communities to get out of coal and build instead decentralized, community-based renewable energy systems, to secure a just transition for people residing in coal mining dependent regions.

 

CAN Europe strongly supports the phase out of coal by both hosting the ‘Europe Beyond Coal’ campaign secretariat and by integrating the coal debate in our regular policy work as well as by supporting our members and allies in Turkey and the Western Balkans through the CAN Europe’s coal team.

 

Learn more

Dark Cloud report image
Report: Europe's Dark Cloud: Coal-burning EU countries make their neighbours sick

This report by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, the WWF European Policy Office and Sandbag presents an analysis of cross-border health impacts of all EU coal power plants. Coal pollution and its health impacts travel far beyond borders, and a full coal phase-out in the EU would bring enormous benefits for all citizens across the continent. Read More

ISLI GELECEK KY 0146
No new coal projects!

Most of the new coal plants under construction or recently commissioned were given their construction permits before 2008. Since then, a majority of plans to build new coal power stations have in fact been shelved. Read More

Coal Free Europe
A coal-free Europe

The EU 28 is still heavily reliant on coal. In 2013, the share of electricity from hard coal and lignite was at 26% (Source: EEA), produced in the region’s 280 operational coal power stations. Read More

eu coalmap
CAN Europe's interactive Coal Map of Europe

CAN Europe's interactive Coal Map of Europe gives an overview of the role of coal in our electricity system. Read More

Publications
Useful Coal Resouces

Here you find a range of useful external coal resources. Read More

Contact

JOANNA

Joanna Flisowska
Coal Policy Coordinator
joanna / at / caneurope.org
Based in Katowice, Poland

 igor kalaba 

Igor Kalaba
Energy Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe
igor /at/ caneurope.org

+32 4714 38 442

ELIF

Elif Gündüzyeli
Turkey Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator
elif /at/ caneurope.org
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Latest Publications on Coal Phase Out

  • Polish capacity market to crowd-out renewables and fund more coal

    MEDIA ADVISORY The Polish grid operator PSE conducted the general certification procedure earlier this week, thereby prequalifying electricity producers for capacity mechanism payments. The certification is an obligatory first step and conclusions sum up how much and what kind of capacities can take part in the bidding process for the first capacity payments within the Polish capacity market for the period 2021-2023. Whilst this certification does not spell out electricity producing technologies which will benefit, it does sum up eligible quantities for the payments and indicates proportions between different technologies.
  • EU countries off target in fighting climate change

    The vast majority of European countries are missing the mark and failing to increase our chances of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Too few of them are advocating for ambitious climate and energy targets and policies, and too many are lagging behind in reducing carbon emissions at the level needed to implement the Paris Agreement. That is according to a new ranking published today by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.
  • Off target: Ranking of EU countries’ ambition and progress in fighting climate change

    The aim of this publication is to examine which EU Member States are willing to increase their climate action and tackle the gap between the goals of the Paris Agreement and current greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts in the EU.
See All: Coal Phase Out