Coal-burning power plants remain the single largest source of human-made CO2 emissions worldwide
Coal emits the most CO2 per tonne burned amongst all the fossil fuels; in the US, although coal accounted for only 34% of electricity generated, it produced 70% of the CO2 emissions in the sector. Worldwide, coal burning is the largest single source of CO2 emissions from humans.
However, the industry is in decline: coal power generation in the UK fell to only 2% during the first half of 2017, down from 40% 5 years ago, and in 2017 so far there have already been 300 hours without coal-generated energy.
Graphic from The Guardian
Coal mining has also drastically decreased in scale, to about 20% of 2012 levels.
Graphic from The Guardian
But to avert climate catastrophe we need to stop it in its tracks now: no new coal power plants, no new mines and a just transition for workers to a low carbon economy.
There are presently 8 coal-fired power stations still open (2 of which are planned to be converted to biomass). There is also a huge additional planning application in Druridge Bay, Northumberland, which is facing fierce resistance (more information later on). Much of the coal for these comes from overseas (predominantly Russia, Colombia and the USA). All this is despite the UK government’s recent announcement to close of all its coal-fired power plants by 2025 and its COP21 and EU commitments to decarbonize.
Campain for Climate Change has recently supported two massively successful campaigns against further coal mining projects: Ende Gelände and Reclaim the Power - End Coal Now. For more details about these two campaigns, you can read the most recent blogs about them:
NEW: Carbon Brief released an analysis of the UK's energy consumption in 2016. For the first time in the UK, electricity generated by wind overtook coal for the year, showing the rising strength of renewable energy and the collapse of the coal industry.
The Unfriend Coal network is a global coalition of NGO’s and social movements that is pressuring insurance companies to get out of the coal business and support the transition to clean energy. Insurance underpins the development of industrial society, and no highrise or factory could be built without it, and the fossil fuel industry depends on insurance coverage for building and maintaining its coal mines, power plants and pipelines as well. Read more about their work here.
Take action: You can sign Unfriend Coal's petition for insurance companies to stop underwriting coal projects here.
Save Druridge Bay from Opencast Coal Mining
Druridge Bay, in Northumberland, is under threat from plans for a huge opencast coal mine. People in the community have opposed the action due to the impacts it could have on wildlife, tourism and the local economy. TV naturalist Bill Oddie has described the proposal as a "desecration". Conservation groups, such as the RSPB, National Trust and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, also oppose the plans.
Banks Mining made the proposal, where they hope to start the mine in 2017 and finish 7 years later, however, this duration can be extended. An estimated 3 million tonnes of coal is expected to be extracted during this time period (which could possibly increase up to 7 million if an extension is granted). The government has recently stepped in and has ordered a public inquiry into the matter. Locals are currently trying to raise £10,000 in order to mount a legal challenge.
The inquiry ended on the 21st of June, with a planning inspector making a recommendation to the Secretary of State, with a decision expected in autumn.
We cannot afford new opencast coal mines in the UK.
For more information, you can visit www.savedruridge.co.uk/the-proposal
Take action: You can help the locals meet their £10,000 goal in order to make a legal challenge by donating here