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Coal and its impacts

From concerns over air pollution and acid rain to its destructive impact on climate, coal has been recognised as the dirtiest, most dated and most inefficient fossil fuel option.

Coal is the most emissions intensive fossil fuel and the leading cause of climate change. Globally, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2)—greater than tropical deforestation or oil use for transportation.

In addition, thousands of miners die in coal mines every year around the world while some mining companies top entire mountains for the extraction of coal, which has disastrous consequences on the environment.

Despite this, coal is experiencing a global boom, and private banks are making large sums of money by financing the expansion of coal extraction and combustion.

To avoid the devastating impacts of their investments, private banks must take steps to disengage from all activities and projects that substantially contribute to climate change and environmental and communities degradation.

They must:

  • End support for all new coal  extraction and delivery;
  • End support for all new coal-fired power plants.

BankTrack Coal Campaigns

In recent years, the main targets of BankTrack members and partners on coal around the world have been :

Mountaintop removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1000 feet off the tops of mountains  in order to reach the coal seams that lie underneath. The resulting millions of tons of waste rock, dirt, and vegetation are then dumped into surrounding valleys, burying miles and miles of streams under piles of rubble hundreds of feet deep. Mountaintop removal mining harms not only aquatic ecosystem, and water quality, it also destroys hundreds of acres of healthy forests and fish and wildlife habitat, including habitat of threatened and endangered species, when the tops of mountains are blasted away.

Rather than remove coal from the mountain, MTR removes the mountain from the coal.

Other Coal Mines projects in the world :

 Coal Power Plants projects around the world :

 Infrastructure projects :

The Carbon Principles

The Carbon Principles were adopted by three US banks in February 2008, targeting the financing of new coal power plants in the US.

The Carbon Principles are deeply disappointing. While they contain elements that are useful, they do not address climate change risks of bank financing with the rigor, urgency or ambition that the challenge at hand plainly requires. They actually do not set performance standards to reduce the risks to the climate from their financing, but rather focus on reducing the risks to the banks from climate change and/or the uncertainty around anticipated regulatory responses to climate change. 

For more information on this, please read RAN's latest report "The Principle Matter; Banks, Climate and the Carbon Principles".

"Clean Coal"

Currently, the term "clean coal" covers everything from scrubbers on conventional coal plants to marginally more efficient burning processes to futuristic "near zero emission" technologies that may never be technologically, economically or socially viable.

What the coal industry conveniently omits from its sales pitch is the fact that the entire life cycle of coal is dirty. Before it is burned, coal must be mined, transported and refined. Coal extraction leads to entire moutain ranges destroyed by strip mining; rising rates of asthma and lung disease; water pollution; and the creation of massive amounts of toxic wastes. Coal enthusiasts never mention what it takes to get coal out of the ground in the first place.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration

The concept of CCS (Carbon Capture and Sequestration/Storage) is that we can curb climate change by capturing the emissions from coal plants and storing them underground, safely away from our atmosphere for eternity. The most glaring flow in this concept is that CCS technology is not likely to be a commercially viable option for at least another decade, and new coal-fired plants are slated to begin construction now. There are also no working models of CCS at a commercial-scale power plant anywhere in the world.

To know more on "clean coal" and CCS, you can access the complete RAN factsheet "The dirty truth behing clean coal".

Climate context

Through their lending, investment, and other financial services, commercial banks play an indispensable role in mobilizing and allocating financial resources for the private sector. As such, they are in a unique position to either help further entrench patterns of energy production and intensive energy use that are based on the burning of fossil fuels, or to catalyze the necessary transition to an economy that minimizes GHG pollution and relies on energy efficiency and low/no carbon energy sources. BankTrack believes that with this influential position comes a special responsibility for banks to play a leadership role in addressing the challenges of climate change.

For more information on this, please read the complete BankTrack position paper on banks & climate change.

For any question or information on the BankTrack Coal campaign, please contact Yann Louvel, BankTrack Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator.

"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
Agricultural Bank of China
The Agriculural Bank of China (founded in 1951) was the last of the four big Chinese banks (Industrial and Commercial Bank, Bank of China, China Construction  Bank)…
Bank of America
Bank of America is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation and is the second largest bank holding company in the United States by assets, and…
Bank of China
Bank of China is one of China's Big Four joint-stock commercial banks.  Bank of China offers commercial banking, investment banking, insurance, asset management, aircraft…
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ is the largest bank in Japan. It was established on January 1, 2006, with the merger of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd. and UFJ Bank Ltd.…
Barclays
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management…
BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas is one of the main banks in Europe. It was created on 23 May 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Paribas.…
China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank (CCB) is one of China's Big Four joint-stock commercial banks. In 2014 CCB was the third largest bank in the world by assets. It operates a network…
Citi
Citigroup Inc., doing business as Citi, is a major American financial services company based in New York, NY. Citigroup was formed from a merger between Citicorp and financial…
Commerzbank
Commerzbank AG is Germany's second largest bank, headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. Next to a large presence in the German banking market, Commerzbank has numerous branch…
Crédit Agricole
The Crédit Agricole Group is a unified but decentralised group consisting of 39 Regional Banks, Crédit Agricole S.A. and many subsidiaries. It includes Crédit…
Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It serves companies, institutional clients and high-net-worth private clients worldwide, as…
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank was founded in 1870 and is a leading global investment bank. It has operations throughout the world and has a strong presence in Germany and Europe. The bank´s…
Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) was founded in 1869 and is a leading global financial services firm that is headquartered in New York.  It provides an array of financing…
HSBC
Headquartered in London, HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC operates from around 9,500 offices in 86 countries and…
ICBC
ICBC is a joint-stock commercial bank based in the People's Republic of China.  Founded in 1984, ICBC overtook Citi to become the world's largest bank by asset…
JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is one of the Big Four Banks of the United States (along with Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo). The firm was formed in…
Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley was one of the four investment banks that for decades ruled on Wall Street (with Lehman, Merril Lynch, JPMorgan Chase). The corporation, founded by Henry S.…
RBS
RBS was founded in 1727 and is one of the major UK banks. RBS has 40 million customers using the financial services of over 30 brands, including NatWest, Direct Line, Churchill,…
Société Générale
Société Générale ("SocGen") is one of the oldest banks in France, dating back to 1864. The original name was Société…
UBS
Modern UBS was formed through a merger of the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998.  UBS is headquartered in Zurich and Basel and it…
UniCredit
The UniCredit Group is the result of the merger of nine of Italy's largest banks and the subsequent combination with the German HVB Group and the Italian Capitalia Group.…
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is one of the big banks in the United States, located in San Fransisco. In oktober 2008 Wells Fargo acquired the troubled bank Wachovia, at that moment the sixth…
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
Alpha Coal project
Australia
The Alpha Coal project is a A$6 billion coal mine and export project that is proposed to be constructed in Queensland, Australia. The black thermal coal mine and associated…
Batang Coal Power Project
Indonesia
Batang coal-fired power plant (2000MW) will be one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in Asia and will cost approximately 400 billion yen (some US$ 4 billion). Japanese…
Carmichael coal mine project
Australia
Carmichael - located in Queensland's unexploited Galilee Basin and proposed by Indian conglomerate Adani - would take the crown of Australia's biggest and baddest coal mine…
Cerrejón coal mine
Colombia
The Cerrejón coal mine in La Guajira, Colombia, is the largest in Latin America and one of the largest in the world. Its steady expansion since its founding in 1976…
Czeczott coal power plant
Poland
The planned Czeczott coal power plant in Poland is a 900-1000MW hard-coal-fired power project located in the Wola village in Silesia (Slaskie Voivodship), on the area of…
Gateway Pacific coal export terminal
United States
The Gateway Pacific Terminal is a proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, near Bellingham, Washington. If completed, the terminal would have capacity to export 54…
Great Barrier Reef Coal & Gas Exports
Australia
Australia is on the verge of an unprecedented coal boom. The epicentre of this expansion is the yet-to-be-developed Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. Galilee is the proposed…
HRL/Dual Gas coal power plant
Australia
The HRL group of companies through subsidiary "Dual Gas" proposes to build a 600 Megawatt brown coal (lignite) power plant using Integrated Drying Gasification and Combined…
Jaworzno coal power plant
Poland
A new hard-coal powered generation unit is planned for the Jaworzno III power plant in the Silesian Voivodeship of southern Poland. The unit, if built, will have a generating…
Kaltim Prima Coal mine
Indonesia
PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), located in the province of East Kalimantan, is the biggest coal mine in Indonesia. The project is currently owned by PT Bumi Resources Tbk (‘Bumi…
Kosovo C coal power plant
Kosovo
Kosovo's power sector is currently made up of two power plants, Kosovo A and Kosovo B, located near the capital of Pristina. The government of Kosovo supports plans to reform…
Kusile coal power plant
South Africa
The Kusile coal fired power plant project is located in the province of Mpumalanga, in South Africa. With 4800MW, it will be one of the largest power plants of its kind in…
Maules Creek coal mine
Australia
Maules Creek is a part thermal, part semi soft coking coal mine proposed in the Gunnedah Basin in Northern New South Wales. It would produce 13 million tonnes per year (run…
Medupi coal power plant
South Africa
The Medupi Power Station is a coal-fired power plant currently under construction in Lephalale, South Africa. The project comprises six 800 megawatt (MW) units to be provide…
Mountain top removal coal mining
United States
Mountain top removal (MTR) mining is a form of strip mining in which coal companies use explosives to blast as much as 800 to 1000 feet off the tops of mountains order to…
Phulbari coal mine
Bangladesh
The Phulbari coal project is a proposed open pit coal mine in northwest Bangladesh and includes the construction of at least one 500-MW power plant. At full production about…
Plomin C coal power plant
Croatia
Croatian electricity company HEP is planning to find foreign investors to construct a 500 MW third unit at the Plomin coal power plant on the Croatian coast in Istria County.…
Pólnoc coal power plant
Poland
The planned plant is a 2000MW coal-fired greenfield project located in the direct vicinity of the Nature 2000 site (Lower Vistula Valley). Impeded from securing free CO2…
Rybnik coal power plant
Poland
A new 910 MWe (electrical megawatt) unit is planned for the hard coal-fired Rybnik power station, located on the outskirts of the city of Rybnik in Silesia Voivodship, to…
Sasan ultra mega coal power project (UMPP)
India
The Sasan project - also known as The Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) - will be a 3,960 MW (6x660 MW)  coal-fired project, located in Sasan, Madhya Pradesh. This…
SOCAR Aegean Refinery
Turkey
The owner and operator of the Aegean Refinery is STAR Rafineri A.S. ("STAR") a joint stock company incorporated under the laws of Turkey. The joint venture is now 81.5% owned…
Stanari coal power plant
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Energy Finance Team is currently developing a lignite power plant in Stanari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proposed 300 MW plant is being built by Dongfang Electric…
Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP)
India
The first of 16 Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) to be commissioned in India, the Tata Mundra UMPP is located in Tunda village at Mundra, in the Kutch district in Gujarat.…
TES 6 coal power plant
Slovenia
Šoštanj in North Slovenia 30km from the Austrian border, is the location of an existing lignite-fired power plant - Termoelektrarna Šoštanj or…
Tufanbeyli coal power plant
Turkey
Enerjisa, the Turkish electricity producer owned by E.ON and Sabanci, is building a new coal power plant in Tufanbeyli, commonly known as Enerjisa 2.5. The lignite-fired…
Turów coal power plant
Poland
Turów power plant is the third largest heating power plant in Poland, and is located in Bogatynia in the Lower Silesia region, bordering Germany and the Czech Republic.…
check dodgy deals on record
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
Adani
India
Adani is a large Indian resources, logistics and energy company with big expansion plans. It was founded by Indian billionaire Gutram Adani, in 1988. It has coal mining interests…
Alpha Natural Resources
United States
Alpha Natural Resources is a large American producer of metallurgical and thermal coal. It also provides services relating to equipment repairs, road construction and logistics…
Anglo American
United Kingdom
Anglo American is a British multinational mining company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest producer of platinum, with around 40% of world…
Arch Coal
United States
Arch Coal is an American coal mining and processing company. The company mines, processes, and markets bituminous and sub-bituminous coal with low sulfur content in the United…
BHP Billiton
Australia
BHP Billiton is the world's largest mining company. It occupies significant positions in major commodity businesses, including aluminium, energy coal and metallurgical coal,…
Bumi Resources
Indonesia
Bumi Resources is currently the most significant coal producer in Indonesia with 2012 production at 74 million tonnes. It owns the Kaltim Prima Coal project in East…
Coal India
India
Coal India is the biggest coal producer worldwide, owned by the government of India. It was created in the 1970's, when India's coal minging industry was nationalised in…
Coal of Africa
Australia
Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) is an Australian based mining company which operates mines in South Africa. In 2012 it produced around 3.4 million metric tons of coal.
Drummond
United States
Drummond Ltd. is a coal mining company with operations in Alabama, in the US, and in La Loma, in Colombia. It controls coal reserves totaling over 2 billion tons. Drummond…
E.on
Germany
E.ON is one of the world's largest investor-owned power and gas companies. It owns major asset positions in the U.S., Russia, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden,…
EDF
France
Like its rival and fellow French multinational AREVA, Électricité de France (EDF) is one of the biggest players in the global energy game. In fact, with more…
Enel
Italy
Enel is Italy's largest power company and Europe's second largest according to its generating capacity. Its interests stretch beyond Italy to 40 countries on four continents.…
ESKOM
South Africa
Eskom is the world's eleventh-largest power utility in terms of generating capacity and ranks ninth in terms of sales. In 2011 it had an installed generating capacity of…
Essar Energy
Mauritius
Essar Energy is one of India's leading private power producers. The company's power business currently has seven operational power plants in India and one operational…
GDF Suez
France
GDF SUEZ is the largest independent power producer in the world. In 2013 it operated 600 power plants worldwide. It had 113.7 GW of installed power production capacity and…
Jindal Steel & Power
India
Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) is one of India's major steel producers with a significant presence in sectors like Mining, Power Generation and Infrastructure. It…
Rio Tinto
Australia
Rio Tinto is a mining and exploration company involved in each stage of metal and mineral production and processing. Rio Tinto is one of the largest publicly listed mining…
RWE
Germany
RWE is Europe's second largest electricity generator and one of Europe's five leading gas and electricity companies. Founded in 1898, the company is active in the generation,…
Shenhua Group
China
Shenhua Group is a wholly state-owned company founded in 1995 directly under the central government. It is the largest coal producing company in the world. It takes coal…
Vattenfall
Sweden
Sweden's state-owned Vattenfall is Europe's sixth largest generator of electricity and largest producer of heat. In 2013, Vattenfall's total installed capacity across all…
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
pictures
Coal fair action day Oct 22, 2011

Firewalk Jun 08, 2010

videos

French bank urged to stop investing in coal
Jun 21, 2014 - On June 2nd, 2014, in France, activists brought the polluting reality of French bank Société Générale's investments in coal to their doorstep - by dumping 1.8 tonnes of coal outside their headquarters in Bayonne.

COP19: Heffa Schücking
Mar 26, 2014 - Heffa Schücking of Urgewald talks about the role banks play in financing coal production.

Full length video - Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change
Oct 02, 2013 - The World Development Movement calling for UK companies to make public the carbon emissions of the fossil fuel extraction they finance, as well as having to report their direct carbon emissions. Under new rules coming into force on 1 October 2013, firms must disclose information such as energy use and petrol consumption in their annual reports. But the UK's top 5 banks helped fossil fuel companies raise £170 billion between 2010 and 2012. This must be limited if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Banking while Borneo burns: top five banks fuelling climate change
Oct 02, 2013 - The World Development Movement calling for UK companies to make public the carbon emissions of the fossil fuel extraction they finance, as well as having to report their direct carbon emissions. Under new rules coming into force on 1 October 2013, firms must disclose information such as energy use and petrol consumption in their annual reports. But the UK's top 5 banks helped fossil fuel companies raise £170 billion between 2010 and 2012. This must be limited if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Bank of America: stop funding dirty coal
Jun 27, 2012 - Bank of America can't be a green leader as long as it’s underwriting climatechange

The Last Mountain
Apr 18, 2011 - Documentary on Mountaintop Removal.

ANZ's dirty secret
Apr 14, 2011 -

Mountaintop Removal: An American Tragedy
Apr 06, 2011 - Wake up call for MTR banks

Dirty Money
Mar 21, 2011 - Research group PLATFORM launches a new report 'Dirty Money - Corporate greenwash and RBS coal finance'.

The Story of Coal
Feb 10, 2011 - Do you know that 50% of electricity in the U.S. is generated from coal? Do you know where your energy comes from? Watch "The Story of Coal" to learn more.

Fireparty: launch campaign against banks and climate change
Jun 10, 2010 - -in dutch-

Wise Up Dominion
Nov 05, 2008 - RAN joins its Appalachian allies to demand a clean energy future in Wise County, Virginia.

"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack


member groups involved
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