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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


member groups involved
Allianz
Allianz is a German multinational financial services company headquartered in Munich. Its core business and focus is insurance. Allianz was founded in Berlin in 1890…
Bank Central Asia
Bank Central Asia (BCA) is an Indonesian bank founded in 1955. The bank was heavily affected by the financial crisis in 1997, but managed to recover the same year. It had…
Bank Danamon
PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk. was established in 1956. The name Bank Danamon was derived from ‘dana moneter', meaning monetary fund. It was first used in 1976 in place…
Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego
Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) is Poland's only state-owned bank. BGK was established in 1924 during the monetary reforms of Wladyslaw Grabski. The primary business objective…
Bank Millennium
Bank Millennium is a Polish commercial bank. Together with its subsidiaries in Poland, provides specialized financial services such as leasing, brokerage, and mutual funds,…
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 India
Bank of India (BoI) is an Indian state-owned commercial bank with headquarters in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was founded on 7th September, 1906 by a group of eminent…
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ is the largest bank in Japan, which was established on January 1, 2006, with the merger of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Ltd. and UFJ Bank…
Barclays
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management…
BayernLB
The Bayerische Landesbank is a German publicly regulated bank, founded in 1972. It is one of the eight Landesbanken. As a commercial bank, BayernLB offers private and commercial…
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.…
BNY Mellon
The Bank of New York Mellon is an American multinational banking and financial services corporation formed in 2007 as a result of the merger of The Bank of New York and Mellon…
China Construction Bank
China Construction Bank (CCB) is one of China's Big Four joint-stock commercial banks.  As of March 2009, CCB was the second biggest bank in the world, operating 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…
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…
Getin Noble Bank
Getin Noble Bank is among the largest banks controlled by Polish capital. It offers a variety of financial products, investment and savings services. The bank was created…
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…
Helaba
Helaba is the short name for Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen. It is a German commercial bank in and was founded in 1953. Helaba functions as central bank for the savings…
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…
HSH Nordbank
HSH Nordbank is a commercial bank in northern Europe. It is active in corporate and private banking. The bank was created as a result of a merger between Hamburgische…
Industrial Commercial Bank of China
ICBC is a joint-stock commercial bank based in the People's Republic of China.  Founded in 1984, ICBC was the world's biggest bank as of March 2009.  ICBC has expanded…
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…
La Banque Postale
La Banque postale is a French bank created on 1 January, 2006 as a subsidiary of La Poste, the national postal service. It offers private customers a full range of banking…
LBBW
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) is a parent company of three commercial banks and the Landesbank for some Federal States of Germany. It was fouded in 1999. Among…
Life Insurance Corporation of India
Life Insurance Corporation is the largest life insurance company in India. It was founded in 1956 and is fully owned by the government. It provides individual life insurance,…
Mediobanca
Mediobanca is an Italian investment bank founded in 1946 at the initiative of Raffaele Mattioli (at that time CEO of Banca Commerciale Italiana, the largest bank in Italy…
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.…
Norddeutsche Landesbank (Nordlb)
NORD/LB is Germany's largest bank for national and international bond issues. It was established in 1765 as Braunschweigische Staatsbank. The main areas of specialization…
PKO Bank Polski
Bank Polski (the Bank of Poland) is the name of two former banks in Poland, each of which acted as a central bank. The first was founded by Franciszek Ksawery Drucki-Lubecki…
Power Finance Corporation
Power Finance Corporation Ltd. is an Indian financial institution. Established in 1986, it is the financial back bone of Indian Power Sector.  
Raiffeisen Zentralbank
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG is the central institution of the Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria (RBG) and also functions as the group centre for the entire RZB…
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…
Suncorp
Suncorp Bank was founded as the Queensland Agricultural Bank in 1902. Suncorp Bank is Australia's leading regional bank and part of the Suncorp Group. Suncorp Group includes…
Swedbank
Swedbank AB is a Nordic-Baltic banking group offering retail banking, asset management, financial, and other services. On 8 September 2006, Föreningssparbanken AB changed…
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.…
US bank
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), is the parent company of U.S. Bank. The company operates banking offices and ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage,…
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


member groups involved
Alpha Coal project
Australia
The Alpha Coal project is a A$6.4 billion coal mine and export project that is proposed to be constructed in Queensland, Australia. The black thermal coal mine and associated…
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…
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…
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…
Medupi coal power plant
South Africa
Eskom is a state-owned enterprise. Established in 1923, it was corporatized from the start, being set up to run on business principles and to deliver cheap and abundance…
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). It is trying to secure 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…
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…
check dodgy deals on record
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel


member groups involved
Adani
India
Adani is an 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…
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…
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…
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…
GDF Suez and International Power
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…
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,…
Vattenfall
Sweden
Sweden's state-owned Vattenfall is Europe's sixth largest generator of electricity and largest producer of heat. In Sweden it has a market share of 50%. The company's generation…
"Coal-fired power stations are death factories. Close them." James Hansen

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel


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


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

BankTrack contact person for this campaign:

Yann Louvel


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

Firewalk Jun 08, 2010

videos

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


member groups involved
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http://t.co/wCq361gOg7 - news - Société Générale is breaching its own standards in backing massive, risky... http://t.co/G7UIItrK62
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