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Poland’s approach to the Paris COP

Poland is a major coal producer. Miners there are well organised and have strong political leverage. There is a big question mark over how the new government want to approach EU climate policy. An analysis.

By Tobiasz Adamczewski

Protests: A broad alliance with staying power

Around the world, people are fighting back against the coal industry. Theyface repression, harassment and violence – but sometimes they are successful. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Benjamin von Brackel

India: Rich in coal but poor in energy

Coal is an important part of India’s energy mix. Local production is not enough: strong demand is attracting imports from Australia and elsewhere. However, India has huge potential for renewable energy.

By Axel Harneit-Sievers

Lobbying: Paid to prevent progress

Wherever climate and energy negotiations take place, the coal industry wants to have their say. They often succeed. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Cindy Baxter

Subsidies: Hidden payments, unpaid bills

The coal industry uses taxpayers’ money to keep its prices low – and it does not compensate for the costs of climate change or disease. A brief look at the scale of the problem. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Arne Jungjohann, Stefanie Groll, Lili Fuhr

EU energy policy: On track, but aiming too low

The European Union’s climate policy aims for lower emissions, lower consumption and an increase in renewable energy. The targets are achievable – but they ought to be more ambitious.

By Arne Jungjohann

Finance: Big players behind the scenes

Digging mines, building power plants and providing infrastructure cost billions. Many countries cannot afford the investments; credit agencies and multilateral and private banks are glad to step in.

By Arne Jungjohann

China: Black fuel, in the red

Change is under way for the world’s biggest coal consumer; consumption in 2014 was down. Renewables are up. Coal-fired power plants are working at less than full capacity. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Arne Jungjohann

Labour: Dirty jobs in a dirty industry

Although coal production is still on the rise, the sector is employing fewer people. Structural change has spread to all continents. Nevertheless, mining underground remains one of the most dangerous occupations worldwide.

By Benjamin von Brackel

Health: Fine dust, fat price

Smoke and fumes from coal-fired power plants make us ill. They are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide each year. Atmospheric and environmental pollution from coal costs billions in health expenses.

By Heike Holdinghausen

Coal Atlas: Introduction

Coal was, and still is, the fuel of industrialization and global economic growth. Though its negative consequences for humans and nature outweigh its economic benefits. We hope that our Coal Atlas will spur the international campaign to phase out the use of coal.

By Ralf Fücks, Barbara Unmüßig

Human rights: Pushed down and driven out

When the coal firms arrive, local people can expect forced removal and repression. Voluntary standards are of little help. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Heidi Feldt, Marcus Franken

Russia: The land without doubt or debate

Coal is one of the dirtiest industries in Russia. Apart from hydropower, renewable energy is practically non-existent. Civil society groups that might push for more sustainable sources of power are few and far between.

By Vladimir Slivyak

Germany: A turnaround yet to turn

Germany is phasing out nuclear power and has come to rely more on coal for its electricity. Despite a steep rise in renewable energy, the use of coal is endangering Germany’s ambitious target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

By Eva Mahnke

Geology and geography: Subterranean forests

Coal is formed from vegetation at high temperatures and pressures, cut off from the air. The older the coal, the more carbon and energy it contains. Deposits are located in all continents.

By Heike Holdinghausen

Dossier: Coal Atlas - Facts and figures on a fossil fuel

Coal does not just kill the climate. In coal mines, terrible working conditions are rife. Accidents are commonplace. Still, EU member states subsidize coal related business with almost 10 billion euros per year. Our dossier with all the articles and infographics from our Coal Atlas.

Nature: A contaminated future

Open-cast mining destroys the landscape of both the pit and the surrounding area. Efforts to restore these areas often fail and the surface above the underground mines sinks. A chapter from the Coal Atlas.

By Eva Mahnke