‘Europe beyond Coal’: a campaign against climate change, atmospheric pollution and its disastrous effects on humans and the environment
People across Europe recently came together in an effort to accelerate the transition from harmful coal to clean and renewable energy sources under the campaign ‘Europe Beyond Coal’, spanning 28 countries. “Momentum is building for Europe to be coal free by 2030, and civil society is coming together to make it happen, and happen sooner. For nations to meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement and to protect the wellbeing of its citizens, coal plants need to be closing far faster than they currently are. A coal plant in any one country is a liability for all of Europe, and our planet as a whole”, said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal Campaign Director.
The civil society organizations call on European governments which use coal for power generation to stop promoting it, commit for a coal phaseout with a fair transition for the people working in the industry and the areas that will be affected and support the shift to a renewable energy-based system. The ultimate goal of the pan-European alliance is the governments’ announcements for coal phaseout to become true and the closure of the 293 remaining stations in Europe to take place as soon as possible. As it is mentioned in the campaign’s website, ‘a coal free Europe is inevitable and coming fast’.
According to a joint announcement of the environmental organizations Greenpeace and WWF, "the urgent need for change is underlined by the an update of the Dark Cloud research on the effects of coal on human health, showing that only in 2015, coal burning in Europe was responsible for 19,500 premature deaths, 10,000 cases of chronic adult bronchitis and 458,000 asthma attacks in children". And for the same year, "the corresponding cost of the impact of coal on public health is projected at 54 billion euros." In Germany, the largest greenhouse gas pollutant in Europe, coal burning for power generation was responsible for about 3,800 premature deaths and 10.5 billion euros for total health costs within and outside the country’s borders. Health data and associated economic impacts have also been calculated for Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK and can be found at the campaign’s website.