This report looks at coal in four countries—India, Colombia, South Africa, and Egypt—through a human rights lens. It focuses on the Global South, where coal use and production are increasing despite the opposite trend in much of the Global North.
Oil, Gas and Mining
Facts and figures showing the environmental and social impact of coal production.
This report provides the results of a worldwide survey completed in January 2015 by the Global Coal Plant Tracker. From 2005 to 2012, worldwide coal-fired generating capacity boomed, growing at three times the previous pace. The increase in the global coal fleet was twice the size of the entire existing U.S. coal fleet. That boom is now busting. In India, projects shelved or cancelled since 2012 outnumber project completions by six to one, and new construction initiations are at a near-standstill. In both Europe and the U.S., the coal fleet is shrinking, with retirements outnumbering new plants. China faces a looming glut in coal-fired generating capacity, with plant utilisation rates at a 35-year low.
The report finds that coal-fired power stations belonging to Eskom, South Africa’s energy utility, are the primary driver for poor outdoor air quality in the Highveld region in Mpumalanga. What this means for the communities that live there is severely poor health, particularly in the form of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases that can lead to death.
This report on Kalimantan’s deadly coal shows how coal mining is already destroying the future of the people of Kalimantan.
Traditionally considered the cheapest fuel around, the market price for coal ignores its most significant impacts. These so-called "external costs" manifests themselves as damages such as respiratory diseases, mining accidents, acid rain, smog pollution, reduced agricultural yields and climate change. The harm caused by mining and burning coal is not reflected in its price per tonne or its costs for a kWh of electricity, but the world at large is nevertheless paying for it. This report seeks to answer the question: just how much are we paying?
At each stage of its life cycle, coal pollutes the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land that we depend on. The factsheet describes the impacts of coal mining, preparation, transport and combustion.
This factsheet outlines coal's contribution to global climate change and why we need to urgently make the transition from coal to renewables. Scientists have found that more than 80% of known coal reserves need to stay in the ground in order to stay within 2 degrees celsius of global warming, the globally accepted limit.
One of our planet's scarcest natural resources - safe, affordable and accessible water - is under threat from the coal industry. Vast amounts of freshwater are consumed and polluted during coal mining, transport and power generation. This factsheet outlines the major threats to water resources from continued coal expansion.
When the industry talks about “clean coal,” it is referring to a range of technologies that burn coal more efficiently, and pollution controls that remove some of the nastiest pollutants from the smokestack. Yet even the most efficient coal-fired power plants only operate at around 44% efficiency, meaning that 56% of the energy content of the coal is lost. These plants emit 15 times more carbon dioxide than renewable energy systems and twice as much CO2 as gas-fired power plants.
Declining coal companies are using deceptive PR to push coal for developing countries, but renewable energy is increasingly the choice for energy access in the developing world.
Linking the current boom of unconventional gas extraction within the broader pattern of land and water grabbing, this report explores where fracking is happening today, who is promoting it, how, and the state of resistance.
A guide exposing corporate lobbying and industry capture of COP19, the yearly UN climate negotiations, taking place in Warsaw, 11-22 November 2013. It also covers the false solutions that are being offered up by these corporate lobbies, such as shale gas, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon markets.
Europe’s reliance on materials from outside its borders is not sustainable. This report explores three different commodities – lithium, aluminium and cotton – to exemplify how our linear consumption patterns (extraction, manufacture, use and disposal) not only have major social, economic and environmental impacts, but also represent a missed opportunity for job creation and global resource security.
Los empresarios mineros argumentan que ésta es necesaria y contribuye al desarrollo, sin embargo, habría que preguntarse ¿qué tan necesaria es la minería? y ¿para quién? y ¿para qué tipo de desarrollo?
Not only is India’s coal expansion on the rise, so are efforts to acquire additional land (both forest and non-forest) for linked thermal power plants and related infrastructure. Juxtaposed with this expansion are living realities of people who have historically been dependent on forests and lands.
From the sleepy village of Sompeta, India, on the Bay of Bengal, to the spectacular coral reefs of Sabah, Malaysia, in Southeast Asia, to the bustling metropolitan city of Chicago in the United States, communities on the front lines are defying threats and intimidation to turn the tide of history.
Linking the current booming of the newly applied and fast spreading technology for unconventional gas extraction within the broader pattern of land and water grabbing, this report defines fracking, why and where it is happening today, who is promoting it, how, and what is the state of resistance.
This report raises key questions about Shell’s planned expansion in the Canadian tar sands and the Alaskan Arctic, as well as its failure to clean up horrific pollution in the Niger Delta.
The expansion of extractive industries is a major driver of land grabbing globally, and poses a significant threat to the world’s indigenous communities, farmers and local food production systems, as well as to precious water, forests, biodiversity, critical ecosystems and climate change.
This report is about bringing hard facts and community perspectives together to help people to become more informed about the nature of the mining industry.
The will and the capacity of the UN and Member States to deal with natural resource-fuelled conflicts is weak. Global Witness recommends disrupting the trade that fuels armed violence; demilitarising control of natural resources; and strengthening natural resource governance.
This publication is dedicated to all those heroes who have died in their resistance to mining, oil and gas, and to those that continue to resist around the world.
Tar sands extraction in Canada is devastating indigenous communities, wildlife and vast areas of boreal forests, as well as being many times more carbon-intensive to produce than 'conventional' oil. This report looks at the role that UK banks, especially RBS, are playing in providing the necessary capital.
British mining companies are making huge profits in situations of conflict and human rights violations.
There is a widening void between the need for clear and enforceable standards against corporate complicity in human rights abuses and the medley of non-binding principles and guidelines that are being offered as a solution.
Industrialised countries are trying to cap greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously financing fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, but the widespread belief that fossil fuels are central to development is misguided.
Shell is the most carbon intensive oil company in the world. For every barrel of oil it produces in the future, Shell will contribute more to global warming than any other oil company.
Unless appropriate policies are adopted to encourage the use of cleaner, non-fossil fuels, investment in dirtier, “unconventional” forms of oil will increase.
This report is a record of egregious corporate behavior that—in locations as diverse as California, Burma, Colombia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the Philippines and the U.S. Gulf Coast—has spanned decades and carries on today.
Which are the biggest companies in the world? Which corporations control them? How does their power compare with states?
This report highlights the negative social, environmental and human rights impacts of London-listed corporations in order to demand much stricter regulatory oversight, particularly of companies involved in mining and trading in minerals.