Coal and Just Transition | WWF
© WWF-US / Julie Pudlowski

Coal & the just transition

Coal is the dirtiest fuel available and coal-fired power plants are the single biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Coal and subsidies for coal must be phased out rapidly, and in a socially fair manner. 

Why it matters

Burning coal releases carbon dioxide, which causes climate change. Coal also emits pollutants which cause acid rain and ground level ozone, and are associated with a range of human health problems. Coal mining destroys the environment, and depletes and contaminates water supplies.

The European Commission can help phase out coal by strengthening laws limiting emissions such as the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC), as well as the  EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and setting up an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for CO2 from power plants. 

The EU is setting up a ‘Just Transition Fund’ (JTF) to help all EU regions reach climate neutrality. But the proposal is not yet enough to make this happen.  

What WWF is doing

To prevent dangerous climate change, the world’s coal consumption needs to peak and then start to decline before 2020, in line with most climate scenarios and the Paris Agreement.

To limit global warming to well below 2°C temperature rise, European coal emissions must fall on average by 8% every year until 2040. This is three times faster than currently.

The EU needs to strengthen the IED and NEC Directives and the EU ETS to reduce the health and environmental impacts of coal.

The EU must develop a progressive EPS - gCO2/kWh or total carbon emissions budgets over a certain time period - for existing and new power generation plants.

The EU Just Transition Fund must exclude all fossil fuels, including gas. Funding must be dependent on regions having fossil fuel phase-out plans and dates. 
WWF EU offices engaged in the transition from coal to renewable energy in the EU are: WWF Germany, WWF UKWWF GreeceWWF HungaryWWF SpainWWF PolandWWF ItalyWWF Norway and WWF European Policy Office. WWF is part of the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, which calls for an end to coal in Europe by 2030.