You are here: Home Knowledge Base The End of the Age of “King Coal”
Symposium 2015

The End of the Age of “King Coal”

The Challenge

Over 80 % of global coal reserves cannot be burned if the world is serious about limiting global warming to a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels and thus prevent dangerous climate change impacts. Coal mining is connected to serious human rights violations and environmental disasters while coal power plants are polluting air and water, causing negative health impacts and often death. Coal is the main energy resource for many countries across the world and often considered the only option for cheap energy access for the poor. Many governments are heavily subsidizing coal projects, technologies and infrastructure - often with official development assistance budgets. However, the dusk of the age of ‘King Coal’ might be nearer than we think: financial institutions, investors and shareholders alike are realizing that investing in a sunset technology of “unburnable carbon” puts them at high risk while fossil fuel companies are facing emerging litigation risks for the climate change impacts their products are causing and also for their role in actively preventing the implementation of effective climate policies.

What are the economic, social, environmental and ecological implications of our heavy reliance on coal? Can we hold coal companies accountable for the climate change impacts their products are causing? If yes, how? And how can we implement the ‘Polluter Pays” principle? What is the risk for investors when investing in coal projects? How big is the risk for another global financial crisis based on a ‘carbon bubble’? How can we ensure clean, sustainable, affordable energy access for all while phasing out coal? How does that look like concretely for a country like Germany?

This session is organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Please check out the tabs below for additional facts and information.

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2015

    A Four-Step Approach to Dethrone King Coal and Embrace a Renewable Future: Phase Out Fossil Fuels, Stop Funding Them, Hold the Polluters Accountable, and Scale-Up Renewable Energies!

    A Four-Step Approach to Dethrone King Coal and Embrace a Renewable Future: Phase Out Fossil Fuels, Stop Funding Them, Hold the Polluters Accountable, and Scale-Up Renewable Energies!

    A Four-Step Approach to Dethrone King Coal and Embrace a Renewable Future: Phase Out Fossil Fuels, Stop Funding Them, Hold the Polluters Accountable, and Scale-Up Renewable Energies!

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2015

    The End of the Age of “King Coal”

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Virtual Library

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Carbon Tracker Unburnable Carbon report

    Against the background of a limited carbon budget, this report explains why the largest part of oil, gas and coal reserves of the major oil and gas companies are "unburnable carbon", meaning that the ...


    Against the background of a limited carbon budget, this report explains why the largest part of oil, gas and coal reserves of the major oil and gas companies are "unburnable carbon", meaning that these reserves need to stay in the ground in order to stay within the 2°C limit. Those assets therefore threaten to form a "Carbon Bubble" with negative impacts on financial markets.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    End Coal

    End Coal is a platform for activists worldwide. It provides information and analyses on the impacts of coal exploitation on health and the environment, unveils myths, and gives examples of alternative ...

    End Coal is a platform for activists worldwide. It provides information and analyses on the impacts of coal exploitation on health and the environment, unveils myths, and gives examples of alternatives in energy production.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Banking on Coal 2014 Report

    The report shows not only an extreme increase in investments in the coal industry (both in the mining and the coal power sector), but also reveals the concentration of those investments that are made ...


    The report shows not only an extreme increase in investments in the coal industry (both in the mining and the coal power sector), but also reveals the concentration of those investments that are made by a few banks based in even fewer countries.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    The Fossil Fuel Bailout: G20 Subsidies for Oil, Gas and Coal Exploration

    The report analyses G20 subsidy patterns. In opposition to climate goals, these subsidies foster high-carbon industries and investments, and prevent investment into low-carbon alternatives.

    The report analyses G20 subsidy patterns. In opposition to climate goals, these subsidies foster high-carbon industries and investments, and prevent investment into low-carbon alternatives.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Big Oil, Coal and Gas Paying for their Climate Damage

    In 2013, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage was established at UNFCCC COP 19. The report shows the responsibility of 90 entities for 65% of global emissions. The authors demand tha ...


    In 2013, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage was established at UNFCCC COP 19. The report shows the responsibility of 90 entities for 65% of global emissions. The authors demand that those entities assume their historical responsibility and contribute their fair share to that mechanism. It suggests a viable way to do so.

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2015

    Kohleatlas - Daten und Fakten über einen globalen Brennstoff (Coal Atlas – Facts and figures about coal as a global fuel)

    A German publication that presents facts and figures about coal, such as geology, greenhouse gases, coal finance, energy poverty, health impacts, and elaborates on its true costs for societies. It als ...


    A German publication that presents facts and figures about coal, such as geology, greenhouse gases, coal finance, energy poverty, health impacts, and elaborates on its true costs for societies. It also discusses renewable energy sources as an alternative. The English version will be published by the end of 2015.