In 2008 85% of the UK’s Greenhouse gas emissions were Carbon dioxide. The main source of CO2 emissions was the energy supply sector which made up 39% of carbon dioxide emissions . There was actually a small decrease in emissions which was the result of using more natural gas at the expense of coal for electricity generation. The burning of coal for electricity generation is the most carbon intensive of all fossil fuels as it is made up of nearly all carbon. Globally CO2 emissions from Coal-fired power stations amounts to 11 billion tonnes . That’s 41% of all global fossil fuel CO2 emissions .
NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen has said that the ‘single most important action’ needed to tackle the climate crisis is to reduce CO2 emissions from coal .
The entire life cycle of coal from mining through to waste disposal effects the environment, human health and local communities. It disrupts eco systems and contaminates water supplies. As well as CO2 other greenhouse gases released during the process include nitrogen oxide and methane  and toxic chemicals like mercury, aluminium, lead, copper and arsenic which has been know to leak into water supplies. A lot of coal contains sulphur which can lead to acid mine drainage if it’s exposed and forms sulphuric acid. This can then contaminate local water supplies.
Opencast mining is used if the coal seams are found near the surface of the earth, the surface is broken up by explosives to get to the coal seam which is then drilled so it breaks up and can be taken away. This form of mining causes deforestation, water shortages, the loss of fertile soil through erosion, subsidence, lowering of the water tables, coal fires, contamination of water supplies and destruction of agricultural land. As well as destroying eco-systems and landscapes. It Also causes health problems for local communities and workers due to the removal of overburden which creates dust or partial matter. Air pollution associated with coal mines also comes from near by power stations and from diesel fumes from all the mining equipment. Added to air pollution and water pollution is noise pollution generated from the explosions and drilling.
Health of Local Communities
A lot of the negative health effects of open cast mines comes form inhaling dust particles from the mine, local water supplies can also become contaminated from the process of washing the coal. A study carried out to investigate the effects of open cast coal mines on the local community of Douglasdale found noticeable ill-health in the people who lived near the Douglas and Dalmellington open-cast coal mines, compared with aggregated UK health statistics and with a nearby Scottish town upwind from the mines . The study found that there was a small but significant link with living near an open-cast coal mine and getting a respiratory disease. It also found “the high rate of death from cancer in the Douglasdale sub-region of Clydesdale is particularly troubling” . The study also looked at 12 other peer review reports that have investigated the effects of opencast coal mines. Of these 10 found significant ill-health within the coal mining areas. Other studies have also linked lung disease, kidney disease, cardiopulmonary disease, black lung disease, hypertension and cardiac diseases with open cast coal mines.
The risk of developing kidney disease increase by 70% if you live near a coal mine.
The risk of developing chronic lung diseases increases by 64% if you live near a coal mine and risk of high blood pressure is increased by 30% .
 UK CLIMATE CHANGE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INDICATOR:
2008 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, FINAL FIGURES. National Statistics http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/climate_change/gg_emissions/uk_emissions/2008_final/2008_final.aspx
 International Energy Agency, 2008. CO2 emissions from fuel
 International Energy Agency, 2007. Key World Energy
Statistics. OECD/ IEA 2007.
 Hansen, J., 2007. Testimony before the Iowa Utilities Board,
Docket No. GCU-07-01. 05 November 2007. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2007/IowaCoal_20071105.pdf.
 Greenpeace, Leave it in the ground.
 Douglasdale Community Coal Health Study http://coalhealthstudy.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/douglasdale_v42.pdf
BAA today conceded defeat over its plans to expand Heathrow after the new government ruled out plans to expand Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. This now leaves the focus on regional airports such as Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham. Already over the past few weeks there have been a number protests against local airport expansion such as the Todays action by Plane Stupid at Manchester Airport. Earlier this month saw local students and environmental groups from across the West Midlands take part in a 10 mile protest bike ride along the A45 Coventry Road, which is now a central argument against the plans as it is set to be diverted to allow the airport to expand. This would mean Birmingham City and Solihull Councils spending £32million of public money to fund a project owned by a private company.
As part of Fossil Fools Day West Midlands Climate Action decided to support the Huntington Lane Camp against one of the UK’s biggest Fossil Fools; UK Coal, who want to mine 900,000 tonnes of coal at Huntington Lane over a three-year period. The main idea of the Fossil Fools weekend gathering was to get as many people as possible down to the camp over the four days to help with the ongoing construction of the camp. The 230-acre site near the foot of The Wrekin encompasses part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is also home to the protected scheduled New Works Ancient Monument. The Camp was set up three weeks ago in response to UK Coal felling trees which were part of ancient woodland so they can build a haul road to link the two parts of the site together.
A day before Fossil Fools Days saw the camp attacked during the night by three loud bangs, which it is thought came from someone either throwing fireworks or an air bomb into the camp. The camp which included young children were terrified after being woken up during the dead of night. One camper said
“It was terrifying, really terrifying. It was in the dead of night, deathly quiet, and then all of a sudden we heard these three thunderous bangs quickly one after the other.”