Main page content

The Russion coal industry - an environmental and social disaster

Expansion of the Russian coal industry will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, leading to a faster climate change. One reason behind this expansion is the growing demand for Russian coal from Europe’s energy giants, such as E.On and RWE, which are among the biggest consumers of Russian coal. But this expansion also comes at the cost of worsening ecological and health impacts from an industry with an already dismal environmental record.

This is revealed in a new report on the Russian coal industry released today in Bonn, Germany, where the UN is conducting a new round of negotiations with national governments on a future climateagreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The report, entitled “Russian coal industry: environmental and public health impacts and regional development prospects” is presented by the Russian environmental group Ecodefense and is the first independent assessment of the devastating impact the Russian coal industry has on the environment and populations residing near the mining sites and coal-fired power plants.

Ecodefense’s report was produced in 2013 and is based on official national and regional statistics as well as interviews with local experts and industry officials.

According to the report, the government’s current energy strategy, aimed at a rapid expansion of the coal industry in Russia, is connected with export plans. In 2009, Russia became the world’s third largest coal exporter and continues to build up its production of coalfor export, doubling export figures since 1990. In 2011, Russian coal companies produced 336 million tons of coal; by 2030, this figure is expected to grow by another 30%.

For the complete article, please see Boell Foundation / Ecodefense.