Today, 22 October 2013, protests are being staged across the world as a part of an international day of action against coal, the world’s largest dirty energy source.

The actions are part of Reclaim Power, a global month of action on energy.

“Coal is incompatible with the future of our planet. In fact we require an urgent transformation of our energy system away from destructive sources like coal and towards low-impact, climate-friendly energy under direct democratic control. On October 22, we join the Reclaim Power actions against coal and for this alternative vision.” Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice & Energy Co-coordinator at Friends of the Earth International said.

Friends of the Earth International is a part of a global alliance of movements, networks and NGOs that have come together under the banner ‘Reclaim Power’, to focus attention on the energy transformation that is needed to stop run-away climate change.

“Friends of the Earth member groups across the world are fighting coal to protect the territories of local communities and to stop devastating climate change.” Bhatnagar said.

The groups are emphasizing that contrary to the industry’s propaganda, coal is not cheap, but carries huge costs to people and the environment.

“Coal is simply not a cheap energy source anymore. In India for instance, tens of proposed power plants are in deep debt and no bank or company is willing to bail them out. The economic, social and environmental risks with coal are way too high.” Renuka Saroha, India Coal Campaigner, with said.

The day of action against coal is also highlighting the huge contribution that coal makes to climate change, and resisting suggestions that so-called ‘clean coal’ represents a feasible response to the risks of coal. This was highlighted with actions in Berlin against the ‘Coaltrans’ summit of the world’s biggest coal polluters.

“While CEOs in Berlin are scheming for new dirty coal deals together under the protection of tight security, people around the world are demanding clean and democratic energy. We are not afraid to tackle head-on the dirty corporations that seek to profit from wrecking the planet. We will follow these vested interests to the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw in November and show they cannot ignore the people’s demand to end the coal economy.” Marco Cadena, coordinator of Push Europe said.

The groups call for energy access for all, but say that coal has not and cannot deliver the energy that the 1.3 billion people without any electricity need. In the Philippines this included actions at 15 coal sites across 13 provinces.

“Coal mining and combustion processes, pushed by transnational corporations and international financial institutions, have serious toxic effects on the health of people and the environment. These in turn severely weaken resilience and undermine the capacity of people and communities to deal with the impacts of climate change in most developing countries like the Philippines.” Gerry Arances, of the Philippines Movement for Climate Justice said.

“Reclaim Power is a global month of actions focusing on the harm that dirty energy does to our climate and our communities, and proposing real, people focused solutions.” Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development said.

“Reclaim Power has clear demands for the banning of new dirty energy projects and coal projects are the dirtiest and most dangerous.” Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development said.

Image: Winter fruit by Khalid Al-Haqqan