Beyond coal: Scaling up clean energy to fight poverty

Eradicating global poverty is within reach, but under threat from a changing climate. Left unchecked, climate change will put at risk our ability to lift people out of extreme poverty permanently by 2030, the first target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Coal is the world’s number one source of CO2 emissions. Most historic emissions came from the coal industry in the developed world in the last century, with China joining the biggest emitters at the beginning of this one.  It is widely accepted that a rapid and just response to climate change will require the urgent replacement of coal with low-carbon energy sources in rich economies. Better energy options also exist to lift people out of income poverty in the developing world. These can deliver not just universal energy access, but also lift people’s incomes by powering economic development and employment.

The coal industry claims that expanding coal use is critical to fighting extreme poverty and improving energy access for billions of people in developing countries. In fact, the opposite is true.

The global commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and energy poverty by 2030 does not require the expansion of coal power, and it is incompatible with stabilizing the earth’s climate. The evidence is clear: a lasting solution to poverty requires the world’s wealthiest economies to renounce coal, and we can and must end extreme poverty without the precipitous expansion of new coal power in developing ones. 

An urgent shift to renewable and efficient energy systems is required to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, SDG1 on eradicating global poverty by 2030 and SDG7 on universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.

The following actions must be prioritized:

  1. G20 governments must stop all forms of subsidy for fossil fuels.
  2. All forms of public support for coal capacity expansion should be phased out.
  3. All support for energy through bilateral and multilateral channels must prioritize the delivery of SDG7 on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.
  4. Development institutions must apply monitoring and reporting frameworks that track the poverty reduction and development impact of their energy support.
  5. Developing and emerging economies should develop plans for a sustainable and socially just energy shift, in line with implementing the SDGs and their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, identifying support needed from development partners.
  6. Public and private finance must be more transparent about exposure to carbon risk.

This Statement[1] is supported by the undersigned organizations, dedicated to the achievement of lasting poverty eradication and sustainable development in the face of the climate crisis.

11.11.11, Belgium, Global, Europe

ACT Alliance            


Canadian Youth Climate Coaliton/Canadian Youth Delegation, Canada

Christian Aid – UK

Christian Aid - Ireland           

Church of Sweden International, Sweden

Climate Action Moreland, Australia

Climate Change in Focus, Canada

Climate Fast             

Climate Justice Programme, Australia

Christian Aid, UK

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canada

CIDSE, Belgium

CNCD-11.11.11        Belgium

Development and Peace, Canada

EcoEquity, USA  

Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane DASSC, Ethiopia

FairClimateFund , Netherlands

Green 13, Canada

Greenpeace, Global                

InspirAction, Spain

London Mining Network


Overseas Development Institute, UK

Practical Action, UK

Sandbag, UK

Windfall Ecology Centre, Canada


Urgewal, Germany

YUVA Association, Turkey

350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (G-ROC), Ghana

E3G, Europe

Diakonia, Sweden

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC)   Philippines

Climate Watch Thailand, Thailand

CARE International, Germany

WWF International, International

NEW DAY Society Development Network Yangon

Sane Yaung So Mandalay

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Mandalay

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Sagaing

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Bago

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Magway

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Ayeyawady

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Rakhine

Action Group for Farmer Affair  Shan (Northern)

Dawei Research Association Tanintharyi

Shan State Peace Task Force Taung Gyi Shan (Southern)

Ta'ang Youth Organization (Yangon) Shan

Green For All  Natogyi Mandalay

Farmers Union (Dawei)

Padeidhamoe Yangon

Freethinker Yangon

Right And Peace (Kalay) Sagaing

Shwe Chan Myay Network (Kunchangone)

Alin Sae Ta Man Yangon

Doe Myay Kun Yet Yangon

Thuriya Sandra Minkin Sagaing

Sane Lann Pyin Oo Lwin  Mandalay

Ayeyawady Youth Network Ayeyawady

PoPP  Bago

Shwechinthae social service group(shwebo) Sagaing

Ayeyawady West Development Organization Magway

Tontay Youth Network Yangon

Shwe Maw Won Kyauk Tan Region Development Organization Yangon

Bedar Yangon

Maymyo Farmer Development network Pyin Oo Lwin Mandalay

Human Rights Foundation of Monland - HURFOM Mon

Taung Thar Youth. Taung Thar Mandalay

Keren Environment and Social Action Network (KESAN) Karen

Upper Chindwin Youth Network  Sagaing

Shwe Chin Thae Farmer Network Sagaing

Kalay Farmer Union Sagaing

Cherry  Image- Taung Gyi Shan

Y.W.C. A ( Taunggyi ) Shan

Kabaw Region Labour Union Sagaing Kabaw Region Labour Union

Mong Pan Youth Association Shan

Farmers Development and Environment Conservation Organization Kachin

Andin Youth Organization Pharlain Region Mon

Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee Rakhine

Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee Magway

Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee Mandalay

Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Committee Shan (Northern)

Peace & Open Society Kyaukse Township Mandalay

Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability Mandalay Division Working Group Mandalay

Farmer Union Kyaukse Township Mandalay

Action Group For Farmer Affair Bago

Interfaith Solidarity Association Pyin Oo Lwin Mandalay

Sane Lan Shwe Thin Pyin Oo Lwin Mandalay

IFI Watch Myanmar  Yangon

MIDO Myanmar IT Development Organization Yangon

Metta Development Foundation Yangon

Community Response Group ( COMREG )

Paung Ku Yangon

Tanintharyi Friend Tanintharyi

Takarpaw Tanintharyi

Candle Light Tanintharyi

Beautiful Beach Development Network (BBDN)

Kan Chay Arr Man fishery development Network

MATA (AYY)  Ayeyawady

Pann Tai Shin regional development organization

Southern Youth Oraganization Tanintharyi

Real image social development organization (Bogalay)

NINU (Women in Action) Yangon

LAIN Technical Support Group,Loikaw

Helping Hand Organization, Kalay Sagaing

Agency for Basic Community Development Myanmar Sagaing

Western Beach of Ayeyarwady Environment Coservation organization

Upper Myanmar Lawyer Network Mandalay Region

Lighthouse social development organization, Ayeyawady Region

Ah Lin Yaung social development organization

Kutkai Region Farmer Net Work(KGZH) , Kutkai Shan  (Northern)

Farmers And Landworkers Union( SHAN) Shan

Shwe Nyaung Pin Lighthouse Social development organization  

Yay Kyi Ta Pauk Social support organization . Phayar Ngote To,

Enveronment Conservation And Farmers Development Organization(Shan) . Shan State

Green Wave Environment Coservation organization, Ayeyarwady Region.


[1] For a more detailed discussion of these issues see the report ‘Be        ’ a collaboration of the the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (UK), the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (India), Christian Aid (UK), the Institute for Development Studies (UK), the Institute for Essential Service Reform (Indonesia), the Overseas Development Institute (UK), Oxfam International, Practical Action (UK), the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (US), and the Vasudha Foundation (India).