Charcoal – a climate killer

Awarded the Golden Palm at the Deauville Green Awards.

Charcoal is a red-hot topic – also with regard to climate change. The documentary shows how charcoal is produced and traded in Nigeria and Congo and how it reaches the EU. Europeans use 800,000 tonnes of charcoal for barbecuing every year. 70 per cent comes from outside the EU. The bags often contain charcoal made from tropical wood, the import of which into the EU is subject to strict regulations. These regulations do not yet exist for charcoal. Environmentalists want to change that.  To produce one tonne of barbecue coal, three tonnes of wood are needed in efficient kilns. In the earth-burning kilns built by Nigerian charcoal burners, up to twelve tonnes are needed. The impact is enormous. Nigeria alone lost 36 per cent of its forests between 1990 and 2005. According to the UN, coal production is one of the main causes of Africa’s deforestation and – closely linked to this – of massive soil degradation and the increasing risk of crop failure.

The research for this project was supported by a grant from the non-profit Olin gGmbH and supervised by the journalists’ association network recherche.

Broadcast date:Wh 12. Dezember 2018 um 21 Uhr auf 3sat, Erstsendung 15. November 2017 um 20:15 auf 3sat
Written and directed by:Johannes Bünger und Vivien Pieper
Mitarbeit: Katja Becker
Camera:André Krüger und Jonathan Happ
Editor:Imke Koseck
Editorial advisor:Wolfgang Aull
Production:Ulrike Schwerdtner
Producer:Martina Sprengel