Billionaire, philanthropist, and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that he will invest $US500 million into his campaign to shut down coal plants and halve gas use by 2030.
Through the Beyond Carbon campaign, Bloomberg has successfully helped shut down about 70% of all coal plants in the U.S. This new push is intended to shut down the remaining 150 coal plants. The Beyond Carbon initiative also aims to work with a range of local and state organizations to block the construction of new gas plants.
The financing is intended to support research, including studies and analysis to deliver accurate data to partnering organizations and officials for better decision-making. It will also fund local policy and advocacy, along with litigation brought against power companies.
According to a press release from Bloomberg Philanthropies, this push to shut down coal-fired power plants will push officials to invest in renewable energy and clean jobs. “Our climate is warming at a breakneck pace, and there’s more urgency than ever to cut emissions from fossil fuels & move the U.S. faster toward a clean energy future,” Bloomberg tweeted yesterday, referring to the recent announcement.
Several organizations that have worked closely with the Beyond Carbon campaign have lauded Bloomberg’s efforts and financing. “Combatting the climate crisis is the most critical fight of our time,” Ben Jealous, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a press release. “We must transition from fossil fuels to clean energy if we want to protect our health, our environment, and our children, and we must do so in a way that empowers local communities and prioritizes environmental justice.”
When the Beyond Carbon campaign was first launched, the goal was to retire about 30% of coal plants by 2020. But with the support of environmental groups nationwide, and an early $US500 million from Bloomberg, the campaign managed to shut down more than half of the nation’s coal plants by 2022, Reuters reported.
Bloomberg had long championed environmental and climate causes. When he was the mayor of New York, Bloomberg took the subway regularly—by way of SUV, Gothamist reported back in 2007. He also pushed for more biking infrastructure in the city, and the Citi Bike system was launched in 2013.
Bloomberg has also financed other environmental campaigns, including one to stop new petrochemical plants that produce packaging, plastics, and fertilizers, The New York Times reported. He launched a $US85 million campaign last year to support the new Beyond Petrochemicals campaign with the goal to “block the expansion of more than 120 proposed petrochemical projects” in Louisiana, the Ohio River Valley, and Texas.
Want more climate and environment stories? Check out Earther’s guides to decarbonizing your home, divesting from fossil fuels, packing a disaster go bag, and overcoming climate dread. And don’t miss our coverage of the latest IPCC climate report, the future of carbon dioxide removal, and the un-greenwashed facts on bioplastics and plastic recycling.
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