Bloomberg Antes Big Bucks to Dethrone King Coal
Sure $50 million—to be paid over four years—is a very big deal. Beyond the dollars the partnership between Bloomberg and the club takes the fight to end the coal era to a new well-staffed and nationwide level.
The investment will fill a big portion of the Beyond Coal campaign’s projected $150 million four-year budget. It will have a significant impact in advancing the campaign’s goals, which include replacing a majority of coal with clean energy, cutting coal production by 30 percent and reducing mercury pollution from coal by 90 percent by 2020.
The partnership will also increase the number of campaign states to 45 from 15, double the size of the club’s full-time staff working on the campaign to 200 and increase the club’s active member base to 2.4 million from 1.4 million people. It “will effectively retire one-third of the nation’s aging coal fleet by 2020, replacing it with clean energy,” the club said, while accelerating the “transition to cleaner, cost-effective energy sources.”
“This is a game changer” in the fight against coal, said Michael Brune, the club’s executive director. “Coal relentlessly dirties our water, air, and lungs and fixing the problem cannot be left to Washington,” he said. “Nor can coal’s contributions to climate disruption be left to international bodies. Mike Bloomberg’s strong clean air agenda as Mayor of New York, and his Chairmanship of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, shows that he understands that actions are being taken, and that the most significant ongoing successes will be won city by city, by dedicated people across America.”
This is the second major climate initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies, following its recent involvement and investment in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The organization’s scope is worldwide and varied and has included support for medical programs for children with HIV/AIDS in São Paulo and Sydney, literacy projects in Mumbai and Madrid, and environmental initiatives in Tokyo and Tel Aviv.
The Beyond Coal campaign is already highly successful, to date stopping construction of 153 coal-fired plants. About 10 percent of the current coal fleet is slated for retirement, and new mountaintop removal mining permits are essentially stalled.
The Bloomberg connection means that this work will continue for years to come. It’s a turning point, and could well be the death knell for an outdated, polluting and unhealthy fuel and a needed counter to King Coal’s deep and influential pockets.