Mike Bloomberg - Climate Activist

Michael Bloomberg Launches $500 Million Beyond Carbon Campaign To End Coal & Stop Gas

United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg announced last Friday the formation of Beyond Carbon, a new campaign intended to close the remainder of the United States’ fleet of coal-fired power plants and halt the rush to build new gas plants. 

Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor of New York, announced Beyond Carbon in his commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) last Friday and promised a $500 million investment to put the US on track towards a 100% clean energy economy. The formation of Beyond Carbon follows the launch of the successful Beyond Coal in 2011, a campaign partnership between the Bloomberg Foundation and the Sierra Club with the goal to closing at least a third of the United States coal fleet.

Beyond Carbon comes on the heels of the closure of 289 out of 530 of the United States’ coal-fired power plants, and will look to close the remaining plants, as well as halt the rush to build new natural gas-fired power plants.

“We’re in a race against time with climate change, and yet there is virtually no hope of bold federal action on this issue for at least another two years. Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we,” said Michael Bloomberg to students at MIT. “Beyond Carbon will respond to this crisis with the urgency and ambition that it requires, by taking the fight to the states and turbo-charging current on-the-ground efforts.

“We will employ the same advocacy, legal, and electoral strategies that have proven so successful in retiring coal-fired power plants – which we have continued to close at the same fast rate under this administration as we did under the previous one – and also in passing gun safety background check laws in states around the country. This campaign will ensure that after the 2020 election, the next Administration inherits a country on its way to a 100% clean energy economy.”

One of the key priorities of the Beyond Carbon campaign will be working with state and local governments to pass climate and clean energy policies, including 100% clean energy laws, targets, and timetables to phase out climate pollution. Beyond Carbon will also look to help create and implement programs to expand low-carbon transit, increase the speed of deployment of electric vehicles, promote cleaner building practices, and prioritize low-carbon manufacturing.

Beyond Carbon will also look to throw its weight behind electing state and local candidates who are “climate champions” and who will lead on climate and drive progress from the local level.

The Beyond Carbon campaign is the largest effort by Michael Bloomberg and his Foundation to combat the climate crisis and represents the largest ever philanthropic effort to fight the current climate crisis. The move comes a month after Bloomberg announced he was committing $5.5 million to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat to make up for the funding gap left by the United States federal government. It is the second year in a row that Bloomberg has committed money to the Secretariat after it contributed $4.5 million in April of 2018 in an effort to ensure the United States will honor its Paris Climate Agreement.

“The United States made a promise to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement – and if the federal government won’t hold up our end of the deal, then the American people must,” said Michael Bloomberg speaking in April. “As mayors, governors, business leaders, and private citizens across the country work to ensure that we meet our climate targets, our foundation will again cover the difference in federal funding to the United Nations. Together, we’re sending a loud, clear message to the rest of the world: regardless of what’s happening in Washington, we’re in this fight with you.”

All told, since leaving his role as Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg has spent $500 million combating climate change through a range of efforts, including the creation of the America’s Pledge, C40, and Global Covenant of Mayors coalitions.

Source: Joshua S. Hill via Cleantechnica (2019)