One day after the Trump Administration formally announced its plans to rescind the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s climate change policy that has been held up in federal court, Michael R. Bloomberg announced a new commitment of $64 million to support the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign and other organizations working to advance the U.S. clean energy market at the state and local level.
Pollution from coal-fired power plants is the largest source of carbon emissions and kills 7,500 Americans annually, down from 13,000 when the Beyond Coal campaign began expanding in 2011 through support from Bloomberg.
To date, Bloomberg has invested over $100 million in protecting the environment and public health through its support of the Beyond Coal campaign. Since 2011, when Bloomberg Philanthropies first partnered with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, nearly 50% of the country’s coal-fired power plants have announced their retirement, and deaths related to coal pollution have decreased by 42%.
The new round of funding aims to maintain progress in the face of proposed federal rollbacks of public health and environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, which would have set carbon pollution standards for power plants.
“The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington — and Washington cannot end it,” said Bloomberg. “It was started and continues to be led by communities in both red and blue states who are tired of having their air and water poisoned when there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives available, cities and states that are determined to clean their air and reduce their costs, and businesses seeking to lower their energy bills while also doing their part for the climate.”
He added: “Without any federal regulations on carbon emissions, those groups have combined with market forces to close half the nation’s coal-fired power plants over the past six years — and with this new grant, we aim to reach 60% by the end of 2020.”
“Mike Bloomberg’s partnership with the Sierra Club and our more than three million members and supporters has put our country on a path to cleaner air and cleaner water, good-paying clean energy jobs, and healthier communities that are safe from toxic coal pollution,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “Together, we have worked with local grassroots activists and partners in the nation’s most vulnerable communities to secure the retirement of 259 dirty power plants and the promise of a brighter future, putting at the center of our work a transition that leaves no one behind and that demands good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for workers who depended on the fossil fuel economy. All of this and we’re just getting started.”
This summer following President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, Bloomberg launched America’s Pledge with California Governor Jerry Brown. America’s Pledge is a new effort to quantify the climate commitments of U.S. cities, states and businesses and report the aggregate potential of such efforts to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“The League of Conservation Voters, and our network of 29 state affiliates are proud and honored to be part of this fight with Bloomberg Philanthropies and are ready to be an active partner,” said Carol M Browner, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Board Chair of the League of Conservation Voters. “By building victories in different states and on multiple policies, we can demonstrate strong public support for climate action, demonstrate success that others will want to replicate, and drive down the costs of clean energy. Aggressive state and local action to remove the barriers that block a clean energy future can help the US move far closer to our goals.”
The original Bloomberg grants expanded the Sierra Club’s campaign to 45 states from 15, enforcing state and federal environmental laws and helping communities impacted by the clean energy transition to address challenges associated with closing coal plants.
This latest round of funding will support the Sierra Club and other groups that will engage directly with private sector leaders, mayors, governors, legislators, utility commissioners, and local officials to develop, implement, and strengthen policies with broad, bipartisan, support such as air quality standards and rules that enable solar and wind power to compete on a more level playing field. The groups include Advanced Energy Economy, Earthjustice, Energy Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, League of Conservation Voters, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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