Michael Bloomberg’s charity donated another $64 million to an ambitious campaign aimed at cutting the number of coal-fired plants in the U.S. by two thirds by the year 2020. Last Wednesday, the former New York Mayor announced the pledge to the Beyond Coal campaign, which is run by non-profit Sierra Club, and other organizations fighting the burning of coal, as per VIN News. Bloomberg Philanthropies has already contributed $46 million to Beyond Coal since 2011, bringing the total donation to $110 million.
Bloomberg’s announcement came a day after President Donald Trump’s environmental regulator said the administration was moving to undo former president Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would work to lower carbon emissions from coal plants.
Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which has been labeled a “war on coal”, has thus yet been mostly tied up by the courts. Still the initiative has been highly successful, with nearly half of the coal-fired power plants in the U.S., or nearly 260 plants, being shut down since 2011. U.S. coal-fired power plant closures have continued uninterrupted since President Trump took office. Last week, Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy Corp, announced that it will close its Monticello plant in Texas next year. Approximately 10 other plants have announced closures since Trump’s inauguration.
Bloomberg said that the best defense against coal comes from competing power sources, including cheap natural gas, solar, and wind power. He said communities, local governments and companies concerned about public health help as well. “These are the groups that are fighting the war on coal and it’s happening all across America and they are winning,” Bloomberg said at an event at the Sierra Club in Washington.
Meanwhile, the global demand for coal exports is up for the year. The Energy Information Administration, the independent U.S. agency that provides statistics to the Department of Energy, said that U.S. coal exports rose 62 percent from January to July, against the same time frame last year.
By: Ilana Siyance