Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bloomberg Philanthropies Donates $30M to Transition From Coal to Clean Energy

Energy

I like numbers, especially when they tell a story or prove a point. For instance, when I say the New York Yankees are baseball's winningest team (Red Sox fans, stay with me), I can back that up with 27 World Series titles and the most Hall of Fame inductees. But when I say it makes no sense to burn coal for electricity, I've got even more impressive stats.

The Clean Air Task Force estimated that in 2010, coal-fired power plants contributed to 13,200 premature deaths, as well as 20,400 heart attacks and 217,600 asthma attacks. Those numbers make a powerful case by themselves, but there's yet another persuasive reason to replace coal with cleaner energy sources: It's the fastest and easiest way to slash the carbon pollution that is changing our climate.

Michael Bloomberg knows a thing or two about numbers, too, and he certainly understands the implications of the ones I just cited about coal power. That's why, almost four years ago, Bloomberg Philanthropies gave the Sierra Club $50 million for the purpose of moving beyond coal and accelerating the transition to cleaner, cost-effective energy sources. Today I am thrilled and honored to announce that this support will be increased by an additional $30 million.

Back in 2011, the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign had already emerged as force to be reckoned with, but our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies allowed us to take it to an entirely new level. We had already begun to shift our focus from successfully opposing new coal plants to retiring old ones. We now expanded the campaign from 15 states to 45, and we set a goal of reducing coal capacity by one-third—by retiring the oldest and dirtiest power plants.

We now have 187 coal plants retired or scheduled to be retired, and we're way ahead of schedule. Nearly 78 gigawatts (that's 23 percent) of coal capacity have or will come offline, while over the same period we've added 46 gigawatts of clean energy from wind, solar, and geothermal. That's cause for celebration, but it's also a sign that we can set our sights even higher than we did in 2011. Now, with the help of this additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we're doing exactly that. Our new goal: By the end of this decade, and locked in by the end of 2017, we can cut our coal use in half.

OK, that's a lot of numbers, even for me.  So what do they really mean?

  • They mean that thousands more lives will be saved, and that many thousands fewer people will get sick from air pollution, mercury poisoning, or contaminated water.
  • They mean we'll have more opportunities to replace dirty coal power with clean, renewable energy and to help transition energy workers to the new 21st-century clean-energy economy.
  • They mean that we can organize even broader and more powerful coalitions and an even stronger coast-to-coast grassroots movement to demand climate action and an end to unchecked pollution.
  • They mean that the United States will be in an even stronger position to drive ambitious climate action at the 2015 United Nations climate change conference in Paris.

Over the past few years, thanks in large part to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Sierra Club has been able to field an incredible team with an amazing track record. And the best part? As we succeed and move our nation beyond coal, the victory belongs to every single American, and the whole planet benefits. Now that's a winning season.

Learn more here:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Mountaintop Removal: It’s Time to Bring This American Tragedy to an End

Clever Interactive Video Encourages Americans to Join Renewable Energy Revolution

Become a Climate Reality Leader: Share the Truth About Climate Change and Inspire Action

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Deserted view of NH24 near Akshardham Temple on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on April 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India is home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, but recently air pollution levels have started to drop dramatically as the second-most populated nation endures the second week of a 21-day lockdown amidst coronavirus fears, according to The Weather Channel.

Read More Show Less
A Unicef social mobilizer uses a speaker as she carries out public health awareness to prevent the spread and detect the symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus by UNICEF at Mangateen IDP camp in Juba, South Sudan on April 2. ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP / Getty Images

By Eddie Ndopu

  • South Africa is ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
  • Its townships are typical of high-density neighbourhoods across the continent where self-isolation will be extremely challenging.
  • The failure to eradicate extreme poverty is a threat beyond the countries in question.
Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md. on Nov. 9, 2015. Al Drago / CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two malarial drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, despite only anecdotal evidence that either is proven effective in treating or slowing the progression of the disease in seriously ill patients.

Read More Show Less
Some speculate that the dissemination of the Antarctic beeches or Nothofagus moorei (seen above in Australia) dates to the time when Antarctica, Australia and South America were connected. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

A team of scientists drilled into the ground near the South Pole to discover forest and fossils from the Cretaceous nearly 90 million years ago, which is the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
The recovery of elephant seals is one of the "signs of hope" that scientists say show the oceans can recover swiftly if we let them. NOAA / CC BY 2.0

The challenges facing the world's oceans are well known: plastic pollution could crowd out fish by 2050, and the climate crisis could wipe out coral reefs by 2100.

Read More Show Less