Mother Nature isn’t waiting on our political Calendar
A unique campaign by the name Beyond Carbon launched by current UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, aims to close every U.S. coal-fired power plant by 2030 and halting the construction of any new natural gas plants. The former New York city mayor also committed to invest $500 million, in what is being hailed as the “largest ever philanthropic effort to fight the climate crisis.”
This announcement comes just a month after the American businessman committed $5.5 million to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat to make up for the “funding gap left by the failures of the current Trump administration.”
An earlier campaign called Beyond Coal, launched by the Bloomberg Foundation and the Sierra Club in 2011 had a goal of closing at least one-third of the United State’s coal fired power plants. Beyond Carbon aims to follow on from the work done by the Beyond Coal campaign.
Michael Bloomberg, made the announcement while speaking to students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and said, “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.”
Eight years into the Beyond Coal campaign and reportedly, 289 of the country’s 530 coal-fired power plants have been closed- more than half of the US fleet. Beyond Carbon aims to close the rest and halt the rush to build new power plants fuelled by natural gas.
A Bloomberg spokesperson told The New York Times that the new campaign will direct its funding towards environmental groups’ lobbying efforts in state legislatures, city councils and public utility commissions, as well as to elect politicians with pro-clean energy policies.
It is believed that the campaign’s goals exceed “even the most aggressive clean energy and zero-carbon mandates” set by states such Huawei, California, New York and others. However, it’s unclear how the push will affect either the coal industry or the current plans in much of the country to rely on natural gas fired electricity.
Bloomberg also added, “Politicians keep making promises in about climate change mitigation by 2050- hypocritically, after they are long gone, and no one can hold them accountable.”
Trump administration’s backing of coal industry is well known and reportedly the administration has attempted to use the authority of Department of Energy tp push federal regulators to provide out-of-market payments to “struggling” coal and nuclear plants.
“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,” said Bloomberg while adding that they will employ the same advocacy, legal, and electoral strategies that have proven successful in retiring coal-fired power plants – which they have continued to close at the same rate under this administration.
Bloomberg also claimed “This campaign will ensure that after the 2020 election, the next Administration inherits a country on its way to a 100 percent clean energy economy.”
The campaign aspires to work with grassroots organisations and frontline communities and will urge governments to pass climate and clean energy policies such as 100% clean energy laws. It will also look to expand low-carbon transit models.
Earlier, Bloomberg has been involved in elevating the global adoption of climate rish disclosure through the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), as well as bringing stories of community-led climate action to light through a book written with Carl Pop entitled Climate of Hope, and two documentaries entitled “From the Ashes” and “Paris to Pittsburgh”.
This initiative has left activists in other countries pondering if their leaders too will show such commitment for clean energy and climate change mitigation.