Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday he is contributing $64 million towards the fight against coal power plants. The Sierra Club, along with other environmental groups, will benefit from the donation.
According to bloomberg.com, the new funds are intended to support groups working with mayors, governors, utility regulators and private sector leaders to “develop, implement and strengthen policies” that make it easier for solar and wind power to compete, according to a news release. The effort is aimed at closing 60% of the nation’s coal-fired power plants by the end of 2020.
The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign has helped drive the closing or announced retirement of 259 U.S. coal plants since the effort began in 2010. The initiative has aided in galvanizing grassroots opposition to coal-fired power, and has worked out settlements with state regulators and utility owners to shutter the plants.
The move by Bloomberg comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s announcement that it will begin an appeal of Obama-era curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from coal power plants. The administration announced Tuesday that it wants to repeal the previous administration’s prized environmental policy: the Clean Power Plan, which mandates 32% cuts in CO2 emissions by 2030. That effort could begin as early as this week.
Bloomberg has long been a proponent of energy and environmental initiatives. During his mayoral departure in 2014, he issued a challenge to the owners of multifamily buildings to reduce energy use. While in office, his policies focused on one of the most effective ways a city can reduce its carbon pollution: tackling its buildings. In most cities, energy used in buildings is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions; in New York City, buildings are responsible for nearly 75% of emissions. Multifamily buildings make up the largest chunk of the city’s building stock: 76% of the total number of buildings; 65% of gross floor area; 50% of the energy used; 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.