with childhood asthma and another generation of coal workers wouldn’t have to make a living breathing coal dust.
Bloomberg put $50 million into the effort, and the rest is — helping to make coal — history, thanks to the Sierra Club mobilizing communities and technology making natural gas (when the methane leakage is controlled) a much cleaner, cheaper base-load power source for utilities, and wind and solar energy so much more cost-effective.
When the Sierra Club and Bloomberg started in 2011, there were 514 coal-fired power plants in America; since then, 254 have announced they will shut down. They expect that fully two-thirds will be phased out by 2022 — no matter what Trump says or does.
“Climate of Hope” is about how to build on this, by reframing the interrelated challenges of climate change, clean air, clean water and population “from questions of who is going to sacrifice to who is going to grab the profits,” Bloomberg explained in an interview. Each of these challenges, he said, can be met in ways that enable cities and countries to make themselves more prosperous, innovative, healthy and secure — if we just get the incentives right.
Imagine, added Pope, that every US company joined Anheuser-Busch in committing to getting all of its electricity from renewable sources. Imagine that instead of subsidizing surplus cotton, destroying the livelihoods of small farmers in Africa, the US government subsidized our farmers to grow crops that re- store carbon and store water in their soils, thus drought-proofing Texas and California.
Imagine every US city joining those already buying electric self-driving vehicles, thereby scaling a new auto-on-demand industry — while reducing the need for personal cars and the parking places and garages for them — thereby unlocking so much real estate for growth and easing urban housing prices. Imagine that instead of vowing to bring back coal mining jobs, our president offered to link West Virginia and the nation’s most prosperous metropolitan economy, Washington, D.C., with high-speed rail service.
Imagine … we could actually make America great again, not just prolong a dying coal industry! Now that would be presidential.