Michael Bloomberg’s ‘war on coal’ goes global with $50m
The battle to end coal-burning, backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is expanding out of the US and around the world in its bid to reduce the global warming threat posed by the most polluting fossil fuel.
Bloomberg, a UN special envoy on climate change and former mayor of New York City, has funded a $164m campaign in the US since 2010, during which time more than half the nation’s coal-fired power plants have been closed.
Last Thursday, he announced a $50m plan to expand the programme into Europe and then the rest of the world. The money will support grassroots campaigns, research on the health impacts of coal and legal action against coal plants that are breaking pollution rules.
Bloomberg was attending the global climate change summit in Bonn, Germany, where he is leading a group of states, cities and businesses pledging action in the US despite President Donald Trump’s opposition.
Coal burning still accounts for about 20% of all of the European Union’s carbon emissions, with Germany and Poland by far the biggest polluters. Bloomberg’s initiative aims to speed up the phase-out of coal by capitalising on the fast-falling costs of renewable energy alternatives and rising concerns about air pollution.