Michael Bloomberg’s ‘war on coal’ goes global with $50m

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Damian Car­ring­ton

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.

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