Stopping Coal and Air Pollution Globally
Coal remains the world’s single largest source of carbon pollution, presenting a major threat to our health, our economy, and our planet. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nine out of ten people worldwide breathe dirty air, and the World Bank has estimated that the economic burden of air pollution costs the global economy trillions of dollars. According to scientists, if we want to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we must end our reliance on coal globally by 2050 or sooner.
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Coal and Air Pollution program works to stop the use of coal in key geographies around the world, with the mission of reducing emissions, protecting public health, and halting the progression of climate change. The efforts build on the success of the U.S. Beyond Coal campaign, which has retired more than 70% of all coal plants in the U.S. through grassroots advocacy and litigation.
Since 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies has worked in partnership with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations to retire coal plants through the U.S. Beyond Coal campaign. Cited as perhaps the most successful effort in the history of the environmental movement, U.S. Beyond Coal harnesses the power of grassroots advocacy and litigation to take on the coal industry. As of 2023, U.S. Beyond Coal has helped retire more than 70% of all coal plants nationwide. The campaign laid the foundation for Bloomberg Philanthropies’ launch of Beyond Carbon, which takes the effort one step further to end dependence on all fossil fuels.
Following the success of the U.S. Beyond Coal campaign, Bloomberg Philanthropies worked with partners around the world in launching similar campaigns which are successfully leading to coal plant retirements in Europe, Australia, South Korea, and Japan. These grassroots campaigns are focused on retiring coal plants and driving the transition to clean energy.
Air pollution is a major threat to public health around the world. The burning of fossil fuels is a primary contributor to poor air quality, creating and exacerbating respiratory conditions and other health concerns that impact the daily lives of millions of people worldwide. Bloomberg Philanthropies has launched the world’s most ambitious clean air effort that aims to improve air quality through support for pilot projects in cities, as well as partnerships with national governments and organizations. Using data gathered through innovative new technologies, the program works to identify the sources of air pollution, educate communities on the impact of low air quality, and develop science-backed solutions to better manage air quality.
Top photo: Beyond Coal volunteers rally in Los Angeles, California. Photo credit: Sierra Club