Michael R. Bloomberg Commits $50 Million to International Effort to Move Beyond Coal, Reinforcing Leadership on Global Climate Action
Latest grant will help ongoing work to reduce global coal dependency and increase shift to renewable energy sources worldwide
New York, NY — Just after announcing a renewed commitment of $64 million to the Beyond Coal campaign in the United States and during this year’s UN Climate Conference COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, announced a $50 million commitment to partners worldwide to catalyze a global effort to move nations away from coal dependence. European Climate Foundation will be the leading partner in Europe. Bloomberg’s announcement marks his first investment in efforts outside the U.S. to decrease reliance on coal and shift to renewable, cleaner energy sources. In the U.S., Bloomberg’s efforts to move away from coal have spurred the closing of more than 50% of the United States’ coal plants since 2011.
Bloomberg’s commitment highlights the importance of addressing coal dependency as a key target in the global fight against climate change, as coal plant emissions are one of the largest contributors to climate change and responsible for a quarter of the world’s air pollution. While the world is beginning to move away from coal with 23 countries, states and cities having either phased out coal-fired power plants or set a timeline to do so by 2030, this positive momentum is not yet fast enough to address the climate and health crisis. The European Union as a whole still generates more than 21% of its power from coal, with Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom alone making up more than half of the coal power plant capacity in the EU. Despite the introduction of new emission limits, pollution from coal plants in the EU is estimated to lead to approximately 20,000 premature deaths each year and many tens of thousands of cases of respiratory illness.
“The Beyond Coal campaign has helped make the U.S. the world leader in reducing carbon emissions and will bring us 60 percent of the way to our Paris Agreement goal,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. “By helping civil society to scale up this work internationally, we can help other countries reach and exceed their climate goals and reduce the amount of death and disease caused by coal plants. A growing number of European countries have made plans to go 100 percent coal-free, which sets a great example for the rest of the world – but coal still kills around 20,000 people in the EU each year. This initiative will help to speed progress – and save many lives.”
“Europe still relies significantly on coal for power generation. But the rapid pace of development in cheap renewables offers a great opportunity for Europe to shift rapidly to clean energy – giving cleaner air to Europe’s citizens and helping to deliver on a safer climate. Of course, the transition must be well-managed, and ECF will be working to support a just transition and brighter economic future for those regions which are currently coal dependent,” said Laurence Tubiana, President and CEO of the European Climate Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies given their record of success in supporting climate change efforts in the United States. Together, we can help change the course of history and drive Europe’s shift to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous future.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with the ECF, will support the ongoing efforts of organizations across Europe to achieve cleaner air and a safer climate by reducing dependence on coal for power generation, to accelerate Europe’s transition to coal-free energy, and to secure a just transition and a brighter future for those communities and regions that are currently dependent on coal. The project will launch initially in Europe and expand into other countries later on.
As renewable energy becomes cheaper and subsidies for coal exploration and power become scarce, the cost of maintaining and building coal power increases and coal becomes an even more marginal resource. Clean energy innovations have provided an avenue to replace coal with sources that are sustainable while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions. A growing number of actors across the EU have already committed to reducing or phasing out coal altogether. Recently, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and the city of Berlin have pledged to phase out coal by 2030 or sooner.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.