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Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces Partnership with Powering Past Coal Alliance to Strengthen Global Efforts to Phase Out Coal

New initiative will support national, regional, and local governments working to reduce reliance on coal power

Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Powering Past Coal Alliance announced a new partnership to develop research and case studies in support of national, regional, and local governments around the world who have committed to or are considering phasing out coal from their energy portfolios.

At the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York City, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg joined the United Kingdom Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry, and Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, to discuss the new partnership.

Coal-fired electricity generation is increasingly uneconomic as the costs of renewable energy continue to decline worldwide. A recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance study found that barely half of U.S. coal plants earned enough revenue last year to cover their operating expenses. Most of these plants remain viable only because they operate in regions where regulators set rates, keeping uneconomic plants open with subsidy payments. Worldwide, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has found that the levelized costs of electricity generated from solar and wind power continue to fall below the costs of coal plants across a growing roster of jurisdictions.

The new partnership announced today between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Powering Past Coal Alliance aims to leverage this analysis and other data to accelerate the global phase-out of coal power by providing global leaders with targeted information that will help strengthen governments’ coal phase-out plans. The organizations will work in tandem to compile and analyze case studies of economies that are transitioning away from coal, identifying techniques, tools, strategies, and tactics that enable earlier retirement of coal-fired plants in a sustainable and economically inclusive way.

“In the U.S., most coal plants lose money and would be shut down if it wasn’t for subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers and other misguided policies – which harm our economy and cause thousands of preventable deaths each year,” said Bloomberg. “Coal power is an outdated technology, and by helping countries phase it out we can save lives, create jobs, and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”

Co-founded by Canada and the United Kingdom in the fall of 2017, the Powering Past Coal Alliance launched at the United Nations’ 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23), in Bonn, Germany. By December 2017, just a month after its launch, the alliance had signed on over 50 diverse countries, regions, and businesses, all who have committed to phasing out coal power in favor of using renewable, clean energy to create new jobs and build stronger, more sustainable economies.

“I’m thrilled the Powering Past Coal Alliance is teaming up with Bloomberg Philanthropies to support and accelerate the global shift away from coal-fired electricity,” said McKenna. “Pollution from coal power is choking cities and causing close to a million premature deaths each year. But today, the world is powering past coal as the costs of pollution and climate change become clear, and as clean electricity sources overtake fossil fuels as the most affordable option. The economy and the environment go together – in fact, the global market for clean energy solutions is worth trillions of dollars, and growing. Shifting to cleaner sources of power is the right choice for Canada’s economy, the planet and our kids.”

“Our new partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies illustrates the mounting global support for an end to dirty coal power, and the growing momentum behind clean energy sources,” said Perry. “The UK leads the world in tackling climate change – we have reduced emissions by more than 40% since 1990. By phasing out traditional coal power, we are not only taking active steps to tackle climate change, we are also protecting the air we breathe by reducing harmful pollution. The Powering Past Coal Alliance sends a clear signal that the time for unabated coal fired electricity has well and truly passed.”

Around the world, countries are recognizing that coal power is not only dangerous to our environment and public health – it is no longer economically viable. The rapid decline of the coal industry, both in the United States and in many Western nations, is a signal to the rest of the world that the future lies in cleaner, more sustainable sources like natural gas and renewables. National and local governments across the globe continue to make commitments to reducing their dependency on coal to advance their economies, create jobs, and strengthen their communities.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ alliance with Powering Past Coal is the latest in a series of efforts by the organization to support the global transition away from coal-fired power to help economies grow while reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change. Founded by former New York City Mayor and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies is leading various climate-related projects, including the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, which has seen the retirement of 50% of U.S. coal plants since Bloomberg’s initial involvement just six years ago. The documentary film From the Ashes, released last year and produced in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, details the harmful impacts of the coal industry on America’s health, economy, and environment and ongoing efforts to help former-coal dependent communities adapt to a renewable energy economy.

As further evidence mounts in support of a rapid, worldwide coal phase out, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Powering Past Coal Alliance aim to inspire new efforts and innovations to advance the phase-out of coal power globally.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 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 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

About Powering Past Coal:
The Powering Past Coal Alliance was launched by Canada and the United Kingdom in the fall of 2017 as a means of gathering government and business leaders from around the world who are committed to reducing their dependency on coal. At its launch at COP23 in November 2017, 27 national, provincial, state, and city governments endorsed the declaration to support the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power. That number rose to over 50 national and regional governments, as well as businesses and organizations, just a month after the launch of the coalition.

Media Contact:
Lee Cochran, lee@bloomberg.org