U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg Answers Secretary General António Guterres’ Call to End New Coal by 2020
Bloomberg Philanthropies Accelerates Its Global Coal Program to Move the World Toward a Coal-Free Future
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg announced his support for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ initiative to stop the development of new coal-fired power plants after 2020.
Bloomberg’s announcement comes as a global coalition of government, business, science and community leaders reaffirms the necessity of phasing out fossil fuel use. The science is clear: without drastically decreasing the world’s dependence on coal, humanity will be unable to stop the warming of the planet before it reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius, the benchmark for the point of no return from global crisis.
“Ending coal use would be an enormous step forward in the fight against climate change and a huge victory for public health. We’re making progress – including in the U.S., where our foundation and the Sierra Club have teamed up to close more than half of all coal plants, and in Europe, where we’ve helped close some of the continent’s most polluting coal plants and encouraged more countries to commit to phasing out coal completely,” said Bloomberg. “We have to move faster, and we have a lot of work ahead of us – but there’s nothing we can’t achieve if all sectors of society work together. The Secretary-General has been a forceful advocate for ending coal use, and our foundation is glad to be working together with him and his team to reach that goal.”
“Special Envoy Bloomberg has been an invaluable ally and leader in the fight against climate change,” said Secretary General Guterres. “I thank him for his important pledge to take ever more action on behalf of us and our world to put a stop to the construction of coal-fired power plants. His ongoing support brings the new energy and expertise we need for this critical task.”
Using proven strategies and learnings, Bloomberg Philanthropies will help make the Secretary General’s call for no new coal by 2020 a reality through a three-pillared approach: 1) leveraging diplomatic channels, 2) supporting on-the-ground initiatives in key countries, and 3) building capacity in developing countries to develop viable clean energy alternatives instead of coal.
Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies have long supported efforts both globally and domestically to phase out coal and propel the transition to renewable energy, including working closely with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in the United States, as well as with similar programs in Europe and around the world to spur the shutdown of hundreds of coal-fired power plants. Thanks to these efforts, more than half of all U.S. coal plants have closed and the country now generates more energy from renewable sources than from coal. In Europe, 64 coal plants have already been shuttered. Earlier this year, Bloomberg launched Beyond Carbon, a $500 million initiative and the largest ever coordinated effort to tackle the climate crisis in the U.S., to put the country on course to a 100% clean energy economy.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will work closely with developing countries, particularly those who are considering construction of coal-fired power plants, to leapfrog into economic development fueled by clean energy sources. Key indicators point to clean, renewable energy as smart – and essential – investments for the future. A report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) this year found that in two-thirds of the world, wind or solar energy now represent the least expensive option for adding new power-generating capacity.
As part of these efforts, Bloomberg Philanthropies will continue to partner with the UK- and Canada-led Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), and its more than 90 members from national governments, sub-national jurisdictions, and businesses committed to accelerating the global phase-out of unabated coal-fired electricity. Germany and Slovakia are among the two most recent additions to PPCA membership.
“As a country which has almost completely phased coal out from our energy system in pursuit of a cleaner, greener future, this call to action has our full backing,” said Andrea Leadsom, UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. “The UK has shown that transitioning to a cleaner energy system is not only the right thing to do for the planet, but also for the economy – helping to reduce emissions by more than 40% while growing the economy by two thirds since 1990.”
Bloomberg is also calling on private sector actors – particularly utility companies – to leverage their positions in their industries to lead a move away from coal. A recent analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence of 64 of the largest utilities around the world revealed that while utilities worldwide are responding to investor and regulatory concerns over climate change by setting goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, they will fall short of the cuts needed to keep warming in line with the Paris Agreement.
“Utilities have a key role to play in shifting the economy away from fossil fuels and have incentives to take action, because their customers want cheaper, cleaner energy,” said Bloomberg. “Better data helps show which utilities are leading the way, which helps to attract more investment in clean power and drive costs down further and faster.”
As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Mike Bloomberg has become the world’s leading environmentalist through his public and private sector work to fight the growing climate crisis. Through more than $1 billion in climate-forward initiatives, Bloomberg’s expansive environmental work includes efforts to mobilize cities, states, businesses and non-governmental organizations to cut carbon emissions, protect ecosystems and combat climate change.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities 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 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.