Bloomberg Gives $50 Million To Sierra Club’s Anti-Coal Campaign

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that his main charitable organization will give $50 million over the next four years to the Sierra Club to expand the group’s campaign to retire coal-burning power plants and replace them with renewable energy. Appearing with Sierra Club President Michael Brune near a coal plant in Virginia, Bloomberg said the gift would help the organization’s Beyond Coal Campaign retire as many as a third of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants by 2020. Brune said the Sierra Club, which claims to have stopped construction of more than 150 new coal-fired power plants in recent years, will use the Bloomberg Philanthropies money to expand its anti-coal initiative from 15 to 45 states and to increase the staff of the Beyond Coal Campaign from 100 to 200 full-time employees. Calling pollution from coal a “self-inflicted health risk,” Bloomberg said, “If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the U.S., we have to get serious about coal.” Brune said the expansion of the club’s anti-coal campaign reflected the reality that the fight to slow CO2 emissions and reduce dependency on coal had moved from the federal level, where little action has been taken, to the local level.