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Michael Bloomberg pledges $500M to shutter U.S. coal plants

By Darryl Coote
Michael Bloomberg pledges $500M to shutter U.S. coal plants
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged $500 million to shutter the United State's coal plants. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday will launch what he calls the largest ever coordinated campaign to beat climate change, which will close all U.S. coal plants by 2030.

Bloomberg said the $500 million program, Beyond Carbon, will put the United States on track toward a 100 percent clean energy economy by working with advocates to "build on leadership and climate progress already underway."

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Bloomberg and his foundation joined with the Sierra Club in 2011 to launch Beyond Coal with the goal of closing at least a third of U.S. coal plants.

"With 289 of 530 closed to date -- more than half the country's coal fleet -- Beyond Carbon will aim to close the rest by 2030 and stop the rush to build new gas plants," Bloomberg Philanthropies said in a statement Friday.

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The program aims to transition the United States to 100 percent renewable energy and "ensure that after the 2020 election, the next administration inherits a country already well on the way to a full clean energy economy," it said.

"We're in a race against time with climate change, and yet there is virtually no hope of bold federal action on this issue for at least another two years," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we."

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Bloomberg will formally announce the plan Friday during his commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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There are 241 coal plants operating in the United States, though 289 plants have closed since 2010, according to the Sierra Club.

President Donald Trump has positioned coal as a key pillar in his energy agenda. However, since taking office, some 50 plants have closed with another 51 announcing that they would also be shuttered, the Sierra Club said in May.

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