Bloomberg pledges $50m to help Europe bin coal

Michael Bloomberg has earmarked $50m for the international effort against coal dependency. [lev radin / Shutterstock]

US billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg has promised $50m to the international effort to scrap coal power, following a similar domestic campaign that has seen 50% of American coal plants close since 2011.

Fresh from announcing at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn a renewed commitment of $64m to the domestic Beyond Coal campaign, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg has pledged $50m to kick start an international effort to end coal dependency.

Marking his first investment in efforts outside the US to move away from coal and embrace clean, renewable energy, the former New York mayor’s grant will be used to boost ongoing work and projects.

The European Climate Foundation will be the leading partner for the campaign in Europe, a continent which still generates more than 21% of its power from coal, although a number of countries and cities have recently put a deadline on phasing out the fossil fuel, including Italy and Berlin.

Italy eyes a coal-free future with new energy strategy

Italy plans to phase out coal power plants by 2025, the country’s industry minister said during a presentation of a new energy strategy on Tuesday (24 October), joining a growing trend of moving away from coal in the EU.

Bloomberg said in a statement that “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”.

The billionaire activist added that the Beyond Coal US campaign “has helped make the US the world leader in reducing carbon emissions and will bring us 60% of the way to our Paris Agreement goal”.

Since its launch in 2010, Beyond Coal has scored a number of victories across the Atlantic, including the closure or planned retirement of 265 “dirty power plants” and the installation of over 85GWs of clean energy.

China eclipses Europe as 2020 solar power target is smashed

China has reached its 2020 solar power target three years ahead of schedule, after installed capacity topped well over its 105GW target. Europe has been urged to show similar ambition.

‘We’ll always have Paris…’

American civil society, states and cities may be doing their part for climate action but at a federal government level, Washington is still on a course to withdraw from the Paris deal after President Donald Trump pulled the plug in June.

At the Bonn climate conference, which kicked off this week and will go on until 17 November, the US government has no pavilion among its international partners. Instead, a rival delegation of governors and mayors has set up their own ‘We Are Still In’ pavilion.

Although the terms of the agreement mean the US will remain a full signatory until 2020, by which time Trump may either have been re-elected or replaced as president by another candidate, every UN member is now a party to the deal after Nicaragua and Syria both decided to join.

Trump told that Paris Agreement is ‘irreversible and non-negotiable’

The terms of the Paris Agreement are set in stone, the EU, China and Canada agreed at a summit in Montreal this weekend, while Washington was forced to deny that the US is planning to stay in the accord.