Disclaimer: This press release originally appeared on Bloomberg.org.
In a commencement address today at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michael R. Bloomberg will launch Beyond Carbon, the largest coordinated campaign to tackle climate change ever undertaken in the United States. With a $500 million investment — the largest ever philanthropic effort to fight the climate crisis — Beyond Carbon will work to put the U.S. on track towards a 100% clean energy economy by working with advocates around the country to build on the leadership and climate progress underway in our states, cities, and communities. Bloomberg and his foundation joined forces with the Sierra Club in 2011 to launch Beyond Coal with the goal of closing at least a third of the country’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.
“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. Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we,” said Mr. Bloomberg. “Beyond Carbon will respond to this crisis with the urgency and ambition that it requires, by taking the fight to the states and turbo-charging current on-the-ground efforts. We will employ the same advocacy, legal, and electoral strategies that have proven so successful in retiring coal-fired power plants — which we have continued to close at the same fast rate under this administration as we did under the previous one – and also in passing gun safety background check laws in states around the country. This campaign will ensure that after the 2020 election, the next Administration inherits a country on its way to a 100 percent clean energy economy.”
As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Bloomberg has become the world’s leading environmentalist through his public and private sector work to fight the growing climate crisis, through both his foundation and personal giving to candidates and campaigns. Building on his climate work, Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon initiative will:
- Win state and local policy changes. Beyond Carbon will work with state and local organizations to pass climate and clean energy policies, including 100% clean energy laws, targets and timetables to phase out climate pollution, and implementation of programs to expand low-carbon transit, speed up the deployment of electric vehicles, get pollution out of buildings, and promote low-carbon manufacturing.
- Grow the climate movement. Beyond Carbon will help to grow the climate movement through partnership at all levels including expanding support for grassroots organizations and frontline communities.
- Double down on Beyond Coal and Beyond Gas. Beyond Carbon will accelerate progress and retire all coal-fired power plants by 2030. Simultaneously and starting now, Beyond Carbon will extend the successful strategies utilized in the Beyond Coal campaign to other fossil fuels, by working to prevent new construction of gas plants.
- Help elect climate champions. Beyond Carbon will work to help elect state and local candidates who are climate champions. Elected representatives willing to lead on climate will drive progress from the local level.
Beyond Carbon is the latest — and biggest — Bloomberg effort to combat the climate crisis. As Mayor of New York City, Bloomberg made New York City a global leader in fighting climate change, setting a national model for ambitious sustainability measures and environmental protection. After leaving City Hall, Bloomberg has spent $500 million to date driving countless climate-related efforts, from creating coalitions and initiatives that facilitate and enable global climate action (America’s Pledge, C40, the Global Covenant of Mayors), to driving the end of coal (Beyond Coal), elevating the global adoption of climate risk disclosure (SASB and the TCFD), combatting overfishing and protecting coral reefs (Vibrant Oceans), and bringing stories of community-led climate action to the public (“Climate of Hope”, “From the Ashes” and “Paris to Pittsburgh”).
“The American people’s concerns about the climate crisis are accelerating — and with reason,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Now more than ever, we need elected officials who will not shy away from or deny the reality of the crises we face, a warming climate foremost among them. We’re lucky to have Mike Bloomberg and his Beyond Carbon initiative working to build momentum as we collectively do the work necessary to preserve our planet for our grandkids and their grandkids. There’s no time to waste.”
“When mayors see a problem, we don’t just sit around — we get to work,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. “Climate change is no different. Hundreds of cities around the country are already working on solutions to the climate crisis. We have the technology to move to a 21st-century, clean energy economy — all we need is the political will to get us there. Thanks to Mike Bloomberg’s continued leadership and his record of success in fostering non-federal climate action, Beyond Carbon will result in success for the country — and the world.”
“Mike’s Beyond Carbon initiative embodies what philanthropists aspire towards: big, innovative ideas that engage diverse communities and people to tackle the most pressing challenges facing the world today,” said William and Flora Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer. “The climate crisis is undoubtedly the most urgent issue of our time, threatening lives and communities worldwide, and with this amazing commitment, one of the largest the world has ever seen, Mike is showing that it’s possible to bring about the change we need at a time when bold action is our only way forward.”
“This is the climate leadership that we require now. We have a warming planet and a White House that is trying to reverse climate progress. Meanwhile, people across the country and around the world are suffering the effects of a climate crisis they know is very real,” said Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen. “The good news is the U.S. climate movement is gaining momentum — and it has a powerful ally in Mike Bloomberg. Mike knows the importance of clean air, clean water, and healthy communities, regardless of zip codes. We’re grateful to be working with him to champion clean energy solutions and the elected leaders who understand it’s time to move beyond carbon.”
To watch Michael Bloomberg deliver the address at MIT’s 2019 Commencement exercises, please tune in to the livestream around 10:30am ET on June 7.
Visit Beyond Carbon to learn more — and to see if your state, territory, or district is working on climate and clean energy policies.
Lee Cochran, Bloomberg