We’re Moving Beyond Carbon Entirely, in Partnership With Bloomberg Philanthropies

Today Michael Bloomberg announced his biggest commitment ever to meet the climate crisis, a move that will supercharge the work of the Sierra Club and many sister organizations. We're excited to continue our partnership with Bloomberg and our allies on the game-changing Beyond Carbon initiative they're launching today to phase out coal, stop the fracked gas rush, and power the nation with 100% clean energy.

Working together over the past decade, we’ve made great progress moving America beyond coal. More than half of our country’s coal plants have retired or committed to retire (289 plants to date), we’ve prevented over 7,000 premature deaths per year by reducing air pollution, climate emissions from the power sector have fallen sharply, and we’ve helped usher in the clean energy era.

But the job isn’t done. In fact, we’re just getting started.

Coal is still here and still fouling our air and water. It’s not only harming our health but, because renewable energy is now cheaper than coal, also costing families more money on their electricity bills -- money that could be spent on groceries, school supplies, or home improvements. Coal is still destabilizing our climate and posing a catastrophic threat to future generations. Every day that we delay phasing out coal amplifies those consequences -- more asthma attacks, more heart disease, and more intense temperatures that create deadly droughts and storms.  

We need to move entirely beyond coal in the next decade and do so in a way that supports an economic transition for communities and workers that leaves no one behind. We also need to stop the rush to build the 150 new fracked gas power plants that are on the drawing board and accelerate the shift to 100% clean energy. Thankfully, the people fighting this fight will now have more resources.

On Friday, June 7, in delivering the commencement address at MIT, Michael Bloomberg announced bold new support for an initiative he’s calling “Beyond Carbon.” It will make grants to organizations including the Sierra Club and many other partners. These grants will support work to move our economy from dirty, deadly, and out-dated fossil fuels to 100 percent clean energy.

We’re grateful for this support, and with it we’ll work with allies and partners to advance three goals critical to our climate and public health:

  1. Move the nation beyond coal power by 2030. We’ve been working with Bloomberg and many other partners for a decade to move beyond coal, and one of the goals of Beyond Carbon is to finish the job. We need to get coal completely off-line by 2030, according to the world’s climate scientists. That’s a bold goal, but one we need to achieve to prevent the most catastrophic climate change impacts, while also supporting an economic transition for workers and communities.
  2. Stop the rush to gas. About 150 new fracked gas power plants are on the drawing board nationwide, and supporting the ongoing work to stop that gas rush is a focus of the Beyond Carbon initiative. As coal plants retire, we need to move directly to clean energy -- such as wind and solar -- and not build new polluting fracked-gas plants. We will continue the work of stopping dangerous new gas plants and the pipelines that feed them.
  3. Build an economy powered by 100% clean, renewable energy. Our work in the electric sector will create cleaner air, cleaner water, and healthier communities -- and we’ll fight for a just transition to a clean energy economy filled with fair-wage union jobs. Bloomberg plans to support work to advance clean energy policy at the state level, and we’ll be part of that effort.

In short, we plan to build on the success of the Beyond Coal Campaign to accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy. These efforts will help us bring the fight to the states where it matters most. We’re doubling down on the work we’ve been doing for years, because the most important part of the struggle -- the endgame -- is yet to come.

Together, we can build a future with climate justice -- a future where we’ve stopped the worst effects of climate change, where our kids can grow up with cleaner air and water, and where frontline communities don’t bear the terrible costs of the fossil fuel economy.

It’s time to end the coal era, to stop the gas rush in the power sector, and to bring 100% clean energy to all states. This is our shared calling for the next 10 years. Join us!

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