Michael Bloomberg pledges $500M to have US coal plants shuttered

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will donate $500 million into a campaign aimed at closing all of the nation’s remaining coal plants by 2030, multiple reports released Friday said.

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The billionaire made the investment in the Beyond Carbon initiative, which was created to combat climate change, eliminate coal and put the U.S. on track toward a 100 percent clean energy economy. According to the mayor’s foundation, the initiative marks the largest ever philanthropic effort to combat climate change.

The organization will bypass the federal government and instead seek to pass climate and clean energy policies, as well as back political candidates, at the state and local level.

"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," Bloomberg said.

The billionaire will formally unveil the Beyond Carbon effort later Friday during a commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A spokesperson for Bloomberg told The New York Times that most of the money pledged will be spent over the next three years to fund lobbying efforts and funds to elect politicians that support clean energy.

Since 2010, more than 280 coal plants announced they were shuttering or planning on closing. The campaign’s goal is to shut down 241 coal plants, the final ones in the country, by 2030.

Bloomberg’s foundation has spent several years working with the Sierra Club to seek the closure of the nation’s coal plants.

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Carl Pope, an adviser to Bloomberg, told The New York Times, the effort’s most important goal was to decrease the electricity in states that use a lot, like Texas and Florida.

“If you move those ten states decisively toward 100 percent renewable electricity, that actually means that every major public utility in the United States would have to go clean,” Pope said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.