“Michael Bloomberg’s war on coal” – Politico, 8 April 2015

The fight to bring an end to coal has been raging on for months, and now Michael Bloomberg is attempting to serve the final blow: donating millions of dollars to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, with the aim to close down hundreds of US coal plants.

First, however, Bloomberg required the Sierra Club to collect data on how his money would be used. He required, for instance, that the organization measure the impact their work would have by mapping out every US coal facility and outlining the facilities’ pollution controls.

The group was successful in collecting data from 45 states. So, in addition to the $50 million he donated in 2011 to the group’s campaign, Bloomberg donated another $110 million, and then donated a supplementary $30 million in early April. So far, the group has secured the shuttering of 188 coal plants. In 2010, these coal plant owners had already planned on closing or re-purposing the plants — the Sierra Club and Bloomberg gave them that extra push. Previously, before Bloomberg’s first donation in 2011, the Sierra Club’s reach was only a mere 15 states.

Bloomberg’s pledge to stop coal has had a profound effect on the industry, wiping out jobs and prompting higher electricity costs. Before, the campaign’s set goal was to shutter a third of US coal plants by 2020. With the extra money, the campaign has presented a new goal: to cut US coal plants in half by 2017.

While Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, we became familiar with his passion for bettering health, spearheading many crusades against guns, sodas, and tobacco. According to Bloomberg, the 188 shuttered coal plants means that there will be 7,500 less heart attacks and 80,000 less asthma attacks in 2015.

Bloomberg has taken his fight against coal a further step by giving $24 million to aid states in developing low-carbon solutions to meet the Obama administration’s power plant regulations.

The Sierra Club doesn’t get all the credit for closing those 188 coal plants. The US’s lower natural gas price is effecting the coal industry, as well as the EPA’s mercury rule, which first became enforced in April 2015 for existing power plants. There are a lot of organizations — both governmental and private — working multiple angles to stop any gains coal might make.

Having said that, coal — the world’s most abundant energy source — will always have an optimum role to play in the global generation of electricity and steel production for a foreseeable future.

(From Politico)

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 17, 2015

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“Greens: Climate march shatters record” – Politico, 21 September 2014

Recently, Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the fight against climate change to promote clean and renewable energies. Last week, he addressed the UN Climate Summit after participating in a climate march that brought almost 400,000 people to the streets of New York. Al Gore, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, New York Major Bill de Blasio, scientist Jane Goodall, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and former Ohio Democratice Rep. Dennis Kucinich joined Leonardo DiCaprio at the protest.

While 350.org — the climate activist group that pounced on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and shined a light on the repercussions the pipeline will have on the environment — launched the march, over 1,500 environmental groups coordinated the march, expecting only 100,000 protestors to be in attendance. However, the turnout exceeded their expectations four-fold, to the tune of almost 400,000 people; the march was the biggest climate-related protest to ever take place. The organizing environmental groups chartered almost 500 buses to bring people to New York. London, Berlin, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Melbourne, Australia also staged protests that day. None were as big as New York.

Protestors marched along Central Park West from 59th Street to 86th Street, waving flags, banging on drums, and holding signs that read, “No More Climate Change” and “Climate Action Now.”

The march was intended to bring more attention to the worsening effects of climate change — protestors, activists, and environmental groups feel like the issue hasn’t been getting enough press or enough attention from the federal government.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

September 24, 2014

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