Former mayor of New York City, billionaire Michael Bloomberg has pledged to shut down coal mines in 25 countries.
The announcement comes only days after the start of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where the matter of phasing out coal as one of the leading drivers of climate change will be a key issue.
Bloomberg is a special envoy for climate ambition to the United Nations and in 2020, his presidential bid was strongly focused on climate change. He has been working on shutting coal plants in the US for the past decade and even allocated $500 million for the cause in 2019.
The billionaire’s efforts have, in fact, been linked to the retirement of some 280 coal plants in the country.
In his most recent announcement, Bloomberg referred to coal as the number 1 enemy in the battle with the global climate crisis due to it being responsible for a third of all CO2 emissions.
Hence, his new initiative is aimed at closing 25% or exactly 2,445 of the world’s coal plants by 2025 and preventing new ones from being built.
According to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Michael Bloomberg currently spends around $150 million every year on his efforts to close down coal plants in different parts of the world. And they are very much in line with the United Nations secretary general’s, António Guterres, vision for the future.
Guterres has called to completely phase out coal by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 in the rest of the world. And while at the Group of 20 summit in Rome on Sunday an agreement was reached to cease financing coal power plants overseas by the end of 2021, there was no mention of ending domestic coal use.
China, Russia, India and Australia were among the countries most opposed to the set target date.
In fact, China intends to increase its coal power by 21% compared to end-2019 numbers. And Antonios Papaspiropoulos, a spokesman for the World Coal Association, defended coal as a vital energy source ‘for hundreds of millions of people across the world’.