Foreign Policy Blogs

Mike Bloomberg Going Beyond Coal

Good on ya, Mike!  $50 million bucks really means something when it’s being put to good use to phase out coal-fired power plants.  As an old Sierra Club activist, I was very gratified to learn that you had written a stupendous check to support one of the most effective Sierra Club campaigns ever:  Beyond Coal.

You said:  “If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal. Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because while it may seem to be an inexpensive energy source the impact on our environment and the impact on public health is significant.  Coal is a self-inflicted public health risk, polluting the air we breathe, adding mercury to our water, and the leading cause of climate disruption. ”  Bingo!

With your support for a vigorous approach to sustainability in the Big Apple, including congestion pricing (which hasn’t flown here – yet), and putting your shoulder to the wheel for an ever-strengthening alliance of the world’s largest cities to fight climate change, among other good works, you have made a tremendous contribution.  Now you have added material support for a campaign that is critical to the success of our efforts to successfully confront the climate crisis:  taking coal off the map.

Even Betsy Kolbert, who is a superb journalist, hugely effective as an activist because of her hard-hitting writing, but often a pessimist about our prospects and the current drift in American politics, is over the moon.  She says here that you’re showing genuine concern and guts.  True.  Another prominent voice, David Roberts at Grist, calls the announcement a blockbuster.

Mary Ann Hitt, the director of the Beyond Coal campaign, and an extraordinary activist who I had the privilege of interviewing for a big writing project I’ve been pursuing, said:  “We’re already winning in cities across the country. Community by community, people are standing up and saying no to coal, saying that they are ready for the clean energy economy. Now we’re ready to take this campaign to a whole new level.”  The Sierra Club release notes that the $50 million and the new partnership with you will enable the campaign to:

  • Increase the number of Sierra Club campaign states from 15 to 45
  • Increase the active member base from 1.4 million to 2.4 million people
  • Double the size of full-time Sierra Club staff working on the campaign from 100 to 200

Here’s a video of the announcement.  Great work, Mike.  Thanks!




Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change