A long time ago, someone or a business that was wealthy would show it by giving money to museums and orphanages or by traveling the world in custom-built yachts or planes.
It’s possible to hire a boat to pull an enemy submarine from the ocean floor. There might be an Ivy League school of public affairs and government named after you. You could even lock up a bunch of your powerful banker friends on a faraway island off the coast of Georgia and start what we now call the Federal Reserve if you were really determined.
However, these days it’s very popular to save up a lot of money and not use it to help your people or your country. Rich people think about a lot more than that. People who are very wealthy use their money to help people and the Earth.
Take Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Free Report and Amazon (AMZN) – Get Free Report as examples. They both recently promised to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to take carbon out of the air and put it somewhere it can’t be found again.
Michael Bloomberg, a businessman and former mayor of New York City, is the latest billionaire to try to solve the climate problem, which seems impossible to do. He’s putting a huge amount of money on the line to do so.
Bloomberg says he will spend a lot of money to fight coal.
Bloomberg’s charity organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, said on Wednesday that it would pay $500 million to shut down all U.S. coal plants and stop any new natural gas plants from being built.
Bloomberg’s “Beyond Carbon” initiative says it will “turbocharge” environmental success, which may sound like a promise against big business.
The following short points are part of the initiative:
- Get the job done on coal. So far, 372 of the 530 coal plants in the U.S. have been said to retire or close. That’s more than 70% of the country’s coal fleet. This next step will shut down all 530 coal plants in the U.S.
- Half the power of gas plants and stop all new ones from being built.
- Four times as much clean energy in the U.S. Speed up the switch to clean energy to meet the goal of 80% of all electricity production.
It was with great pride that Bloomberg, who is a special envoy to the UN on climate ambition and solutions, announced on Wednesday that Bloomberg Philanthropies had helped close more than 70% of all U.S. coal plants since 2010. This was responsible for more than 80% of all emissions reductions in the U.S. since 2010.
Beyond Carbon will also fund the following organizations as a part of its mission toward progress:
- Hip Hop Caucus
- Sierra Club
- League of Conservation Voters
- Advanced Energy United
- Coalfield Development
Bloomberg is no stranger to controversy. During his time in the public eye, he has backed a number of policies that have caused a lot of disagreement. These include calls to stop smoking, trans fats, polystyrene foam (which is what polystyrene is made of), and sugary drinks in some public places.
Now, it seems the billionaire is more concerned about climate change as a threat to public health than fat or soda.
“This work has helped achieve more than 80 percent of all U.S. emissions reductions since 2010 and plant closures from the campaigns are estimated to have saved 49,900 lives, prevented nearly 77,500 heart attacks, and saved billions in healthcare costs,” Bloomberg Philanthropies writes.
Bloomberg has been a vocal advocate for public health and has spoken out against the tobacco industry for many years. In a 2018 op-ed for The New York Times, he wrote that “tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people each year.” He said that his donation was aimed at “accelerating the decline of the tobacco industry and saving lives.”
Bloomberg’s donation is one of the largest ever made to fight the tobacco industry. It is expected to have a significant impact on tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. The donation will help to fund important research, support advocacy efforts, and expand access to tobacco cessation programs and resources.