Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who recently entered the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, released a “clean power” plan on Friday that calls for the complete elimination of all coal-fired power plants in the United States by 2030.
In addition, the plant calls for shutting plants powered by natural gas as well, while moving the country towards a goal of 80 percent carbon-free energy production at the end of the next decade.
The “100% clean power plan” would replace the nation’s remaining 251 coal plants with clean electricity and stop the construction of new gas plants to achieve the 80 percent carbon-free level by 2028.
Like most other Democrats vying for the party’s presidential nomination, Bloomberg is promising= to fully decarbonize the U.S. economy by the year 2050.
He wants to get halfway to that goal by 2030, cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by then.
“We’ve proven that you can transition to clean energy and strengthen the economy at the same time,” said Bloomberg, a climate change philanthropist. “As president, I’ll accelerate our transition to a 100% clean energy economy.”
The Bloomberg plan looks very similar to a Sierra Club campaign he financed to eliminate coal-fired plants by 2030 and begin to shutter natural gas and oil as well.
The organizatio’s “Beyond Coal” has helped shut down more than half of the nation’s coal plants since Bloomberg’s first donation in 2011.
Bloomberg gave $500 million to a second phase of the project, “Beyond Carbon,” over the summer.
Market forces are already working to shut down coal-fired plants, but it likely will be more difficult to shutter those powered by natural gas, critics argue.
Natural gas plants emit about half the carbon as coal plants. Those plants supply about 35 percent of U.S. electricity needs, compared with roughly 17 percent from renewable sources and 19 percent from nuclear plants which emit zero carbon.