Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is throwing his weight behind White House calls to end the U.S. coal economy by calling for an outright ban on coal-fired electrical power.
Bloomberg, interviewed by NPR in his new role as an envoy to the United Nations, said putting coal out of business is the single most effective way of cleaning up the planet.
“The biggest thing you can do in this country is to close coal-fired power plants. They generate a third of all of the emissions,” said Bloomberg. “And the Sierra Club has been very successful in preventing new coal-fired plants from opening. And thanks to their efforts and the lower cost price of natural gas, a lot of old power plants have been closed. And you can see it,” Bloomberg said. “And the Sierra Club has been very successful in preventing new coal-fired plants from opening. And thanks to their efforts and the lower cost price of natural gas, a lot of old power plants have been closed. And you can see it.”
In other words, availability of natural gas has reached the tipping point necessary to entirely obviate coal — which, depending on whom you ask, generates between 37 percent and 44 percent of all electrical power in the U.S. — as an inexpensive, abundant and accessible source for a Nation whose power grid was largely constructed to take advantage of native resources.
Coal remains our single biggest natural resource for the production of electrical power. Yet Bloomberg believes the U.S. can replace coal in one fell swoop without missing a beat — even though his idea of wholesale conversion involves retrofitting what’s already here, one structure at a time.
“[W]e’ve got buildings to convert from heavy fuel oil to natural gas so that cuts the pollutions [does he mean pollutants?] in the air. And this translates right now into your life expectancy,” he said.