Sierra Club scores $15m in additional funding to help it kill coal

Chicago, IL, August 19, 2015 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that it will reinvest in the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign with a three year grant totaling $15 million dollars to support its efforts to retire or transition to cleaner energy half of American’s coal plants by 2017.

The grant comes after an eventful summer for Beyond Coal, having successfully retired the 200th plant in July and the announcement of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which will further bolster the campaign’s efforts by placing the first carbon emissions standards on coal-plants nationwide.

The grant comes as part of a $50 million-dollar effort to address global climate change in the U.S. as well as fostering international cooperation to address the climate crisis. After ensuring the U.S. can lead the world in addressing climate change by “building and sustaining” U.S. leadership, MacArthur will extend its efforts in countries key to addressing the climate crisis, such as China and India.

“Climate change, and its global disruption, threatens to undermine virtually everything we care about as human beings, from quality of life to the economy, from poverty to peace and security,” said MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch. “Global climate disruption will have a profoundly negative impact on how humans live and work. That’s why we need effective international leadership and cooperation that bring about sufficient and measurable results.”

“Since beginning its conservation work almost forty years ago, the MacArthur Foundation has supported some of the most successful efforts around the world, from Madagascar to here in the United States,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “The Sierra Club is proud to count on the support and trust of the MacArthur Foundation in pursuing our efforts to tackle global climate change and a shared ethos in stewardship of our planet.”

“In just five years the Beyond Coal campaign has helped retire or transition to cleaner energy nearly 40 percent of American’s coal plants preventing 6,000 heart attacks, 60,000 asthma attacks and 3,600 deaths each year,” said Bruce Nilles, Beyond Coal’s Senior Campaign Director. “We are proud that the MacArthur Foundation has chosen to place its trust in the Sierra Club to move America beyond coal and into a 100 percent clean energy future.

MacArthur’s grant is in addition to support for the campaign from other donors, including the $80 million pledged by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and will support Beyond Coal’s efforts to replace retired and retiring coal plants with clean energy solutions like wind and solar. With this historic progress in reducing the carbon emissions of the nation, U.S. leaders will be in a strong position to lead in international climate negotiations like the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris this fall.