INSTITUTE INDEX: Pushing the South past carbon

The Cane Run coal-burning power plant in Louisville, Kentucky, was demolished this month, part of a wave of coal plant closures nationwide and across the South that a new initiative aims to continue. (Image is a still from this LG&E video.)

Date on which Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and the current U.N. secretary-general's special envoy for climate action, announced the Beyond Carbon campaign to accelerate coal-burning power plant retirements and to block natural gas — a powerful driver of the greenhouse effect — from replacing them: 6/7/2019

Amount of his own money Bloomberg pledged to the campaign: $500 million

In 2011, amount Bloomberg committed to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign in an announcement ceremony held outside GenOn's coal-fired power plant in Alexandria, Virginia: $50 million

While it was operating, rank of GenOn's plant among the top polluters in the area: 1

Year in which that plant was permanently shut down: 2012

Of the 530 coal-burning power plants that were operating at the time Beyond Coal was announced, number that have been retired: 290

Number of coal-burning plants still operating in the 13 Southern states, with many of the others converted to natural gas: 73

Date on which LG&E's Cane Run Generating Station in Louisville, Kentucky, became the most recent coal-burning plant to be dismantled in the South: 6/8/2019

Year by which Beyond Carbon aims to retire all remaining coal-burning plants while working to prevent increased reliance on natural gas: 2030

If greenhouse gas emissions were to continue at the current rate, percent of annual gross domestic product that could be lost in some Southern counties by 2080, with the poorest ones hit hardest: up to 20

Potential cost of the combined impacts of climate-related sea level rise and storm surge in the Southeast by 2090: up to $99 billion

To date, number of states nationwide that have adopted renewable energy targets: 34

Number of the 13 Southern states that have done so: 5*

Number of mayors of Southern cities who have joined U.S. Climate Mayors, part of the "America's Pledge" effort led by Bloomberg and former California Gov. Jerry Brown to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement despite President Trump's 2017 withdrawal: 77

Showing the challenges the Beyond Carbon effort faces, date on which the Trump administration replaced the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbing greenhouse gas pollution from coal-burning plants with a much weaker rule: 6/19/2019

Despite President Trump's embrace of fossil fuels, number of coal plants that have closed nationwide since he took office: over 50

* North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

(Click on figure to go to source.)