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Bloomberg Philanthropies intensifies global effort to turbocharge clean energy transition in 10 developing countries

Bloomberg Philanthropies intensifies global effort to turbocharge clean energy transition in 10 developing countries

At the Sustainable Energy for All Forum, Michael R. Bloomberg announces $242M investment to help deliver on clean energy potential in Africa and around the world. Announcement follows COP26 commitment to help block all planned coal plants and double down on efforts to close a quarter of the world’s coal capacity by 2025.

Kigali, Rwanda (17 May 2022) – Today at the Sustainable Energy for All Forum, UN Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg announced $242 million to expand Bloomberg Philanthropies’ efforts to accelerate the clean energy transition in developing countries, where power demand is projected to rapidly grow and there is abundant potential for solar, wind, and other renewable energy capacity. In addition to its current energy transition efforts in seven countries and the EU, Bloomberg Philanthropies is developing programs and partnerships in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam. Marking the first phase of his commitment at COP26 in Glasgow to help shutter or cancel a quarter of the world’s coal plant capacity, Bloomberg’s announcement answers United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ urgent call to introduce renewable energy at speed and scale, end coal-fired power, and cease fossil fuel subsidies.

“We’ve seen that it’s possible to increase access to affordable power, improve public health, and fight climate change all at the same time – and to make progress quickly in each area,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’ve already helped close more than two-thirds of U.S coal plants, and more than half of Europe’s, faster than almost anyone thought was possible, while also reaping economic benefits. We have to spread that success around the world, especially in developing countries that have contributed the least to the climate crisis but are facing the most severe effects. This support will help ten countries with enormous clean energy potential seize the opportunity and avoid building new coal plants. Those steps will also help clean their air, create new jobs, grow their economies, and protect communities from harm – and set an example for countries around the world.”

“We need to shift to sustainable energy systems – everywhere,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “The addiction to fossil fuels must end, starting with coal, by 2030 in OECD countries, and 2040 everywhere else. And we must leave no one behind. This important initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies is a critical step towards the global goal of building a sustainable, just and equitable energy future for all.”

Building on Mike’s philanthropic efforts to fight climate change, today’s commitment aims to spur meaningful climate action six months ahead of this year’s African-hosted COP27. African nations, which include six out of the ten fastest-growing countries in the world, are uniquely positioned to turbocharge their economies through investments in clean energy in a way that sets an example for others around the world. In the coming months, Bloomberg Philanthropies will release a series of investments, partnerships, and initiatives to help fulfill Africa’s potential to lead the global energy transition. At the SEforALL Forum, Bloomberg also announced the launch of an Africa-focused initiative within the NetZero Pathfinders platform to identify the challenges in leapfrogging fossil fuels and provide concrete, actionable ways to overcome the obstacles.

“Developing countries need reliable, clean energy access to grow their economies, provide opportunities to their people, and meet the global net-zero by 2050 target,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. “That requires developed countries, whose economies are built on fossil fuels and are responsible for the climate crisis, to help developing countries succeed. SEforALL is pleased to collaborate with Bloomberg Philanthropies to scale climate investments in the developing world, help close the energy gap, and enable a just and equitable energy transition.”

“The Federal Government of Nigeria welcomes and applauds the announcement by Mike Bloomberg to help economies seize the clean-energy opportunity,” said Goddy Jedy Agba OFR, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power. “The effects of climate change are devastating in Nigeria and throughout Africa. In Nigeria, we’re building the roadmap for net-zero carbon emissions by 2060 and this new commitment by Bloomberg Philanthropies underscores the crucial role of climate financing, including for mitigation and adaptation, and technology transfers, to help Nigeria and other African economies grow with a just, inclusive, and affordable clean-energy transition.”

The ten countries of focus represent crucial stepping stones to 1.5 degrees – nations with thriving economies where renewable energy development is critical to stop the rush to coal and other fossil fuels. According to data from Climatescope, the countries account for nearly 100MW of coal power plant capacity and collectively have over 75GW of coal capacity under construction or planned. However, in almost all these markets, wind or solar is the cheapest source of new clean energy generation. Shifting to a green economy will not only reduce emissions and save money, it will create jobs, improve infrastructure, and provide accessible, renewable, and affordable power.

Leveraging the success of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ strategies in the U.S., Europe, and parts of Asia, this broadened effort to advance a just clean energy transition in developing countries will focus on five key pillars:

  1. Data and research: Deliver accurate data and expert analysis to government and financial decision makers to help advance swift, decisive actions that accelerate renewable investments.
  2. Public engagement: Support public awareness and education campaigns that advocate for more clean energy projects.
  3. Policy and diplomacy: Work with countries to implement energy transition policies through advocacy, convenings, and international collaboration.
  4. Clean energy pilot projects: Help develop a pipeline of clean energy projects through technical assistance and trainings that strengthen the capacity for market growth as well as design blended finance vehicles to accelerate pilot clean energy projects in priority countries.
  5. Coal buy-outs: Explore strategies to overcome the legal, financial, and political barriers for coal-fired plants to retire earlier, including research about the positive impacts of coal phase-out and a just transition.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will strengthen relationships and work with key partners – including Sustainable Energy for All (SEForAll), ClimateWorks Foundation, and other leading groups – to expand renewable energy capacity and access, while phasing out coal use, even as overall energy needs continue to grow.

“Today’s announcement from Bloomberg Philanthropies is climate philanthropy at its best – identifying an area of great need and taking immediate, bold action to move at speed and scale to rapidly accelerate the clean energy transition, in a way that benefits both people and the planet,” said Helen Mountford, the President and CEO, ClimateWorks Foundation. “Bloomberg’s commitment will pave the way for public and private sector investments to follow suit, showing the critical role of philanthropy in taking risks and moving swiftly where other sectors cannot. ClimateWorks Foundation is proud to partner with Bloomberg on this vital work to support these countries in unlocking a vibrant, fossil-free future that is better for their people and for the world.”

“ISA is delighted to note the decision of Mike Bloomberg to invest $200 million for accelerating solar, wind and other renewable energy capacity in 10 additional countries,” said Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). “We look forward to working with Bloomberg Philanthropies to rapidly ramp-up solar energy capacity in these countries so that it becomes the cheapest source of electricity when the sun is shining. For other times – in these, and all other countries – we will work with them as we strive to facilitate cost-effective round-the-clock renewable electricity availability through the integration of storage systems with renewable energy facilities.”

“Young people require rapid action on climate change to foster an equitable, prosperous future for us all. Strong commitments like this carve a path for more of the bold action that will be necessary for our generation to live in a climate-safe world with energy access for all,” said Meredith Adler, Executive Director of Student Energy. “We look forward to collaborating further with Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop pathways for young people to become the energy leaders we need to make global climate goals a reality.”

​​Mike’s latest commitment builds on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ proven track record of helping move the world away from coal towards clean, renewable energy. In 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies disrupted climate philanthropy by pledging a first-of-its-kind $50 million to the Beyond Coal campaign. Beating the original goal and timeline by retiring half of the U.S. coal fleet in 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies committed an additional $64 million to help retire close to 70% of U.S. coal plants, leading to 53% reduction in carbon emissions from coal (2011-2020). In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies expanded Beyond Coal’s efforts to Europe with $50 million, which has since helped retire more than half the continent’s coal plants. The success of these campaigns has also inspired the launch of campaigns in Australia, South Korea, and Japan.

In Indonesia, Bloomberg Philanthropies has provided a roadmap for the country to achieve its full solar power potential by 2025 and also partners with Indonesian financial institutions to fund solar projects. In India, Bloomberg Philanthropies has leveraged research, reports, and stakeholder engagement to help put the country on track to meet its ambitious 2030 renewable energy target. Globally, the Bloomberg Global Coal Countdown increases accountability and transparency by tracking the global coal fleet, and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support for the Powering Past Coal Alliance was instrumental in driving the No New Coal Compact from key nations around the world.

For nearly 20 years, Mike Bloomberg has supported philanthropic initiatives across Africa dedicated to improving public health – including malaria prevention, maternal health, road safety, tobacco control, obesity prevention, drowning prevention, and improving health data – as well as women’s economic development, government innovation, and more. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Women’s Economic Development program in Sub-Saharan Africa has since 2007 enrolled over 450,000 women in vocational training programs aimed at helping them achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Maternal and Reproductive Health launched in 2006 focused on improving maternal health in rural Tanzania (the Tanzanian government took over the successful program in 2019) and supports organizations in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Uganda that advocate for better access to family planning and other reproductive health services. The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, launched in South Africa in 2014 to raise the quality of financial journalism in Africa and expand the talent pipeline, has over 560 graduates from across Africa to date. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use’s partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided financial and technical expertise to support tobacco control policies and programs in dozens of African countries. Our Global Road Safety Initiative to help prevent road traffic injuries – the eighth leading cause of death worldwide – has operated in countries including Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ drowning prevention work – drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide – has expanded to Uganda and Ghana. And Freetown, Sierra Leone; Kigali, Rwanda; and Kumasi, Ghana were three of the 15 total winners of the 2021-2022 Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge, a worldwide innovation competition that supports and spreads cities’ most promising ideas.

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

Media contact

Daphne Wang
Bloomberg Philanthropies
daphne@bloomberg.org
+1-646-771-1473

Published May 17, 2022

Media Contact

ClimateWorks Foundation: Jennifer Rigney, jennifer.rigney@climateworks.org