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Columbia Energy Exchange

Beyond Carbon: An Inside Look at the $500M Campaign

With the next U.S. election just 15 months away, advocates of action on climate change are gearing up with fresh plans to address the issue and bring them to the attention of the American electorate. Among the biggest such efforts is the Beyond Carbon campaign launched recently by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable-giving arm of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless talks to Carl Pope, the senior climate advisor to Michael Bloomberg who has played a major role in developing the strategy behind the Beyond Carbon campaign. Bloomberg Philanthropies has put $500 million behind the campaign, which it calls the largest ever effort in the U.S. to fight climate change.

Carl is well known in environmental circles, having led Sierra Club for more than 30 years before stepping down in 2010. He is also a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance and has served on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters and the National Clean Air Coalition. He’s written three books as well, including one in 2017 with Michael Bloomberg called “Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet.”

Bill reached Carl by phone the other day at his office in San Francisco, where he is a Principal Advisor at Inside Straight Strategies.

Among the topics they discuss are the goals of the Beyond Carbon campaign and why Bloomberg and Pope are now targeting natural gas, as well as other fossil fuels, for elimination in order to put the U.S. on a path to a 100% clean-energy economy. 

Bill probes Carl, too, regarding the timing of Beyond Carbon ahead of the 2020 elections, his views on renewable energy and nuclear energy, whether putting a price on carbon makes sense, and how the media is covering climate change.

Of course, with another round of debates for Democratic candidates for president about to take place, Bill also gets Carl’s take on their positions on energy and climate issues.

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