CHARLESTON — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Gov. Jim Justice both spoke out in opposition of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Beyond Carbon Initiative.
The campaign will work to get the country using 100 percent clean energy by shutting down every single coal-fired power plant by 2030.
Bloomberg put $500 million toward the campaign last week. A spokesperson told The New York Times that the campaign expects to spend the money over the next three years.
"I disagree with Mayor Bloomberg's position," Manchin said. "This pledge to shut down U.S. coal plants by 2030 will only serve to hurt coal miners and their families, as well as further devastate West Virginia communities that are suffering from the downturn in coal production and does nothing to address the global nature of the climate crisis."
Manchin said the International Energy Agency predicts that under current policy scenarios China and India will continue to use coal-fired generation for up to 51 percent and 57 percent of their power, respectively, through 2040.
"The average age of a coal plant in Asia is 12 years—these plants are very new," Manchin said. "While these nations are making strides to reduce emissions, their reliance on fossil fuels is not ending anytime soon."
Manchin said to truly combat global climate change, the country must lead in seeking innovative technological solutions that focus on carbon capture and other technologies reflective of reality.
"I would hope that Mayor Bloomberg would choose to apply the same amount of energy and money into global climate solutions that help all Americans and the world, such as new carbon capture utilization and sequestration technologies," Manchin said.
Manchin spoke on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning, questioning why Bloomberg wanted to take away from the people of his state who have "answered the call for this great country so many times."
"I told Mayor Bloomberg, why don't you use that $500 million to respect the dignity of the work these miners have done?" Manchin said on the show. "Help us get the pension plan I can get Mitch McConnell to move off of, give them the pension plan they've earned."
Justice called Bloomberg's campaign shirt-sighted and nonsensical and said if it was successful, it would have a "calamitous impact on West Virginia and American workers."
"The U.S. continues to make dramatic reductions in carbon output and the vast majority of the greenhouse gas generation is coming from abroad, chiefly in the Pacific Rim countries," Justice said. "For crying out loud, if Bloomberg wants to make a positive impact, he should focus his efforts in Asia and get those countries to bring their carbon output in line with America's."
Justice said West Virginia is an "all-in" energy state.
"We mine coal, produce natural gas and we have a growing renewable portfolio," Justice said. "These industries provide life-sustaining jobs and have made our economy one of the fastest growing in the country."
Justice said Bloomberg, as well as the Sierra Club, have declared war on the American worker.
"If this campaign is successful, massive numbers of West Virginians will lose their livelihoods and the U.S. economy will suffer greatly," Justice said. "And all of this for extremely minor global reductions of emissions. I stand with our state's hundred of thousands of energy, oil/gas, coal, pipeline and utility workers and their families and challenge anyone anywhere who threatens to remove their livelihoods."