Michael Bloomberg has always wielded his power as mayor of New York to fight climate change, but now he's putting his personal fortune where his mouth is.

In a gift that represents a substantial portion of the organization's $80 million annual budget, he's granting the Sierra Club $50 million over the next four years specifically to fund their Beyond Coal campaign. The gift will allow the nonprofit to hire 100 new people for the project, doubling the number of employees working on the campaign. New hires will include everyone from lawyers to social networking experts.

The industry's predictably hilarious response:

Coal is American. It’s affordable. It adds to our quality of life.

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They’re not wrong, in a sense; being indirectly responsible for the death and repression of millions through decades of support for third world dictators is also pretty American. But just waving a flag doesn’t really address any of the Sierra Club’s — or Mayor Bloomberg’s — objections to coal.

For most of us, this new endowment probably means we'll be seeing more of those punch-you-in-the-gut ads that highlight the health effects of coal burning on children.

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