Michael Bloomberg to the rescue on environment

  • Aug. 22, 2017 1:50 p.m.

Dear EarthTalk: Since when did Michael Bloomberg become a great environmentalist?

— Jackie Miller, New York

Michael Bloomberg was primarily known as a financier and media tycoon long before he became one of the most beloved mayors in New York City history. But what most people still don’t know about Bloomberg is he is fast becoming one of the world’s great environmentalists through his work to hasten the transition to renewable energy and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Indeed, working to stave off cataclysmic global warming is nothing new to Bloomberg. In 2005, he represented New York City as a founding member of the C20 Cities Climate Leadership Group (later expanded and renamed “C40”) where the world’s largest cities forged a working agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010, still-Mayor Bloomberg took over as chair of C40 and is credited with spearheading the establishment of measurable benchmarks for success and expanding knowledge-sharing between cities and partner organizations while staging two landmark mayoral climate summits in Brazil and South Africa. During his three-year stint as chair, C40 grew to include 63 major cities.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has been quietly directing hundreds of millions of dollars toward climate-related environmental causes through his Bloomberg Philanthropies. In 2011, he made waves with the fossil fuel industry by donating $50 million (and later another $30 million) to help the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign close half of all U.S. coal power plants (and replace them with clean energy) within six years.

In late 2013 Bloomberg teamed up with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and another billionaire environmentalist, Tom Steyer, on Risky Business, an initiative to assess and publicize the economic risks to the U.S. associated with climate change. Their inaugural report identified the “large and unacceptable” economic risks from unmitigated climate change to American businesses and long-term investors, while a follow-up analysis two years later details how cities and states can respond.

In January 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Bloomberg as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. That same month, the Bloomberg Philanthropies went big on oceans, committing $50 million over five years to the Vibrant Oceans Initiative to help reform fisheries and increase marine wildlife populations.

Most recently, Bloomberg led the charge to align voluntary emissions reductions efforts by U.S. cities, states and businesses to meet Paris climate accord goals even without buy-in from the Trump White House. He points out that the closing of dozens of coal plants across the country is already helping to get the U.S. within two-thirds of its Paris targets, and that the last third is within reach if the private sector and cities and states resolve to do it.

Bloomberg then pledged $15 million to help the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change make up for climate mitigation funding it would be losing with the U.S. pulling out of the climate deal. And a good chunk of his subsequent $200 million commitment to back inventive municipal policies to give mayors a stronger hand in national politics is slated to fund climate solutions.

It’s no wonder that environmentalists are among those calling for a Bloomberg presidential bid in 2020.

Just Posted

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a… Continue reading

Fewer than half of Canadians hold optimistic, open view of the world: poll

OTTAWA — Canada’s reputation as a nation with an open and optimistic… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month