Former New York Mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has pledged $4.5 million to cover some of the lapsed US commitment to the Paris climate accord following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal. He says it’s part of his responsibility to help the environment.
"America made a commitment and as an American, if the government's not going to do it we all have responsibility. I'm able to do it. So, yes, I'm going to send them a check for the monies that America had promised to the organization as though they got it from the federal government," Bloomberg said on Face the Nation.
Bloomberg says he’s acting in the interest of the American people, the majority of whom support US involvement in the Paris deal. Last year, Bloomberg opposed the president’s decision alongside members of the US Conference of Mayors. The 57 signatories voted to affirm US commitment to environmental goals by signing the Chicago Climate Charter (CCC), in essence upholding Obama-era agreements at a city level.
In December 2015, the US and 187 other countries signed the Paris agreement to combat climate change by keeping the planet from warming by no more than 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-Industrial levels. The US Plan submitted by the Obama Administration aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, in part by committing to nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
The Trump administration announced last year its plans to withdraw America from the Paris agreement, claiming it costs American jobs and “placed America at a serious economic disadvantage."
Bloomberg said Trump has “been known to change his mind.” In fact, earlier this year the president said the US “could conceivably” rejoin the Paris deal, but what's holding him back is that the Obama administration "made a bad deal" and that "we also want businesses that can compete."
“But [Trump] should change his mind and say look there really is a problem here. America is part of the problem. America is a big part of the solution and we should go in and help the world stop a potential disaster,” said Bloomberg.
The US – who happens to be the top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons – emits 15 percent of global emissions. Since 1970, global emissions from fossil fuels have increased by about 90 percent, with those from fossil fuels and industrial processes contributing about 78 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the last 40 years.
Bloomberg’s $4.5 million pledge is in addition to a $15 million donation announced by his foundation last year meant to serve as a societal NDC in lieu of a government one.