Stockholm (NordSIP) – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged USD 15 million to the United Nations and is gathering America’s top leaders in an effort to keep U.S. climate commitments. Mr Bloomberg, who is currently the United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change, said work would continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that the U.S. would be leaving the Paris Climate Accord.
Mr Trump’s decision entails a halt to measures designed to meet the commitment made in the Paris Accord to cut emissions by 26-28% at 2005 levels by 2025, and an end to funding for poor countries attempting to make the transition to fighting climate change.
Mr Bloomberg outlined his initiative, called “America’s Pledge”, in a letter to UN officials explaining that he is working on a process to submit a contribution from signatories to serve as a “parallel submission” to the Paris agreement.
“The U.S. will meet our Paris commitment and through a partnership among American cities, states and businesses, we will seek to remain part of the Paris Agreement process,” Mr Bloomberg wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the head of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa. “The American government may have pulled out of the agreement, but the American people remain committed to it – and we will meet our targets.”
Mr Trump’s decision, which was met with widespread global condemnation and derision, has spurred over a thousand governors, mayors, businesses and other Americans to recommit the U.S. to live up to its part of the Paris Climate Accord regardless of Mr Trump’s decree. It also prompted business leaders such as clean-tech entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger to resign from the president’s advisory council. 62% of Americans support remaining in the agreement.
“Americans don’t need Washington to meet our Paris commitment and Americans are not going to let Washington stand in the way of fulfilling it,” Mr Bloomberg wrote, recalling the standard Republican trope of state’s rights, something the party has recently been far less vocal about since largely acquiescing to Mr Trump’s statist mode of governance. “That’s the message mayors, governors and business leaders all over the U.S. have been sending.”
“The bulk of the decisions which drive U.S. climate action in aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society… The federal role, ideally, is to coordinate and support those efforts. In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, these actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonisation actions,” Mr Bloomberg, an Independent, continued. “Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement.”
A separate letter was sent to the United Nations signed by representatives of 125 U.S. cities, 9 states, 183 colleges and universities and 902 businesses and investors, including over a dozen Fortune 500 companies, according to the political publication The Hill.
“In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions,” the signatories wrote, without yet specifying their exact contribution or how they would meet it.