Former New York Mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has pledged $4.5 million to cover the commitment the United States made in the Paris Climate Agreement following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal.
In speaking to Face the Nation, Bloomberg believes it’s our responsibility to do it and since he has the means, he is willing to send the money that the United States promised.
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).
Bloomberg said, “All I know is that America I believe will meet its commitment by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gases by an agreed amount and if we do it hopefully other countries will do it as well.”
Bloomberg also believes that Trump may change his mind regarding the decision to pull out of the agreement. Earlier this year Trump 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.”
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.
With the Trump Administration and the EPA currently unwilling to protect the nation against rising carbon emissions, it unfortunately comes down to private citizens to make decisions on how to lead the nation through fundraising, campaigning and non-profits.