Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who was New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013, is circumventing President Donald Trump’s decision to underfund a United Nations program to address climate change.
Bloomberg, who serves as an envoy for the UN on climate, will pay the remaining dollar amount that the U.S. government should have provided to the international body. In prior years, the U.S. has given $7.5 million to help fund the UN Climate Change Secretariat. This year, the President Donald Trump administration said it would only pay around $3 million.
Bloomberg will pay the remaining $4.5 million the U.S. would have ordinarily paid.
The choice to pay the fund less this year follows a series of decisions made by the Trump administration that run counter to the goal of limiting the effects of man-made climate change — including Trump’s decision last year to opt out of the Paris climate agreement.
Unlike Trump, however, Bloomberg recognizes that our nation must be a leader on the topic and fulfill our obligations toward helping create a better world.
“America made a commitment, and as an American, if the government's not going to do it, we all have responsibility,” Bloomberg explained in announcing his decision. “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 added that he also was hopeful that Trump would reverse course.
“[H]e 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,'” Bloomberg said.
However, it’s unlikely that Trump will change his mind given recent statements celebrating de-regulation of environmental standards that came on Earth Day itself.
It’s commendable that Bloomberg would make such a sizable donation to send a message to the UN that Americans are still supportive of efforts to limit the effects of climate change. It’d be better if the president were the one to show such leadership, but with Trump in that position, it isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas