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Michael Bloomberg Pledges $4.5 Million to Help U.S. Meet Paris Climate Commitment
His offer fills the significant funding gap created by President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from the global climate accord, which made the U.S. the only country opposed to the deal. Trump has also proposed deep budget cuts for international programs, including ones on climate.
"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, who has an estimated net worth of $50.9 billion, is the UN Secretary-General's special envoy for climate action.
The $4.5 million contribution provides the UN Climate Change Secretariat with 60 percent of the anticipated U.S. government support this year. Congress slashed funding for the UN agency from $7.5 million in previous years to only $3 million this year.
The contribution will go towards general operations, including assisting countries with their emissions targets agreed upon by 193 nations during the landmark 2015 climate talks.
Bloomberg said he would consider another contribution next year but expressed hope that Trump will re-join the Paris agreement.
"He 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," he told CBS.
After Trump's Paris exit, Bloomberg along with California Governor Jerry Brown launched the "We Are Still In" coalition of more than 2,700 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, investors and colleges and universities pursuing ambitious emissions reductions regardless of federal inaction.
Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, welcomed the contribution.
"When countries adopted the historic Paris agreement to limit global temperature rise, they also recognized that achieving that goal would take broad-based global climate action in all sectors, public and private. I welcome this generous contribution from Bloomberg Philanthropies as an important, practical recognition of our need to work together, and to step up our response to climate change," Espinosa said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted that he was "very grateful to Michael Bloomberg, not only for his generous support to the United Nations, but also for his global leadership on climate action."
During the CBS interview, Bloomberg blasted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, whose tenure has been marked by controversy and regulatory rollbacks in favor of the fossil fuel industry.
"His job is to protect the environment, and he has walked away 100 percent from that," Bloomberg said.
"His policies are not good for the world. To debunk science and walk away from it is just ridiculous," he continued. "Ninety nine percent of all scientists after peer review say that something is happening in the world. It's changing. Everybody that looks outside their window can see that we have less snow here and more snow there and bigger storms and a whole bunch of things, that the oceans are rising and things are changing and you can't deny that."
Bloomberg's Earth Day message was not all doom and gloom. He teamed up with Funny Or Die to release a comedic sketch on what he and his team are doing to protect the planet. Watch below:
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