Quantcast
Climate

Michael Bloomberg: It's Time to Ramp Up Local Climate Efforts

[Editor's note: Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, delivered the keynote address Monday at Climate Week NYC’s Signature Event. Bloomberg announced a partnership between two sub-national coalitions—the Compact of Mayors and the Compact of States and Regions. The two compacts will join together in a plea to cities, states and regions around the world to ramp up their local climate efforts and pledge to climate targets in the final weeks leading up to COP21. Below is an excerpt from Bloomberg's keynote.]

In several very important ways, the Paris climate change summit—which is still a few months away—has already been successful. It has pushed national governments around the world to set higher goals for reducing carbon. I has showed that international cooperation on climate change really is possible. And it has focused the world’s attention on just how much work remains to be done.

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, delivered the keynote address Monday at Climate Week NYC’s signature event.

There is an old expression in the English language that I think sums up the challenge before us today: You get what you pay for. It means, in short: You can’t pay for one thing and expect to get something better. And yet, that is exactly what the nations of the world are doing when it comes to climate change.

Government leaders will soon gather in Paris to discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And yet all over the world, governments are encouraging those emissions by subsidizing them. The International Energy Association has estimated that governments are providing $550 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies every year.

At the same time, countries are providing renewable energy companies with only about $120 billion in subsidies. So for every dollar that governments use to encourage the development and use of renewable energy, they are spending four and a half dollars to encourage the development and use of fossil fuels.

You get what you pay for. And right now, we are paying for a hotter planet. If we are serious about slowing climate change, that has to change. We have to start—to use another American expression—putting our money where our mouth is.

At the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries committed to delivering $100 billion per year to developing countries to help them transition to cleaner energy, and adapt to the changing climate. That commitment has not yet been honored. And it must be.

By using public dollars to attract private investment, OECD countries could meet their commitment by providing about $60 billion. As it turns out, the OECD released a report last week finding that OECD countries are spending more than $60 billion in fossil fuel subsidies every year.

So the math is clear: OECD countries could honor our commitment to the rest of the world by redirecting that $60 billion away from fossil fuels—and toward clean energy and modern infrastructure for the global south.

There’s another reason to take this step—and it may be the most important reason of all: Governments, NGOs and philanthropists spend billions of dollars in the developing world to improve public health and save lives.

There may be no single action that would do more to improve people’s lives—by giving them cleaner air to breathe—than honoring the commitment we made in Copenhagen. This is a piece of unfinished business that OECD countries must take care of, preferably before arriving in Paris—but certainly before leaving it.

Now, that’s not to let the rest of the world off the hook. Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa—and the entire global community—should join in this effort to begin phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. But the OECD must lead by example.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Students Across America Demand Climate Action Oct. 2

This Country Is Already Carbon Neutral and Now Plans to Go 100% Organic and Zero-Waste

​Sweden to Become One of World’s First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation​

3 Ways UN Leaders Can Restore the World’s Oceans

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. NPS

MLK National Park to Re-Open Despite Shutdown, Thanks to Delta

Hats off to Delta Air Lines. The company's charitable arm awarded the National Park Service an $83,500 grant to help reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park in Atlanta from Jan. 19 through Feb. 3 in honor of Dr. King's legacy.

The Atlanta-based airline was inspired to act after learning that some of the park's sites, including Dr. King's birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station No. 6 and the visitor center, were closed due to the partial government shutdown, now on its 28th day, according to LinkedIn post from Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Chris So / Toronto Star / Getty Images

Nebraska Lawmakers Want to Ban the Word 'Meat' From Vegetarian Substitutes

By Dan Nosowitz

Nebraska is the country's second-leading producer of beef, and is in the top ten of pork producers.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
A northern cardinal and finch in the snow. Mark Moschell / Flickr

Is Winter Miserable for Wildlife?

By Bridget B. Baker

While the weather outside may indeed get frightful this winter, a parka, knit hat, wool socks, insulated boots and maybe a roaring fire make things bearable for people who live in cold climates. But what about all the wildlife out there? Won't they be freezing?

Anyone who's walked their dog when temperatures are frigid knows that canines will shiver and favor a cold paw—which partly explains the boom in the pet clothing industry. But chipmunks and cardinals don't get fashionable coats or booties.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
A green sea turtle, one of the animals whose population has increased because of Endangered Species Act protections. Mark Sullivan / NOAA

Marine Mammals and Turtles Protected by the Endangered Species Act Are Bouncing Back

The Endangered Species Act works. That's the conclusion of a peer-reviewed study undertaken by scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity and published in PLOS ONE Wednesday.

The study looked at 31 populations of 19 species of marine mammals and sea turtles in the U.S. that had been granted endangered species protections and found that around three-quarters of them had increased in size.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Students demonstrate in Brussels Thursday calling for climate action. NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / AFP / Getty Images

12,000+ Belgian Students Skip School to Demand Climate Action

Around 12,500 Belgian students marched in Brussels Thursday, joining a growing movement of young people around the world who have started skipping school to demand climate action.

"There is actually no point going to school if our world is going to die," 16-year-old demonstrator Mariam told BBC News in a video.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy
A prototype of GE's massive new wind turbine will be installed in the industrial area of Maasvlakte 2 in Rotterdam. GE Renewable Energy

World's Largest Wind Turbine to Test Its Wings in Rotterdam

Rotterdam's skyline will soon feature the world's largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine.

GE Renewable Energy announced on Wednesday it will install the first 12-megawatt Haliade-X prototype in the Dutch city this summer. Although it's an offshore wind turbine by design, the prototype will be installed onshore to facilitate access for testing.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Colorful, fresh organic vegetables. fcafotodigital / Getty Images

A New Diet for the Planet

By Tim Radford

An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, whole grains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor's orders, tomorrow's farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Children's books about the environment. U.S. Air Force photo / Karen Abeyasekere

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and climate science. That doesn't have the same ring as the "three Rs" of education, but Connecticut could one day require the subject to be on the curriculum, The Associated Press reported.

A Connecticut state lawmaker is pushing a bill to mandate the teaching of climate change in public schools throughout the state, starting in elementary school.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!