Quantcast

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

Climate

[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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less
Two silver-backed chevrotain caught on camera trap. The species has only recently been rediscovered after being last seen in 1990. GWC / Mongabay

By Jeremy Hance

VIETNAM, July 2019 – I'm chasing a ghost, I think not for the first time, as night falls and I gather up my gear in a hotel in a village in southern Vietnam. I pack my camera, a bottle of water, and a poncho; outside the window I can see a light rain.

Read More Show Less
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less