Energy

Michael Bloomberg Burning $4.5 Million Of His Fortune For Paris Climate Agreement

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg announced that he would drop several million dollars of his own money to cover the United States’ old commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

In a Sunday interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Bloomberg announced he would donate $4.5 million of his own fortune to cover a portion of the country’s pledge to give $3 billion by 2020 to support United Nations climate change programs — a pledge made under the Obama administration, but withdrawn by President Donald Trump last year. The U.S. had already given $1 billion by the time Trump walked away from the international accord.

“America made a commitment and as an American, if the government is not going to do it, we all have a responsibility. I’m able to do it. So yes, I am going to send them a check for the monies America had promised to the organization,” Bloomberg said Sunday, which also happened to be Earth Day. The $4.5 million is meant to cover only this year’s monetary commitment.

Bloomberg — who boast a net worth over $50 billion — left the door open to donating more. When asked by CBS host Margaret Brennan if he would do the same next year, he said it all depends on the president, who he believes is open to changing his mind. “We’ll figure out. Hopefully by then President Trump will have changed his view, which would be great.”

Without Senate approval, Obama signed on to the Paris Climate agreement on September 3, 2016, which marked the pinnacle of his environmental legacy. While on the campaign trail, however, Trump vehemently criticized the international deal as too burdensome on the energy industry and vowed to get the U.S. out of it. On June 1 the following year, he made good on his promise, announcing that he was “elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Trump’s decision attracted widespread condemnation from environmental activists, including Bloomberg. On the same day of Trump’s withdrawal, the New York billionaire announced he would donate $15 million to the United Nations in place of the federal government.

“Bloomberg’s contribution of $4.5 million provides the UN Climate Change Secretariat with sixty percent of the anticipated U.S. government support this year,” read a Sunday statement from Bloomberg Philanthropies, a foundation created and funded by the former mayor. “Bloomberg Philanthropies’ funding will strengthen the UN Climate Change Secretariat’s capacity to support developing countries, carry out strategic outreach to promote climate action among stakeholders such as cities, regions, business and civil society, and address institutional needs in areas such as information technology and communications.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies is working with leaders around the U.S. to continue reducing the country’s carbon footprint and collect funds to replace the federal government’s financial withdrawal.

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