Bloomberg and the Climate: Care and Controversy

Steven Orland, Staff Writer

Of the controversial topics that surround the political scene of America, one resonates with presidential candidates across the nation. It’s most prominent in campaigns, debates, media, and has a divided following. As Democratic and Republican views on climate change clash, Mike Bloomberg’s plans to reduce carbon emissions as president have attracted praise and criticism from candidates alike and American society.

Throughout his campaign trail, Bloomberg has set forth a plan that will combat climate change on a municipal level, seeking first to replace fossil fuel use with clean energy and to promote resource conservation in homes. His itinerary also promises to collaborate with federal programs while “decarbonizing the power industry.”

Under the Trump administration, the United States has faced declining efforts for climate change combat, such as the withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement, something Bloomberg seeks to reverse. The Democrat has a history of climate activism, having been appointed to United Nations Special Envoy in 2014, a position he held for five years, and being elected president of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. 

In spite of his past experiences in global climate action, the former mayor’s investments in programs (even conservationist ones, like Beyond Coal) have raised controversy. Some, including fellow candidate Bernie Sanders, feel that Bloomberg is supporting his own campaign, only, and avoiding funding local/state climate policies that parallel his ideas. This has created a dual-sided perception of the candidate, whose net worth surmounts to over $60 billion.

However, Bloomberg supporters find particular reforms promising. His intention to provide clean energy to low-income families and pollution-affected towns has proved appealing to fanbases, at least in California, where he received a greater approval rating in January polls than in weeks previous. The candidate’s environmental plans, based on reducing pollution output, may also personally affect families, as transportation changes are also hoped for.

Bloomberg aims to replace the majority of cars on today’s roads with electric ones by 2035, which may be achieved through his creation of the Clean Cars for All program. The objective to eliminate pollution from highways is resemblant of other candidates’ plans, which also seek to promote green energy. 

Fellow democrats Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have made clear their plans for climate action: supporting the Green New Deal initially proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A commitment to powering the economy with clean energy is declared in both candidates’ plans, especially in Warren’s promise of a Blue New Deal to restore sustainability on water. However, Bloomberg’s efforts are concentrated on bringing awareness to climate change in America, too.

With the establishment of an Office of Climate Security in the White House upon election as president, Bloomberg has presented his care for the climate. This might accompany supporting programs like the Green Climate Fund, which can go a long way, given past donations; he gave $320 million to the Democratic National Committee last November. Via Bloomberg Philanthropies, the candidate has donated over $250 million to environment-related initiatives in the last decade. 

Through making promises to restore federal support for climate action and incentives, Bloomberg has created a framework for his campaign that’s built on capital and support. While increased attention to his own campaign attracts disapproval from fellow candidates, his societal appeal counters it, as a dual-sided following of Bloomberg develops. In the months ahead, it’s unknown how Mike’s money and popularity will affect his shot at the presidency.