Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to write a $4.5 million check to cover the first part of the US’ commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement.
"America made a commitment and, as an American, if the government's not going to do it we all have responsibility,” Bloomberg said on Face the Nation on Sunday.
“I'm able to do it,” he added. “So, yes, 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.”
The Paris Climate Agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and calls on countries to devise voluntary plans for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.
As a private citizen, Bloomberg is filling in for the federal government because President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the international coalition last year, reneging on $15 million in payments and becoming the only country in the world to exit the agreement.
In fact, after Syria and Nicaragua joined the agreement last year, the US became the only country that’s not a member..
Bloomberg has long been a staunch advocate for the environment and he played an integral role in developing the Paris Climate Agreement through an organization of city leaders around the world called C40.
Since then, the billionaire philanthropist has promoted environmental initiatives in the US and beyond.
In 2017, he helped create the Climate Alliance, which aims to fulfill the US’ Paris commitments even if the federal government fails to act. Not long after, he pledged $200 million to help cities fight climate change.
He also pledged to pay the $15 million the US had committed to the Paris agreement.
This payment of $4.5 million is the first installment of that promise.
Bloomberg said in the CBS interview that he’s heartened by the many companies, cities, and states that are developing strong climate action plans.
"We've got companies and states and individuals all agreeing to step in, report to the United Nations what our progress is the way all the other countries are going to do it, commit — fulfill our commitment to fund part of it,” he said.
“It's not a lot of money,” he added. “But America made that commitment and most importantly to do the things that will keep temperatures from going up and really potentially changing our life for the worst.”
Bloomberg also hopes that Trump will change his mind and rejoin the Paris agreement — the exit process takes several years and the US is allowed to reverse its decision at any time.
In recent weeks, Trump has considered joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership after publicly excoriating the international trade agreement for more than a year.
"He's been known to change his mind,” Bloomberg said in the interview. “That is true. But 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."
Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, which call on countries to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement. You can take action on this issue here.