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Billionaire Bloomberg pledges $15 million to UN for climate change

Bloomberg, Macron and Mayor Anne Hidalgo in Paris

New York, United States | AFP |  US billionaire Michael Bloomberg has offered $15 million to UN efforts to tackle climate change after President Donald Trump announced he is pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord.

The money would support the operations of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretariat, “including its work to help countries implement their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change,” Bloomberg Philanthropies said in a statement.

 

The Billionaire climate advocate later met French President Emmanuel Macron  as the political and grassroots response to Trump’s ditching of the Paris Agreement built up steam.

Bloomberg made an unannounced visit to Paris after launching a coalition of US cities and corporations that intends to uphold the Paris accord while Macron led Europe’s charge to defend the pact.

“Today I want the world to know the US will meet our Paris commitment, and through a partnership among cities, states, and businesses, we will seek to remain part of the Paris agreement process,” Bloomberg said at a joint press conference at the Elysee presidential palace.

“The American government may have pulled out of the agreement, but the American people remain committed to it. We will meet our targets.”

Macron described the Paris accord as “irreversible” and hailed Bloomberg as “a key player in the climate battle.”

“He can count on us,” he added.

On Thursday, Bloomberg said mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties were “signing onto a statement of support that we will submit to the UN -– and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals the US made in Paris in 2015.”

He also pledged to muster $15 million for the United Nations’ climate body, substituting for US funding likely to be axed by Trump.

The money will support the operations of the Bonn-based secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Bloomberg, 75, who was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, is estimated by Forbes magazine to be the eighth richest person in the world.

A political independent who has been a strident critic of Trump’s energy and climate policies, he is also a UN special envoy for cities and climate change.

Bloomberg is also president of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a coalition of 90 cities around the world that is pushing programmes to reduce carbon emissions and shore up urban defences against climate change.

The chair of the group is Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who was also present at Friday’s talks.

Macron, a 39-year-old centrist former banker, took office last month after a meteoric rise.

On Thursday, he was the most vocal of European leaders in criticising Trump’s decision and in vowing to defend the Paris agreement.

He notably released a video, in French and English, in which he invited American scientists, businesspeople and citizens who are frustrated by the White House’s stance to “come and work here with us” on finding a solution to the climate crisis.

 

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