Bloomberg Says U.S. to Meet Climate Goals Despite Trump Plan

  • Cities and businesses will lead push to fight climate change
  • Trump team will need time to figure out plan, Bloomberg Says

The U.S. will meet its climate-change commitments under the Paris Agreement even if the administration of President-elect Donald Trump backs away from the deal, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, said in a speech.

Bloomberg, in his first public comments since Trump was elected, said cities and businesses will keep reducing emissions because it’s in their self-interest. The U.S. has led the world in reducing emissions even though Congress hasn’t passed measures that take aim at climate change, he said Tuesday.

“I am confident that no matter what happens in Washington, no matter what regulations the next administration adopts or rescinds, no matter what laws the next Congress may pass, I expect that the United States will meet the pledges that the U.S. made in Paris,” Bloomberg said at a gathering of the China General Chamber of Commerce in Washington. “That progress has been driven by cities, businesses, and citizens -– and none of them are letting up now, just the opposite.”

Under the Paris Agreement, countries agree to voluntary limits on fossil-fuel emissions and set a goal of keeping temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. China has said that even without all countries aboard, the UN process would advance just as it did after the U.S. renounced the Kyoto climate accord in 2001.

Read more: Trump Climate Denial Is Catalyzing World -- a QuickTake

Trump tweeted in 2012 that the concept of global warming “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” though in a presidential debate this year he denied saying climate change was a hoax. His energy plan, posted on his website, says he will “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax
dollars to UN global warming programs.”

Asked at a meeting with the New York Times on Tuesday if he would withdraw from climate accords, Trump said he’s “looking at it very closely” and is keeping an open mind, Times reporter Michael Grynbaum said on Twitter. Trump said he thinks there is “some connectivity” between human activity and climate change.

Bloomberg said Trump’s administration will need time to figure out what to do.

“What’s said on the campaign trail, I should remind you, in America, is one thing; actually carrying out the specific policies is another, as we all know,” Bloomberg said. “I hope they’ll recognize the importance of the issue.”

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News. After considering running for the White House as an independent earlier this year, he went on to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in a speech at the Democratic National Convention in July.

Agreement’s Limits

Questions remain about whether even the Paris agreement will be sufficient. Under the accord, the Earth’s average temperature is set to rise by as much as 3.4 degrees Celsius by 2100 from pre-industrial levels, according to a United Nations report this month. That would mark the quickest shift in the climate since the end of the last ice age some 10,000 years ago, threatening to upend economies worldwide with more powerful storms and frequent droughts.

Ministers and government officials from almost 200 countries gathered in Marrakesh last week are awaiting a decision by President-elect Trump on whether he’ll pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. The talks sought to fill out some of the technical measures of the deal.

Last week, U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing said in Marrakesh that Chinese officials told him they would remain committed to the accord. “That’s a responsible thing to do for the Chinese people and the world,” Bloomberg said.

Other speakers at the event Tuesday included Wang Yang, vice-premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Blackstone Group LP.

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