Michael Bloomberg pledges his own money to help U.N. after Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg made an unexpected trip to Paris where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron and reassured him that American cities and states will meet the Paris climate deal commitments. (Reuters)

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has promised to provide up to $15 million in funding that he says the United Nations will lose because of President Trump’s decision to pull out from the landmark Paris climate deal.

The billionaire’s charitable organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, on Thursday pledged to shoulder the United States’ share in the operating costs of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the organization’s climate negotiating body in charge of helping developing countries fulfill environmental requirements under the 2015 pact.

“Americans are not walking away from the Paris Climate Agreement. Just the opposite — we are forging ahead,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Mayors, governors, and business leaders from both political parties are signing onto a statement of support that we will submit to the UN — and together, we will reach the emission reduction goals that the U.S. made in Paris in 2015.”

Trump announced Thursday that he is withdrawing from the Paris deal, a signature diplomatic achievement by the Obama administration. The move set off criticism worldwide, but fulfills a campaign promise to end Obama-era regulations that Trump claimed were harming industries and killing jobs.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, applauded Bloomberg for the contribution.

“While funding from governments remains central to our work, this kind of support is crucial for the work of the Secretariat to assist nations in their efforts to implement their commitments under the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” Espinosa said in a statement.

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Bloomberg’s pledge comes as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan group of more than 1,000 mayors, denounced Trump’s decision and affirmed their cities’ commitment to meet climate-change goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally — even without the participation of the federal government.

“We see the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord as an abdication of American leadership and America’s mayors will certainly fill that void,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) said in a statement. “We will symbolically sign on and take actions necessary so that America meets its obligations under the Paris Accord, despite actions of this Administration.”

Nearly 200 countries reached a nonbinding agreement in 2015 to, among other things, collectively work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global temperature to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). Only two other countries, Nicaragua and Syria, were not part of the deal.

In his speech Thursday, Trump said the agreement would put the United States at a “permanent disadvantage” with China, India and other rising powers, and keeping the country in the climate deal would cost millions of jobs. Washington Post fact-checkers, however, reported that Trump, who has labeled climate change a “hoax,” relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims to make the case that the deal would hurt the U.S. economy.

The president’s decision also meant the United States will not be providing the money it previously promised for the Green Climate Fund. More than 40 countries, including the United States, have pledged to pay a total of about $10 billion into the fund to help developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Trump said that under the Paris deal, the United States would have to commit “tens of billions of dollars” to the fund. The U.S. share, however, is only $3 billion, of which $1 billion was already paid. The full amount would have been equivalent to a little less than $10 per American.

Bloomberg, whose net worth is about $50 billion, has been a vocal critic of Trump and a supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

During a speech at the Democratic National Convention last year, he described the then-Republican presidential candidate as a “dangerous demagogue.”

“Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us,” said Bloomberg, who had considered running for president as an independent. “I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one! … Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”

Previously a longtime Democrat, Bloomberg switched to the Republican Party to run for New York mayor in 2001. He switched again in 2007 and became an independent.

Philip Rucker and Jenna Johnson contributed to this story.

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