Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already done a lot for climate change through Bloomberg Philanthropies, and as chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, but now he's really stepping it up. Appointed today by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the U.N. special envoy for cities, Bloomberg will assist with "consultations with mayors and related key stakeholders, in order to raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change," according to Ban.
"Cities account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of the world's energy use today, and their total population is projected to double by 2050," Bloomberg said. "So the steps they take now to combat climate change will have a major impact on the future of our planet. Cities have shown they have the capacity and the will to meet this challenge."
The role is one that Bloomberg is already largely familiar with, having just finished serving as the chair of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which has helped move climate change issues forward in cities such as Berlin, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, Sao Paulo, Seoul, and Tokyo. Now, Bloomberg hopes that he can wield the power of the U.N. to take even greater strides forward, pushing for even more cities to lead the way on climate change.
The next major U.N. conference on the issue will take place in September, and Ban is hoping that this announcement will help bring some star power to the issue, re-energize talks, and boost the United Nations' role in the addressing global climate change. Bloomberg will hold this position for two years. And while it's largely a policy role, it will give him a lot of opportunities to see where his personal philanthropy could make the greatest impact.