Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Vox has defended Michael Bloomberg’s record of wrecking coal mining jobs, against accusations by activists that Bloomberg is not committed enough to climate action.
Mike Bloomberg says he has the best record on climate change. Does he?
The billionaire former New York mayor funded a successful program to close coal power plants. But activists say his plans for the future lack ambition.
By Umair Irfan Feb 25, 2020, 11:50am EST
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will soon be on the ballot in the Democratic presidential primary for the first time in 15 states and territories. Ahead of voting on Super Tuesday, March 3, he is flooding the airwaves with $124 million worth of ads.
Bloomberg’s climate change record is a key part of his pitch:
But some environmental groups disagree with how he’s positioned himself and remain unimpressed with his plans to deal with rising average temperatures.
“I think that’s a very subjective claim to begin with,” said Ryan Schleeter, a spokesperson for Greenpeace USA, which has ranked Bloomberg’s climate plan last among 2020 presidential contenders. “He has committed to doing less than other candidates in the race.”
In giving the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign more than $100 million, Bloomberg has financed an international effort to take the dirtiest source of energy offline.
“Well, already we’ve closed 304 out of 530 [coal] power plants in the United States and we’ve closed 80 out of the 200 or 300 in Europe,” he said during the Nevada debate.
If elected president, Bloomberg has promised that he will act on grand plans to limit climate change, aimed not just at coal, but also at natural gas, now the largest source of electricity in the United States.
But activists and fellow presidential contenders have criticized Bloomberg’s vision for the future. His climate proposals aren’t as sweeping as those from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Bloomberg was also critical of the Green New Deal resolution introduced in Congress last year. He also doesn’t want to ban fracking, a controversial technique for extracting oil and natural gas.
Bloomberg opposed the Green New Deal, so he will likely never win over Greenpeace and Sanders radicals.
On the other hand the Sierra Club seems a little friendlier, Bloomberg helped them a lot with his hundred million dollar donation to Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, so maybe Greenpeace just need to be reassured Bloomberg is willing to work closely with them as well.
In my opinion Bloomberg probably has done more personally than the other candidates to wreck the coal industry, investing vast sums of his own money into shutting down demand for coal, making it his personal mission to destroy the coal industry. But Bloomberg has also profited over the years from his fossil fuel investments and clients.