Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced that he will not run for president, but instead launch a campaign to rid the United States of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Explaining his reasoning on his eponymous news network’s opinion page, Bloomberg said the climate crisis was too urgent to be bogged down by political feuding.
“While there would be no higher honor than serving as president, my highest obligation as a citizen is to help the country the best way I can, right now,” Bloomberg writes. The announcement quashes speculation that the former mayor would run for president. He explains that he thinks the best way he can help the country is to throw his political capital behind a push to move the country “toward a 100 percent clean energy economy” and away from natural gas, oil, and coal.
Bloomberg calls this latest effort Beyond Carbon, and it is an outgrowth of an ongoing Sierra Club campaign called Beyond Coal. Bloomberg, a billionaire who owns Bloomberg LP, funded the Beyond Coal campaign and says he hopes that the campaign will help shut down all coal-fired plants in the country in the next 11 years.
In addition to emitting greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change, burning fossil fuels is a public health issue, which researchers have linked to premature deaths around the world.
Reducing fossil fuel use in an effort to combat climate change has been a priority for Bloomberg for several years. As mayor of New York City, he got major companies to commit to cutting emissions from their office spaces. Last year, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Bloomberg as the UN’s Special Envoy for Climate Action.
Bloomberg, who also financed the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety emphasized that he would continue to push for changes on a number of fronts, even as he declined to run for office.
“In the weeks and months ahead, I will dive even deeper into the work of turning around our country, through concrete actions and results.” Bloomberg writes. “And I will continue supporting candidates who can provide the leadership we need — on climate change, gun violence, education, health, voting rights, and other critical issues — and continue holding their feet to the fire to deliver what they promise.”