NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LP and philanthropist, has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. In this role, Michael R. Bloomberg will assist the Secretary-General in his efforts to mobilize action among cities as part of a strategy to combat climate change. As Special Envoy, Michael R. Bloomberg will work with other mayors both to increase their climate change-related commitments and to encourage national governments to do the same. He will also help bring solutions to the 2014 Climate Summit that will be held in New York, September 2014.
The appointment of a mayor as Special Envoy – a title generally reserved for former heads of state or government – reflects the growing influence and importance of cities in fighting climate change.
"Cities around the world are taking bold, measurable action to reduce carbon emissions and become more resilient – and they have emerged as a leading force in the battle against climate change," said Michael R. Bloomberg. "Cities account for more than 70% 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 – 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 – and I look forward to working with them and the United Nations to accelerate progress."
Michael R. Bloomberg has been committed to sustainability for nearly a decade, beginning on a local scale and then moving to national and international efforts. He has consistently focused on measurable, scalable, and economically sound approaches, and will bring the same focus to the role of Special Envoy.
As Mayor of New York, he spearheaded PlaNYC – an unprecedented effort undertaken to combat climate change locally, bringing together over 25 City agencies to create a greener, greater New York. New York City has planted more than 800,000 new trees, banned the use of the dirtiest heating oils, implemented the most aggressive mandatory energy efficiency program for large buildings in the United States, and instituted bus rapid transit lines as well as a major bike-sharing initiative. These efforts have reduced the city's carbon footprint by 19% since 2005, and made New York City's air cleaner than it has been in more than 50 years.
While this appointment marks his first official role at the United Nations, as Mayor, Bloomberg worked with the UN in several ways. He addressed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia in 2007, and in 2009 attended the UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mayor Bloomberg's strong support of the UN was underscored when he appointed his sister, Marjorie B. Tiven, as Commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol (UNCCP), now called the Mayor's Office for International Affairs, where she served for 12 years.
In 2010, he was elected Chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, where he now serves as President of the Board. The Group is a network of large cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Under his leadership C40 adopted a new emphasis on accountability by establishing measurable and uniform benchmarks for success; expanding knowledge-sharing among cities; and demonstrating the potential cities have to achieve meaningful impact through research.
C40's research has indicated that the 63 C40 Cities have already put in place policies and programs that, when fully implemented, will cut annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 248 million tonnes by 2020 - the equivalent to the total GHG emissions of Argentina and Portugal combined. Further, C40 Cities have the potential to reduce annual emissions by more than 1 billion tonnes by 2030, which is the equivalent of the GHG emissions of Mexico and Canada combined.
In 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million commitment over four years to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign to clean the air and accelerate the transition to cleaner, cost-effective energy sources in the United States. The goal of the partnership is to effectively retire one-third of the nation's aging coal fleet by 2020, replacing it with clean energy. Beyond Coal's progress has made an impact: the Energy Information Agency announced that U.S. carbon emissions dropped nearly 4% between 2011 and 2012. This has brought U.S. emissions to their lowest level in 20 years, and a lower reliance on coal was cited as the main reason for the reduction.
Additionally, Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced the Vibrant Oceans initiative, a $53 million commitment to restore the world's oceans and revitalize fish populations in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile. The grant places Bloomberg Philanthropies among the top five global oceans funders. This month, Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced funding to the City Energy Project, which will help 10 cities craft their own customized plans for boosting energy efficiency in their buildings.
Michael R. Bloomberg's appointment begins immediately and extends through December, 2015. Strategic guidance will be received from the UN Secretary-General. Substantive, technical and logistical support will be provided through the UN Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team and Bloomberg Philanthropies, drawing on the analytical contributions of the UN System, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Bretton Woods Institutions.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit bloomberg.org.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, Meghan Womack, +212-205-0176, [email protected]
SOURCE Bloomberg Philanthropies