Image courtesy of David Berkowitz via flickr
In a seeming attempt to upstage Al Gore - or at least revive talks of a stalled independent run for the White House - NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg ripped into the presidential candidates' positions on climate change, calling them too weak and unfocused. Addressing a UN summit on climate change, he deemed global warming as serious a threat to international health as nuclear proliferation and terrorism, arguing that, in the long term, it "has the potential to kill everybody."
"Unfortunately we have a system where nobody wants to say to anybody you have to stop doing something, or change something or pay for something . . . where all we want to do is say you can have something for nothing." He castigated the leading candidates for not making climate change a central component of their agenda.Discussing his green initiatives for the city, he again reiterated his call for a carbon tax and boasted of the efforts underway to convert the city's taxi fleet to hybrid vehicles and to plant 1 million trees. He dismissed attempts to equate his proposed congestion fee with a tax, lashing out at the federal government for making the dubious connection in refusing to pay London's pricing charge.
"Congestion pricing is not a tax, it's a service charge and typically diplomats pay those. Everybody pays those. I happen to think that the United States government's policy . . . in London is a wrong one," he asserted.
He also reserved criticism for the recently enacted energy law, which calls for a fivefold increase in biofuel production by 2022, stating that its promotion of corn ethanol would lead people to "starve to death in parts of the world" as a result of rising food prices. Instead of subsidizing the production of corn ethanol, the U.S. government should subsidize that of sugar ethanol - which is taxed under the law - he argued.
Regardless of his potential presidential aspirations, Bloomberg has done all of us a great service by again elevating the topic of climate change in our current political discourse. Would it be too much to ask to see the leading candidates follow through?
Via ::Newsday: Bloomberg talks green at UN; wants diplomats to pay fees (newspaper), ::Reuters UK: Bloomberg slams US energy law over corn ethanol (news website)