Monday, December 07, 2015

If A Republican Wins, Can He Move Backwards On Climate? Mike Bloomberg Isn't Worried


As far as I can tell, billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg contributes to mainstream Republicans and right-of-center Democrats. Sometimes he writes checks directly to the candidates-- as he did for conservaDem and Steve Israel squeeze Anna Throne-Holst ($5,400) June 30, who's running as a Democrat-- though she isn't one-- against Republican Lee Zeldin out in Suffolk County. And, as he's done for Joe Crowley, until recently the head of the pro-Wall Street New Dems (also $5,400) and for Republican-turned Blue Dog Brad Ashford, but most of his campaign contributions seem to go through his one-man PAC, Independence USA PAC, to which he's given over-- well over-- $20,000,000. Bloomberg also wrote huge personal checks to the Democrats' Senate Majority PAC ($2.5 million), their House Majority PAC ($2,248,000) and the DCCC ($100,000), all of which tend to spend money on right-of-center, pro-Wall Street Democrats. He also gave $2,800,000 to the EMILY's List PAC (Women Vote!), which also tends to spend money primarily on right-of-center, pro-Business Democratic Party women.

Bloomberg busies himself working on the front lines with Bette Midler, David Geffen and Yoko Ono making New York City a more livable (and beautiful) place to live through the largest privately-funded green initiative in the history of planet earth, through the New York Restoration Project, which was originally founded by Midler in 1995, and his own MillionTreesNYC.

Yesterday he wrote an OpEd for his own eponymous news service, What Paris Talks Have Accomplished So Far, which helps explain why he's still contributing to conservatives in federal races rather than just funding Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign as he should be doing. He starts off by explaining that the UN conference in Paris "has already been a clear-cut success in two critical areas" and those two areas he's concerned with-- cities and businesses-- are not going be undermined if some Climate Change denier like Rubio or Cruz gets into the White House and rips up whatever accord comes out of the Paris conference. He writes that the actions from cities and businesses are even more important that the accord by governments that could be undermined by a future GOP president. Bloomberg takes solace that "leaders in both groups made it clear that they will not wait for an agreement that, if it comes together, won’t even take full effect until 2020." Before we look at the rest of Mayor Mike's OpEd, consider this poll data from a survey released by PPP of New Hampshire registered voters (both parties) this morning:

Mayors and officials representing more than 500 cities organized and attended their own summit in Paris (which Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and I co-hosted). It was the first time local leaders had ever gathered in such numbers during a UN climate-change conference. They came not only to ensure that their voices were heard by heads of state, but also to express their determination to act on their own, and to learn from one another and share best practices.

Cities account for about 70 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, and while some heads of state have been arguing over which countries should do more, cities recognize that reducing their emissions is in their own best interest. After all, when cities cut their emissions, they help their residents live longer, healthier lives. When they improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, they save their taxpayers money. When they invest in modern low-carbon infrastructure, they raise their residents’ standard of living. Taken together, these actions make cities more attractive to businesses and investors. Even if climate change were not a concern, reducing emissions would be smart policy.

City leaders rarely need to be convinced of the benefits of climate-related actions, and in Paris, they committed to doing more. By Saturday, more than 400 cities had signed the Compact of Mayors, which requires them to set bold climate goals, adopt a common measurement system for emissions, and publicly report their progress. If so many cities can agree to these three actions, why not nations?

The Compact of Mayors is the best insurance we have against backsliding by central governments, and it’s the best hope we have-- along with technological innovation-- for accelerating the pace of change in every region of the world over the next five years.

The private sector will drive technological innovation, but the pace of change is being artificially slowed by a market failure: the inability of investors to accurately value companies that carry climate-related risks. That will soon start to change.

On Friday in Paris, Mark Carney, chairman of the Group of 20’s Financial Stability Board, announced the creation of the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (which I agreed to serve on as chairman). Carney is creating this industry-led task force, which will build on the work of other organizations in this field, to bring transparency to the opaque risks that climate change presents to markets around the world.

Sea-level rise, storms, droughts-- they all have harmful effects on business: delaying shipping, disrupting supply lines and damaging facilities. Yet, investors are often flying blind when it comes to these and other climate-related risks.

The market cannot accurately value companies, and investors cannot efficiently allocate capital, without reliable data on the risks they face. Furthermore, as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, structural shifts in carbon-heavy industries will occur that will affect their growth and employment. Investors ought to have reliable information about which, and to what extent, companies are exposed to those shifts. That requires common measuring and reporting systems, which the new task force will work to create.

To be clear: Disclosure will be voluntary, and the task force will not seek to change laws about what must be disclosed by companies. Our aim will be to make disclosure easier, more complete and more useful to companies and investors. We expect strong participation from the financial sector, because the true beneficiaries of this information will be financial firms and investors. The better data they have, the better chance we have of mitigating market volatility and instability that arises from climate change and the policy responses to it.

The work that cities and businesses are doing will play a central role in the fight against climate change. In fact, even though any global agreement may not hold the planet's temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, the events of the first week have the potential to narrow the gap between what nations are willing to do and what scientists tell us is necessary to avert to the most harmful effects of climate change.

Cities and businesses can achieve reductions that go well beyond the pledges made by nations, and that will put the future of the planet-- and markets-- on firmer footing.

He's right... probably. But he should still help Bernie win. He can send a check to the Blue America Independent Expenditure PAC and we'll make sure it get spent properly in electing the only presidential candidate who isn't backing away from Climate Change as the real existential threat to mankind (rather than, say, ISIS, which is what the media and the other candidates are putting out 24/7). Speaking to a large audience of supporters in Keene, New Hampshire Saturday, he said "As a nation and as a people, we have got to understand that our country faces a myriad of very serious problems… if you turn on the TV, what they now say is, 'Well we’ve got one problem, it’s ISIS. We don’t have to worry about old people not having enough to eat. We don’t have to worry about having more people in jail than any other country. We don’t have to worry about the disappearing middle class. We don’t have to worry about economic and wealth inequality… we don’t have to worry about institutional racism, or a broken criminal justice. We don’t have to worry about that. All we should focus on now, 24/7, is ISIS.' [W]e’re talking about, according to the CIA, future, major national security issues when people are forced to migrate because their countries or their land are flooded, they can’t grow food. We’re talking about a major, major crisis... The debate is over. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing profound disturbances all over America and all over the world." He feels we can deal with ISIS and chew gum at the same time and warns that the Republicans, in thrall to Big Oil, is "rejecting science" and putting the country on a profoundly dangerous path. Look, in case Mayor Mike doesn't see this-- or decides not to send Blue America a million dollars to help fund Bernie's campaign-- can you spare $10 or $20 direct to Bernie? Or even an automatic monthly contribution between now and when Trumpf feels the ultimate Bern in 11 months?

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At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote Bloomberg: "The market cannot accurately value companies, and investors cannot efficiently allocate capital, without reliable data on the risks they face."

My desire is that capitalists' financial reports should be required to include verbiage to this effect: "Our basic strategy is such that, if the company is successful, IT will have ALL the money and consumers will have none. Thus, we would have no more customers and, therefore, we could no longer make any sales. Potential investors need to consider whether the company, at that point, would vote dividends to stock holders. Regarding that point, we are not required to divulge our intentions."

John Puma

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous anver said...

this is the great article


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