Michael Bloomberg is contributing $5.5 million to the UN climate negotiations budget, to fill the gap left by the US administration.
The media mogul and former New York mayor made the payment on top of $4.5m last year, in a show of support for international cooperation on climate change.
Under president Donald Trump, the US is lagging behind its expected contributions to UN Climate Change – although Congress saved some funding from the axe. It put $2.5m into the core budget in 2018 and is expected to match that in 2019.
“The United States made a promise to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement – and if the federal government won’t hold up our end of the deal, then the American people must,” said Bloomberg in a statement.
“As mayors, governors, business leaders, and private citizens across the country work to ensure that we meet our climate targets, our foundation will again cover the difference in federal funding to the United Nations. Together, we’re sending a loud, clear message to the rest of the world: regardless of what’s happening in Washington, we’re in this fight with you.”
Some of Bloomberg’s payment will cover core administrative costs at the UN climate headquarters in Bonn, according to the statement. Other funds are earmarked to support climate initiatives by states, cities, businesses and community groups, which run in parallel to intergovernmental talks.
The UN climate body has pitched for a 26% increase in its core budget 2020-21, for various activities under the Paris Agreement and new initiatives such as a platform to boost representation of indigenous people. After some pushback from cash-strapped member states, it is due to finalise the budget at a meeting in June.
UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa welcomed Bloomberg’s “generous contribution”. “The success of the Paris Agreement and global efforts to address climate change are contingent upon bold action from governments, private sector and civil society,” she said.
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