"U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on (Jan. 31) appointed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as his special envoy for cities and climate change, in a bid to build momentum ahead of a planned U.N. summit meeting in September," writes Reuters' New York correspondent, Michelle Nichols. In addition, Bloomberg is president of the board of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, "an international group of mayors created in 2005 and dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions."
The group held their summit in Johannesburg, South Africa from Feb. 4-6. The "event brings together C40 Mayors from around the world to advance urban solutions to global climate change through individual efforts as well as international engagement and collaboration," according to the summit's webpage.
NPR's Melissa Block engaged (offered as both audio and text) the former NYC mayor in a conversation about his new U.N. role and the most effective ways for cities to fight climate change. While he promoted many of the traffic-reduction accomplishments of his tenure as mayor of the nation's largest city, such as bike share and pedestrian plazas, his response to Block's question may have caught some by surprise:
BLOCK: If a city, if a mayor of a city, were to come to you and say what is the one thing I can do that would have the biggest impact if I want to reduce carbon emissions. What would that thing be and what would...
BLOOMBERG: The biggest thing you can do in this country is to close coal-fired power plants. They generate a third of all of the emissions. And the Sierra Club has been very successful in preventing new coal-fired plants from opening. And thanks to their efforts and the lower cost price of natural gas, a lot of old power plants have been closed. And you can see it.
The two international roles are in addition to a new venture he formed last December that seeks to improve "the lives of city-dwellers around the world," writes Beth Gardiner for the Guardian's Reslient Cities series, and also described here.
Bloomberg is redeploying many top members of his mayoral team to Bloomberg Associates, a consultancy that will, free of charge, advise cities on how best to tackle their problems, adapting and applying the approaches he used to make New York greener and more livable.