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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

UN chief appoints Michael Bloomberg as climate envoy before UK summit

Former New York mayor is expected to strengthen countries’ commitments to carbon reduction in run up to talks in Scotland in November

Michael Bloomberg has been appointed as special envoy to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on climate ambition and solutions. AP
Michael Bloomberg has been appointed as special envoy to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on climate ambition and solutions. AP

Michael Bloomberg will resume his role as Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The UN said Mr Guterres wants the former New York mayor to “mobilise stronger and more ambitious climate action” in readiness for a climate conference in Scotland in November.

Mr Bloomberg was previously the UN special envoy for climate action between March 2018 and November 2019, stepping down shortly before announcing his bid for the Democratic US presidential nomination. He dropped out of the race in March 2020.

“Mr Bloomberg will support the work of the secretary general in growing and strengthening the coalition of governments, companies, cities and financial institutions committing to net-zero before 2050 in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” a UN statement said.

As special envoy, the billionaire will “engage government officials and members of the private sector and civil society to finalise and implement plans, particularly in high-emitting countries, industries and sectors, to vastly accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy”.

He will also help deliver on Mr Guterres’ call for the “phase-out of coal in industrialised countries by 2030, and all other countries by 2040, underpinned by a just transition for affected communities and workers,” the world body said.

The summit, delayed by a year by the pandemic, is seen as an important part of the international effort to curb man-made climate change.

It comes after the creation of the Paris accord in 2015, when about 200 countries committed to halt rising temperatures quickly enough to avoid disastrous climate change.

By November, countries are expected to commit to deeper emissions cuts to meet the goal of the accord.

Mr Guterres has called on countries to cease emitting greenhouse gases by 2050.

A long-time climate activist, Mr Bloomberg has led efforts both in the US and abroad to tackle climate change. He is the board president of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a global network of 97 major cities, and co-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, a network of more than 10,000 cities and local governments.

New US President Joe Biden has moved to bring the US, the world’s second-largest greenhouse emitter, back into the Paris deal.

Washington formally left the accord last year but its role as a heavyweight in global climate negotiations had already stalled with the 2016 election of Republican President Donald Trump.

Updated: February 6, 2021 09:16 PM

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