Foreign Policy Blogs

Mike Bloomberg and the Carbon Tax

I've written about Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ambitious energy and environmental plans on a number of occasions.  See Congestion Pricing in New York from July and Mike Bloomberg's Earth Day from April.  As someone who would've had a role working on environmental issues had Bloomberg's opponent, Mark Green, won in 2001, I might be prejudiced about our mayor's performance in this area.  I'm not.  Bloomberg's done a nice job. (Green was the odds-on favorite to win on September 10, 2001.  Things changed the next day, very much including the politics of the mayoral race that year.  But that's another story.) 

As a highly visible national figure, as a self-made billionaire, and as a passionate advocate for changing direction so as to avoid our impending head-on collision with catastrophic climate change, Bloomberg's views have considerable heft.  The mayor attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors' "Climate Protection Summit" this past week in Seattle.  (See the USCM website for news on the conference and their work on climate change.)  He unveiled his unqualified support for a carbon tax in a speech he gave at the conference.  He told us to "stop ignoring the laws of economics" in his smart, low-key and persuasive speech.  Here's a video of the speech.  The carbon tax portion runs for ten minutes starting at around 17:30.

See also this article from the A.P. via the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" and this press release from Bloomberg's office.  The Carbon Tax Center, a group that has been providing a good deal of the intellectual foundation for the concept, was rhapsodic about Bloomberg's speech.  (I've written about the carbon tax as recently as last week in "France's Initiative" under More Quick Hitters below, and elsewhere.)

Will the carbon tax pick up steam and supplant cap-and-trade as the preferred method of addressing global warming in Congress?  Bloomberg kept emphasizing the political unpopularity of the concept at present.  Stay tuned.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change