Naomi Klein, Michael Bloomberg, coal-fired power plants, and the Keystone XL pipeline

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      A couple of days ago, New York Times opinion-page columnist Joe Nocera wrote an article that would have warmed the heart of billionaire and former Big Apple mayor Michael Bloomberg.

      "No one can question Michael Bloomberg's climate change bona fides," Nocera began. "As mayor of New York, he declared that cities had to lead the way in reducing the threat of climate change, and he strove to make New York greener."

      After commenting on Bloomberg's high-profile war against burning coal, Nocera described the ex-mayor as a "a supremely pragmatic man". Then the columnist noted that Bloomberg has come up with an idea to enable the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed, despite a veto from President Barack Obama.

      "His idea is that the Obama administration should negotiate directly with the Canadian government, and come up with a climate pact that would more than offset the emissions that would be generated—indeed, are already being generated—by mining the oil from the sands," Nocera wrote. "Though it is unlikely to satisfy the partisans on both sides, it is a wonderfully sensible solution."

      There are those who've expressed skepticism about Bloomberg's approach to climate change. This is notwithstanding the billionaire's attempt to shut down coal-burning power plants.

      In her recent book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Canadian author Naomi Klein pointed out that Bloomberg helped create Willett Advisors, a New York–based company that manages his philanthropic assets.

      According to This Changes Everything, Willett Advisors director of real assets Brad Briner declared in 2013 that his firm was bullish on natural gas and that "oil is well priced". Klein also noted that Bloomberg is "strongly pro-fracking".

      All of this led Klein to question what impact Bloomberg's generosity to environmental causes—notably those that oppose burning coal—is having on his investment portfolio.

      "Was funding the war on coal at least partially about boosting the share price of gas?" Klein writes. "Or was that just a bonus? Perhaps there is no connection between his philanthropic priorities and his decision to entrust so much of his fortune to the oil and gas sector. But these investment choices do raise uncomfortable questions about Bloomberg's status as a climate hero, as well as his 2014 appointment as a United Nations sepcial envoy for cities and climate change (questions Bloomberg has not answered despite repeated requests)."

      In fact, the New York Times's Nocera got it wrong when he bluntly stated that nobody can question Bloomberg's climate change bona fides.

      Naomi Klein has already done this in her book.

      Somehow, I doubt we'll see the Gray Lady (that's the New York Times, not Naomi Klein!) publishing a correction.



      William D'Alessandro

      Mar 7, 2015 at 10:33am

      Michael Bloomberg and Naomi Klein are much more alike than this commentary posits.

      Just for example, they both share one overriding trait: huge egos.

      Both of them are convinced they have the answers for all of society's woes.


      Apr 16, 2015 at 1:07pm

      Lol-remember when the Sierra Club took $26 million dollars from a nat gas company to finance it's anti-coal campaign? Didn't think so. Like Bloomberg, they know catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is not happening, but are pragmatic enough to use it as a lever to line their own pockets. As is Ms Klein, I hear she's doing very well indeed.