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28 November 2019

Bloomberg has gravitas, ideas and fame to challenge Trump

Michael Bloomberg is not the orator that Donald Trump was during his Presidential Campaign, and you won’t find him shouting obscenities or telling his aids to “get ‘em out” whenever anyone heckles him at rallies.

He is toneless in delivery, quiet by nature, moral and of good standing, and rich as hell. Quite a bit richer than Donald Trump actually.

But the idea of him running for president, to us, over here (Europe) seems a very good thing, because from outside the US, he seems like a name that can beat Donald Trump, and for our service Rethink Energy, we believe he genuinely would allow a rethink of the US renewable energy business. And yet because of his business credentials, he will not be seen as a socialist, or a spendthrift, but as someone who runs successful businesses and campaigns.

All it takes is to have a congress, a senate and a president all on the same side, and all understanding that climate change is a major issue, and the acceleration of the famous US business engine, would push the USA ahead in renewables, virtually overnight.

And that in turn would create a feeling of competition in China, and a sense of adherence to global policy in places like Brazil, which may have stamped out its wildfires if the US President had encouraged the act, as this one would.

Until now here at Rethink Energy we were expecting renewables businesses everywhere to have to find their own way for the next five years, as the familiarity of Trump’s views and shortcomings, and his larger than life style, suggested that the US would find it hard to put any of the other democratic candidates into office ahead of him. US voters like what they know.

Then Trump could have finished the job – build a wall, overcome resistance to his pipelines, intimidate his political opponents, and raise the bar higher and higher on vehicle fuel economy and fracking, and to alienate Mexicans everywhere. If he finds a way to profitably export all the excess natural gas that has come from fracking, especially to new markets like China and India, Trump could “parlez” that achievement into a belief that he really was good for decarbonization, and enrich the USA at the same time, and all the while claim he was fighting climate change.

The truth is that the fracking industry is yet another case of a major cover up, and the methane released getting fracked gas out of the ground, if included in the calculation along with green house gases released at burning, would show that the USA had not moved an inch towards decarbonization, quite the contrary. In the process he would have dented onshore wind power, and seeded ex-fossil fuel executives into positions of power in a variety of major political roles, and seen a slowdown in wind, solar and battery installations, but more importantly, in making it ineligible for inclusion in most of the major power markets. Without that step renewables in the USA, would not get past first base.

While we have the utmost respect for all of the democratic candidates that have already entered the Presidential race for nomination, Bloomberg is a global name, with a history of active participation within the political dimension – he has fought against climate change – he has already been instrumental in closing down major coal plants across the US; he has fought for jobs, he has fought against existing gun laws, he has cut down shootings in New York, and slashed its carbon footprint.

But beyond that Bloomberg has, as Mayor of New York and in other roles, made an immigration system work fairly, protected LGBTQ rights, supported military veterans and even suggested raising taxes on wealthy individuals like Bloomberg himself.

He was unsure of whether or not to run, basing the decision on whether or not he thought other candidates could stand up to Trump, and it was only this week that he felt it was time to throw his hat in the ring. He will fund the campaign himself, offering to spend up to $20 million to get more voters registered, in five key battleground states.

His climate change credentials come from his role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and he has worked with various US States despite Trump’s attempts to drag the US backwards in this argument. He also created the Beyond Carbon campaign around coal, to bypass Federal Government and push US States and Cities to drop fossil fuels, and lubricated this with $500 million of his own money. And he is not just against coal, but also against the growth in natural gas – which essentially means he is against fracking.

Effectively his money has done more to put coal out of its misery than Trump’s campaign to sustain coal as part of his energy promises. It has been described as one of the most successful campaigns “in the history of the environmental movement.”

Bloomberg would sign back up for the Paris accord the day he entered the White House.

And yet, the reasons for making Bloomberg President are the same reasons for putting Trump into office. It is not because he is  “climate literate,” but despite that, because he is definitively “business literate.”

Bloomberg suffers none of the weaknesses of the other democratic candidates, and if one of them beat Bloomberg to democratic nomination, it will have to be because he or she runs an extraordinary campaign and inspires a following large enough to beat Trump, which will herald in a golden age of renewables.