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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Michael Bloomberg Targets Petrochemical Industry on Climate Change Crusade

Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and 11th richest man in the world, is now the world’s single largest funder of climate activism.

Bloomberg says that he has spent $500 million on shuttering over 70 percent of the coal plants in the United States, and he plans to match it to continue the effort. But with coal, this was a simpler effort.

Coal, because it was expensive and messy, was already on the way out. However, Bloomberg’s next target won’t be so easy to combat: plastic.

Petrochemicals make up our clothes, packaging and even fertilizer. These manufacturers face no such economic pressure to move on to something better. Plastics are cheap and considered the future for petroleum companies.

There are no easy solutions or substitutes which could cause these companies to flee to less restrictive countries, but Bloomberg is not deterred.

The former mayor pledged to block 120 new petrochemical plants in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia just last year.

A plant for $9.4 billion was blocked from starting construction in 2020, leaving landowners with property worth pennies on the dollar, previously worth millions.

And in St. James Parish, representatives from dozens of oil, gas and chemical companies, have joined a new group called the Louisiana Industry Sustainability Council.

“Out-of-state elites are sending nearly $100 million to Louisiana to dictate our future and our way of life,” read one of the group’s early organizing documents. “Louisianans are the best people to decide what’s right for Louisiana — not Michael Bloomberg.”

This situation has revealed the undemocratic nature of big philanthropy, said David Callahan, the founder of Inside Philanthropy, an independent news site that covers mega donors. “It goes to the heart of philanthropy’s lack of accountability,” he said. “Because, yeah, who is Mike Bloomberg to show up and start pushing around Louisianans?”

Bloomberg is unapologetic for his approach. “Just because it’s good economically for you, if it’s killing people, I don’t think we want to do that,” he said.

He has also dismissed concerns about his efforts limiting economic growth in areas far from his wheelhouse of NYC. “Human beings are innovative,” he said. “If they can’t make it this way, but there’s a profit to be made, they’ll find another way to make it.”

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