Former mayor New York City Michael Bloomberg has been named as the new United Nations (UN) envoy for cities and climate change.
The billionaire businessman and philanthropist’s new role was announced on Friday by the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Ban said Bloomberg will assist him in “consultations with mayors and related key stakeholders, in order to raise political will and mobilise action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change”.
In a statement, Bloomberg said that cities were among the largest polluters of greenhouse gases. He added that matters were set to get worse, with populations expected the rise dramatically in the coming decades.
“Cities account for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and two-thirds of the world’s energy use today, and their total population is projected to double by 2050”, he said.
“So the steps they take now to combat climate change will have a major impact on the future of our planet. Cities have shown they have the capacity and the will to meet this challenge.”
The UN has taken the driving seat on matters of climate change, with Ban previously speaking out against the most prolific polluters and calling for ways in which governments can begin to bridge the gap between their policies and climate change.
Meanwhile last month, Bloomberg gave his financial backing to an initiative in which mayors from some of the major cities across the US united to tackle energy efficiency in buildings.
He left office as New York’s mayor in December 2013, having presided over policies that saw the city’s air quality improve by 19%, leaving it well on target for a 30% reduction by 2030.
Bloomberg was named as Blue & Green Tomorrow’s sustainable global politician of the year for 2013.