Bloomberg: Global Warming Tests America's Leadership

April 10, 2008 web_newsweek_0141

Georgetown University welcomed the second annual Newsweek Global Environment Leadership Conference to campus last week. Approximately 350 industry leaders, scholars, and policymakers participated in panel discussions examining issues related to global warming and the economy. The keynote address this year was delivered by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Last year's keynote address was delivered by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who proposed the idea that environmentalism is not opposed to economic development, and that both the environment and the economy can be protected and mutually benefit one another. Mr. Bloomberg seconded the idea and pushed it one step further. Mr. Bloomberg feels that 'going green' can actually improve the economy, "by reducing energy consumption and lowering energy costs. It's also a plus in recruiting and retaining top employees," Bloomberg said.

Mr. Bloomberg took the opportunity to talk about his efforts to reduce pollution and increase sustainability in New York. He said, "Cities are intensely competitive with one another, too. Increasingly, quality of life provides the winning edge in that competition. It's often what separates the front runners from the also-rans in the global economy. Believe me; I know where I want New York City to be in that race. And I know that -- as big as the benefits of environmentalism are, and as big as the risks of climate change if we don't act -- a lot of people would still rather do nothing."

Last year on Earth Day, Mr. Bloomberg introduced his PlaNYC initiative, which was established to make economic growth coincide with the predicted New York population growth to 9 million by the year 2030. "The growth we're forecasting will produce three-quarters of a million new jobs and billions of dollars worth of new economic activity," he said. "We saw that in order to stay ahead of the curve, we'd have to rebuild an aging infrastructure for delivering the water and energy our growing city needs."

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