Michael Bloomberg is an unrepentant capitalist who, as he says in his 2017 book A Climate of Hope, is “not exactly your stereotypical environmentalist.” Yet over the past decade, Bloomberg has become arguably the biggest environmental philanthropist in the world — especially given the $500 million investment Bloomberg announced last month that he would soon make in rapidly moving the U.S. “Beyond Carbon,” off both coal and natural gas and to a “100% clean energy economy.” How did this happen?
It turns out one of the biggest factors in Bloomberg’s green transformation has been his friendship with Carl Pope, the longtime former head of the Sierra Club, whom Bloomberg first met about a decade ago, as Mayor of New York.
The two co-authored the book — and not just in the sense that Pope ghost-wrote Bloomberg’s opinions, as happens regularly when busy political and cultural celebrities take on a lesser-known co-author for some glamour project they may barely even read.
A Climate of Hope is an extended dialogue between Bloomberg and Pope, with the two alternating chapters throughout and at times even disagreeing on potentially important issues.
What there’s no disagreement on, however, is that Pope “convinced” his co-author to dive into massive environmental spending (a feat accomplished in part by showing the health-conscious Bloomberg the numbers on how lethal coal can be).
Pope is no stranger to controversy — perhaps unsurprising for a nonprofit leader who has raised money well into the nine figures.