Bloomberg targets buildings, gas stoves in climate push

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020

Michael Bloomberg rolled out a proposal today to end natural gas use and significantly ramp up energy efficiency with the goal of making all newly constructed buildings carbon dioxide emissions-free.

The plan for buildings, which also seeks significant efficiency upgrades for existing structures, is the third major climate change plan from the Democratic presidential candidate.

The former mayor of New York, who entered the race late, is spending millions of dollars of his own money on a campaign that is making climate a top-tier issue.

Buildings are responsible for roughly 12% of the United States’s carbon emissions. Factors such as gas appliances, as well as landlords who often have little incentive to install upgrades, make it a difficult sector to crack.

Bloomberg’s plan is light on additional mandates, instead focusing on tax breaks, low-interest financing and using the federal government’s power through expertise to state and local governments and as a buyer itself.

“While the Climate-Denier-in-Chief remains stuck in the past, I’m running for president to rebuild our country and lead us into a clean energy future,” Bloomberg said of President Trump in a statement with his plan.

He said his building plan would create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It includes new incentives to replace inefficient or gas-powered appliances such as water heaters, encourage mortgage lenders to require home energy audits for purchases, have governments set zero-carbon requirements for new buildings and significantly improve existing energy efficiency standards for appliances.

“Accelerating the transition to 100% clean buildings will cut pollution, save people money, and create new jobs — and I’ve helped prove that as a mayor, a business leader, and an environmentalist,” he said. “As president, I’ll super-charge this work and reclaim America’s rightful place as the global leader on these issues.”

Bloomberg, a media executive, is one of the richest people in the world. He has used his money to further various causes, including electing Democrats and trying to shut down fossil fuel production and usage.

The plan adds to his previous climate-related platforms released last month: one to boost international climate pledges and one to reduce emissions from electricity generation (Greenwire, Dec. 10, 2019; Greenwire, Dec. 13, 2019).