Although former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is often called a centrist, in his case the term obscures more than it illuminates. Bloomberg is actually an ideological mishmash. On some issues he is somewhat conservative: security and policing, business and inequality. On others he is unabashedly liberal: gay rights, gun control, immigration, transportation, and climate change.
In every case, Bloomberg would argue that he is merely pragmatically pursuing the greater good, instead of ideology. In some cases -- the rights of protesters versus Bloomberg’s heavy-handed policing -- his definition of the public good is simply guided by his own ideology. In others, though -- most notably transportation and climate change -- Bloomberg adopted his progressive policies after years in City Hall demonstrated their wisdom to him. Mike Bloomberg didn’t run for mayor because he wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build bike lanes -- but that will be his legacy.
And so it is fitting that, on Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named Bloomberg special envoy for cities and climate change. Reuters reports, “Ban said Bloomberg will assist him in ‘consultations with mayors and related key stakeholders, in order to raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change.'”