Can these three billionaire superfriends save the climate?
A trio of powerful billionaires is preparing to launch a big bipartisan climate initiative next month, Ryan Lizza reports in The New Yorker. The players: Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York City; Tom Steyer, a former hedge-fund manager who’s now devoting himself fulltime to the climate cause; and Hank Paulson, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and former treasury secretary under George W. Bush.
Not enough influential rich guys for you? OK, here are two more: Robert Rubin, another former treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs alum, will serve as an adviser to the new initiative, as will George Shultz, former secretary of state under Ronald Reagan.
No details yet on what the presumably well-funded climate initiative will aim to achieve.
Steyer is also moving forward with climate projects of his own, including a new anti-Keystone ad campaign that launched on Sunday. The first ad features Steyer standing on a ship along the Gulf Coast, making the point that much of the oil piped through Keystone XL would be exported. “Here’s the truth: Keystone oil will travel through America, not to America,” he says. Watch the ad:
Steyer hired Obama campaign veteran Jim Margolis to make the ads, Lizza reports:
Margolis came up with a million-dollar campaign consisting of four ninety-second commercials that will appear sequentially over four weeks, starting on September 8th, during the Sunday-morning political chat shows. He and Steyer call it the Keystone Chronicles. Each week, Steyer will appear in a new location. After the Gulf, he’ll go to Arkansas, near the site of a recent spill of Canadian crude. Then he’ll appear at a clean-energy manufacturing plant to discuss jobs. The series will end with Steyer in New York, on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, with the Manhattan skyline behind him, speaking about Hurricane Sandy and the impact of climate change. “It gives it a more documentary feel, in the sense that each one is different and you have to watch each week to see what he’s doing next,” Margolis said.
Climate activist (and Grist board member) Bill McKibben doesn’t mind having prosperous allies. Said McKibben of Steyer, “After years of watching rich people manipulate and wreck our political system for selfish personal interests, it’s great to watch a rich person use his money and his talents in the public interest.”
Can these rich guys change the game? We’ll be watching closely to find out.