Those wondering what's in store for Mayor Michael Bloomberg after he leaves office got at least part of the answer Tuesday, when it was announced that he will continue to have a leadership role with an international climate group, an area that seems destined to become one of the mayor's greatest legacies. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
He was not known as an environmentalist when he took office, but from his groundbreaking PlaNYC to thousands of tree plantings to the planned solar-power facility announced Monday, sustainability will be a Bloomberg legacy.
Now, though, he's stepping down as chair of the C40 group, a network of cities taking steps to fight climate change. The incoming chair, Eduardo Paes, who is the mayor of Rio de Janiero, has asked him to stay on as board president.
"I told him that he's not going to be on vacations or playing golf," Paes said. "He's going to keep giving everything that he learned here as mayor of New York, helping us deal with other cities."
Bloomberg is planning a January vacation to Hawaii and New Zealand, but it's clear that he won't rest when it comes to his signature issues.
"Now, the mayor is free from the daily regime of what it takes to be mayor, and can fight for those issues, whether they be climate change, gun control, public health," says Kevin Sheekey, a longtime Bloomberg aide.
Bloomberg, with an estimated net worth of $31 billion, will do so in part through his foundation, which has already pledged $50 million to the Sierra Club to work on closing coal-fired power plants.
Bloomberg figures to remain involved not just in public policy, but also in politics. His own political career may be coming to an end, but he's shown a willingness to spend millions of dollars of his own personal fortune to back candidates who support gun control, a pattern that appears likely to continue.
While focused on on gun control and immigration policy, Bloomberg said Tuesday that he'll also consider candidates' records on climate.
"I've certainly been speaking out and plan to do that, and I will make phone calls and do everything I can to help those people who want to protect the health of our planet get re-elected," he said.
"I've always thought that Mike Bloomberg can be the best parts of Bill Gates and Bill Clinton all rolled up into one," Sheekey said. "He brings business expertise, he brings a philanthropic expertise, and he brings now a political expertise."
For now, though, there's a city to run, at least for the next 35 days.