In response to remarks by billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on Thursday, climate campaigners denounced as both "absurd" and "offensive" his comparison of environmentalists demanding earth-saving policies to xenophobic supporters of Trump enthusiastically pushing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
With new word out of his camp that Bloomberg is seriously considering a run for president in 2020 as a Democratic candidate, the billionaire media and financial mogul's appearance at the summit—which critics have decried as being too friendly to business interests while locking out Indigenous voices and the members of the climate justice movement—drew loud protest.
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) September 13, 2018
Bloomberg dismissed the group for being "environmentalists protesting an environmental conference."
"It reminds me of people who want to build a wall along the Mexican border to keep people out from a country we go to for vacations. Something's crazy here," Bloomberg told the crowd.
Bloomberg's statement mocking the demonstrators was slammed by climate action leaders as "absurd and offensive," especially coming from someone framing himself as a political leader on the issue while continuing to promote planet-killing policies like fracking and expanded reliance on oil and gas.
"There's nothing 'crazy' about opposing fossil fuels," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement. "To the contrary, given the perilous condition of our planet's future, anything less than a complete rejection of dirty oil and gas is the truly crazy position to hold."
The protesters were not deterred, with Cindy Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance saying after the group was removed from the room, "Our planet is not for sale, our communities are not for sale, our air and water is not for sale. They cannot commodify the commons."
The GCAS 9: These activists disrupted Michael Bloomberg's address at Gov. Brown's Global Climate Action Summit. Holding a banner saying "Capitalism is killing my community" and chanting "Mother Earth is not for sale!", they were just removed from the hall and surrounded by police pic.twitter.com/mp8MphmZOz
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) September 13, 2018
"Our planet is not for sale, our communities are not for sale, our air and water is not for sale. They cannot commodify the commons." - Cindy Wiesner of @ggjalliance, who interrupted Michael Bloomberg's speech at Brown's climate summit yesterday, denouncing "climate capitalism" pic.twitter.com/A7CGm9A9ez
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) September 14, 2018
Hundreds of protesters assembled outside the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Thursday, attempting to block key organizer Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) from entering and denouncing him for pushing corporate-friendly climate proposals and allowing fracking to continue in California while promoting the state—and himself—as a leader in the fight against the climate crisis.
"Mike Bloomberg and Governor Jerry Brown are pro-fracking apologists for an industry that is driving our planet to the brink of climate chaos," Hauter said. "They are the crazy ones."