There was quite a love-in this afternoon between "Red" Ken
Livingstone, one of England’s most popular left-wingers, and billionaire
Mike Bloomberg, who mentioned at one point that since he owns
a house in London he helps to pay some of Ken’s salary. It’s worth remembering
that Livingstone at one point was too much even for the UK Labour Party, but
nothing succeeds like success, and Bloomberg made a point of reiterating that
Livingstone’s popularity ratings went up more than 10 points after he introduced
congestion charging in London.
What’s more, Livingstone did a great job of painting himself as business-friendly:
he had no particular intention of introducing congestion charging when he was
first elected in 1997, he said, but London’s businesses complained to him about
the £2 billion per year that London was losing thanks to traffic congestion,
and so he was simply responding to them in doing something about it.
I’ll add a link here to Bloomberg’s speech when it appears on the nyc.gov website.
But here’s a snippet:
As we developed the initiatives making up PlaNYC,
we saw that almost all of them, whether they have to do with encouraging transit-oriented
housing, or improving natural drainage by greening our city streets, or promoting
energy conservation in homes, businesses, schools and City buildings: You
name it — virtually all of them will also cut greenhouse gas production.
Addressing one’s carbon footprint is very much a positive-sum game, in other
words. David Miller, the mayor of Toronto announced a new website,
Zero Footprint Toronto, which
will help people not only in Toronto but around the world calculate their carbon
footprint and work out ways to minimize it or eradicate it entirely. Businesses
and cities are already on board; individuals are coming on board. All that’s
left is national governments, and they will surely follow sooner or later.