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I'm a big fan of words. Poetry, lyrics, a well-turned phrase, a snippet of theatrical dialogue, a powerful slogan. Each of these word genres has value--they inspire, or tug at heartstrings, or perfectly capture an important feeling that's real and hard to explain. We probably all have a favorite song or movie line that has taken residence in our head for years.

To life and relationships, language is everything.

But when it comes to the politics of climate change, while a candidate's words matter a lot to me, they are far less important than their actions. That's why I'm supporting Mike Bloomberg for president.

In the Democratic field of candidates for 2020, there are many capable and worthy candidates. Virtually every one of them has a climate platform that says the right things--climate change is real, we must move away from fossil fuels, and we must embrace clean solar and wind energy. I've been working in the environmental movement for almost two decades, and this is the first time I've seen climate change garner this much attention from this many candidates. Their words are inspiring to me as an American and as an environmental activist.

But what about action? When I look beyond the words and to the record of accomplishments, no candidate comes close to Mike's incredible record.

As mayor of New York, Mike was a champion of reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency, expanding parks, improving public transportation, and moving the city's vehicle fleet toward becoming entirely electric or hybrid by 2024. New York reduced emissions by 14 percent during his time as mayor, nearly double the national rate over the same time period. That's the kind of action I want from elected officials.

Mike's actions extend well beyond New York. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, he funded campaigns to move us away from dirty coal plants and toward clean energy. Since 2011, more than 300 coal plants have announced their retirement--more than half the entire U.S. fleet. That list includes the two largest and dirtiest coal-burning power plants right here in Arkansas. The result? Cleaner air and healthier Arkansans.

After President Trump unilaterally withdrew our country from the Paris Climate Agreement, Mike launched "America's Pledge" and rallied a diverse coalition of states, cities, businesses, and universities to uphold America's commitment to the world--and donated $10 million to the United Nations to make up for the U.S. shortfalls caused by our withdrawal. Further, on a worldwide scale, Mike formed and funded Global Cities, as well as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, connecting mayors across the world in their efforts to reduce climate pollution and take positive action.

Mike has a proven record of positive environmental action at the local, state, national, and international levels. He not only talks about climate change and says the right things, he's rolled up his sleeves and gone to work on the problem. That's the kind of leadership and spirit that I want to see in the White House.

Mike has a great environmental record, but he also has a plan for what's next. Recently, Mike built on his "Beyond Coal" campaign by announcing his "Beyond Carbon" plan, a $500 million initiative aimed at retiring every dirty coal plant in the country by 2030 and fighting the construction of polluting gas plants that seek to replace them. He knows that if we are serious about fighting climate change, we cannot retire coal and replace it with a fuel like gas that also contributes heavily to our greenhouse gas problem.

All of these efforts not only help clean our air and improve our health, they also lead to millions of good-paying clean-energy jobs across the country. The solar energy industry now employs more people than the coal mining industry. Solar and wind energy jobs are increasing every quarter--imagine the economic impact that a fully unleashed clean-energy industry could have on our country. Mike knows this is possible, and he'll provide the leadership at the top.

In short, climate change requires a leader with both a proven record of success and a plan that builds on that record. I'm beyond ready for that kind of person to step up and occupy the Oval Office. Mere words are no longer enough.

For our climate, our health, and our economy, I'm supporting Mike Bloomberg for president. I hope you'll join me.

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Glen Hooks is a native Arkansan, a father of two fantastic sons, and a longtime environmental activist here in the Natural State.

Editorial on 01/18/2020

Print Headline: For the climate

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