This year, we’ve been able to get an inside look at an important question: How ready are American cities to fight climate change? The answer is important to the future of our planet. Globally, cities are the source of 70 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly via the cars urban dwellers drive and the energy required to heat and cool their buildings. U.S. cities are responsible for a disproportionate share of the total.
Our inside look came through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge. It’s a $70 million effort aimed at accelerating work already happening on the ground in U.S. cities to reduce carbon pollution. More than 50 cities applied, and as co-leaders of the initiative, we visited almost 40 of them.
Hundreds of new mayors across the United States and around the world are settling into their new role as “city CEO.” It’s one of the toughest jobs in public service, and — as most people who hold the job will quickly point out — one of the most rewarding. That’s because mayors are uniquely situated to not only know many of their constituents by name, but also, by providing better services, to directly impact their lives.
The Follow the Data podcast features conversations with Bloomberg Philanthropies program leads and our partners – experts in the field, doing the work to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Each episode features a data point, illustrating the work of partners across Bloomberg Philanthropies five program areas: the arts, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – Climate Mayors, 20 Leading Cities, and New Partnerships Lead America’s Electric Transportation Future
This past month the United States sold its one-millionth electric car (more than 4 million have been sold globally). The event marks a significant milestone and demonstrates that mobility in the U.S. is on the threshold of a major technological transition to an electric mobility future. This monumental transportation transition is coupled with unprecedented levels of subnational engagement on climate change. Leadership on climate change and clean transportation is increasingly coming from states and cities who have come forward to uphold the Paris Climate Accord in the face of federal resistance.
Many low- and middle-income countries have little or no regulatory standards for vehicles.
For example, in the United States all cars must have seat-belts and airbags, which together reduce the risk of death by 61%. But in many countries where we work, car manufacturers are not required to install seat-belts or airbags, leaving the passengers at higher risk for death and injury.
That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries.
Fulfilling America’s Pledge – How Cities are Taking Charge in the Next Wave of Clean Energy Procurement
By Alexandra Rotatori, Rocky Mountain Institute and Celina Bonugli, World Resources Institute
Cities in the United States are uniquely positioned to spur growth in demand for renewable energy procurement, accelerate the transition to a clean energy system, and provide visible and practical examples for the country as whole. By demonstrating to states, regions, and the federal government that it is possible to take practical, actionable steps to decarbonize electricity use, city leaders have the potential to inspire impact far beyond their limited jurisdictions. (Case in point: the Washington, D.C., City Council just unanimously voted “yes” to require 100 percent of the district’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2032—against a background of political gridlock at the federal level.)
Fulfilling America’s Pledge on Climate Change Means Turning Data-Driven Research into Real World Action
By Carla Frisch, Principal at Rocky Mountain Institute
In the United States, as in every country around the world, opportunities for climate leadership exist at every level of governance. So despite what the headlines may say about current inaction on climate change at the federal level, businesses, cities, and states are laying the groundwork for America’s low carbon future. The thousands of day-to-day investment decisions made by businesses, local solutions implemented by mayors and city councils, and win-win energy and environmental policies set by state governors and legislatures are adding up.
Launched in July 2017 in response to President Trump’s announced intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate, the America’s Pledge initiative has developed a comprehensive model for transformation across all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, including electricity, buildings, transportation, industrial gases, and natural lands.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. At last month’s 5th Annual Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg announced the expansion of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, dedicating $86 million to support coastal communities across 10 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru and the US. The announcement marks the second phase of the initiative, expanding efforts into new countries.
By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies
Earlier this summer, I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the middle of a drenching monsoon. In this part of the world, monsoons are common and fortunately don’t deter our partners at various government ministries and nonprofits from carrying on their life-saving work. I found the same to be true 1,734 miles (2,784km) away in Manila, Philippines, where two days later, I connected with government and NGO partners from our Road Safety, Tobacco Control, and Data for Health Initiatives.
Though vastly different in many ways, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines face similar obstacles in both controlling tobacco and making roads safer, so that their citizens can live longer, healthier lives. And there’s a lot we can learn from these countries as they make progress on these critical public health issues.
Without action, road traffic crashes will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. That’s why the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety has dedicated $259 million over 12 years to implement interventions that have been proven to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries in low- and middle-income countries. In 2015 we began implementing evidence-based interventions in our global network of ten cities, strengthening road safety legislation in five targeted countries, and crash testing new vehicles in four world regions. One of the cities included in the initiative is Fortaleza, Brazil.
Kelly Larson of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team spoke to two partners about their efforts in Fortaleza and in other cities. Luis Sabóia is the Executive Secretary for the Department of Public Services in Fortaleza – where road traffic deaths dropped 32 percent from 2014 to 2017.