Inspired by our most recent film, Paris to Pittsburgh, National Geographic launched a new Your Shot photo assignment, calling for citizen photographers to document local climate leadership in their communities for the chance to be featured online on National Geographic’s digital platform.
This episode of the podcast features a conversation with Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic Photographer and Your Shot Editor and Katherine Oliver, of Bloomberg Philanthropies and executive producer of Paris to Pittsburgh.
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.
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.
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.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform small-scale fisheries management. One of our partners, Rare, specializes in local fishing reforms, targeting some of the 12 million small-scale fishers that operate 15km from shore.
The C40 Climate Leadership Group has been helping cities achieve climate goals for over a decade, and their climate planning tools are now public and available to all.
IMT’s Julie Hughes says, “Cities are not only being bold and visionary in their commitments; they’re being strategic and pragmatic, developing and implementing plans in a data-informed method. It’s essential. We can’t afford to take steps that we think will achieve our climate goals. We need confidence in our approaches; we need to deliberately choose actions based on strong data.”
A partner in the American Cities Climate Challenge, the NRDC’s Kimi Narita shares her thoughts on why cities should apply to the American Cities Climate Challenge.