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Power of Partnerships Q&A with the C40 Climate Leadership Group

C40’s David Miller and Mayor Rahm Emanuel during the North American Climate Summit, Chicago 2017.Credit: Antonio Dickey/C40

On June 1st, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the American Cities Climate Challenge, an opportunity for 20 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents. The program specifically focuses on finding solutions with 2020 targets in the buildings and transportation sectors, which together make up the bulk of most cities’ carbon pollution and are areas over which local governments exercise significant authority. Applications are open to the 100 most populous cities until July 18th and Challenge winners will receive a robust technical assistance support package worth $2.5 million per city featuring some of our best-in-class partners like the C40 Climate Leadership Group (C40).

To highlight some of the technical expertise offered, we’re featuring a Q&A series with some of the Challenge partners. Below, C40’s David Miller – who serves as the Regional Director for North America and will help with mayor and city engagement for the Challenge – shares his thoughts on why your city should apply to the Climate Challenge.

Q: What’s one reason cities should apply for the Challenge?

A: In 2008, for the first time in the history of human settlements, more people lived in urban areas – in cities – than outside them. This change has profound implications on many levels, and we are already seeing the leadership of the world’s greatest cities asserted internationally, particularly on climate change. In the United States, the actions of the present Administration in threatening to withdraw from the Paris Accord and in abandoning climate action means that the leadership of mayors and cities is essential and urgent. In that context, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is timed perfectly. It seeks to help the largest 100 US cities, through the leadership of their mayors, act faster in the areas of transportation and buildings to implement effective strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Cities demonstrating leadership should apply to gain significant resources that will help their actions move far faster and further.

Q: What expertise will C40 bring to the Challenge?

A: At the C40 Climate Leadership Group, we have been helping cities achieve climate goals for over a decade. Our climate planning tools are now public and available to all, and we will be holding a special webinar to help non-member cities learn these global best practices, including those eligible to apply for the Climate Challenge. We are also working with our US members to assist them in the application process – even some of the largest and climate progressive cities wish to see their actions proceed farther and faster!

Q: What’s the most exciting trend happening in cities today?

A: Globally, the mayors of the world’s leading cities have made clear and unequivocal commitments to actions to mitigate climate risk, actions in the areas of transportation, buildings, energy generation and waste management that will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but build better cities. We know from our experience that cities will propose effective and realistic projects, but what is exciting today is that more and more cities have found ways to design projects that not only mitigate against climate change, but also meet economic (job) and equity goals. Mayors want their cities to be prosperous and inclusive – the good news is that smart climate action reduces the waste that causes carbon pollution while making the city a better place to live for all. Mayors know that, and the Climate Challenge is a great way to move forward with real action, now.