Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge Releases Winning Strategies for Cities to Fight the Climate Crisis, Reduce Air Pollution, and Improve Lives
If adopted by the 100 largest U.S. cities, the winning strategies could collectively reduce city emissions by 28.5% meeting their share of the U.S. national Paris Target by 2025
COPENHAGEN, DK — Today at the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit, eight U.S. Mayors joined Mike Bloomberg to release the American Cities Climate Challenge Climate Action Playbook, a strategic guide to accelerate and deepen climate action in cities. The Playbook highlighted 30 high-impact actions that are currently being implemented in twenty-five of the largest U.S. cities through the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge.
The Playbook, produced by the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge and its partners, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is designed specifically for the largest cities to address the climate crisis and build cleaner, safer, and healthier communities.
If the 100 largest U.S. cities took on the strategies outlined in the Playbook, their total combined emissions would drop by 28.5%, meeting their share of the U.S. national target of reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025 – the goal set under the Paris Climate Agreement. This work would result in carbon reductions of 224 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 47.5 million cars off the road for a year, or shutting down 57 coal fired power plants for one year.
“Through the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, 25 major U.S. cities have taken ambitious action to fight climate change, and they’re already seeing strong results,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “Now, our Climate Action Playbook will help spread their successes to other cities across the U.S. and the world, drawing on the proven policies and programs that are reducing emissions, strengthening infrastructure, and improving public health. Cities are vital leaders in the global climate fight – and we’re giving them the tools to make a difference.”
Through the Climate Challenge, 25 of the 100 most populous U.S. cities are working with world-class experts from leading organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and C40, to meet their ambitious climate goals, ramping up action specifically in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings. The Playbook was presented at the C40 World Mayors Summit by the mayors of eight of the 25 Climate Challenge cities: Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Honolulu, HI; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; San Antonio, TX; and Seattle, WA.
Since the launch of the Climate Challenge in 2018, winning cities have successfully implemented bold policies that are already rapidly reducing emissions. Recent wins include San Jose’s building electrification reach code, expansion of low-carbon public transit in Washington D.C. and Denver, and Albuquerque’s move towards transitioning to a 100% municipal electric fleet.
“As we work to decrease carbon emissions and air pollution in keeping with the Paris Climate Agreement, the next decade will be crucial. We must act quickly,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “The American Cities Climate Challenge Climate Action Playbook will slash the time it takes for cities to execute proven strategies to help us meet crucial global climate goals. Early adopter cities have innovated, adapted and documented. Now, we can improve the velocity of global efforts to address emissions and air quality where it counts… at the city level.”
“As a coastal city, Boston is on the frontlines of this global crisis and we understand the urgency to act. It’s never been more important for cities to lead on climate and Bloomberg Philanthropies has been and continues to be a critical partner in this work,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This week, Boston released its updated Climate Action Plan, a roadmap to significantly reduce our emissions, especially in our buildings and across our transportation sector. Boston is proud to join with our partners as we continue to take major steps toward our ultimate goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and honoring the commitment we made through the Paris Agreement.”
“Climate change is the single most pressing issue of our time,” said Honolulu Mayor Caldwell. “I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve already made in Honolulu in addressing this issue, but we know the hardest work is yet to come. As we move toward a more sustainable future, meeting with other world leaders will give us a chance to share our challenges and learn from each other as we tackle the climate crisis head on.”
“Today, we demonstrate again how cities are taking the lead on climate when the Federal Government continues to stand on the sidelines,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “We know that while cities account for the bulk of global carbon emissions, they are also major drivers of climate solutions. That is why Philadelphia is leading efforts to tackle the global climate emergency through policies that are equitable and effective. We already have plans to reduce carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, but thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies we are accelerating our efforts.”
“In Portland, we’re proud to be trailblazers and we don’t shy away from difficult problems. We know we have to take bold steps to combat the climate crisis, and we’re up for the challenge,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “We’re committed to doing this in a way that centers the needs and wants of frontline communities and prioritizes our most vulnerable community members. We don’t have time to waste. Thanks to the support of the American Cities Climate Challenge, we’re going further faster on decarbonization than we otherwise could.“
“It is our collective responsibility to prepare for a future that is projected to have hotter temperatures, longer droughts and more intense rain events,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “When it comes to climate action and adaptation, our borders do not stop at the city limits or county line. I am deeply grateful for the ongoing support from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge that is helping spur municipal leaders to act and create significant momentum by pursuing a common goal.”
“The White House has abdicated its responsibility to combat climate change, so cities like San Jose are leading the way to dramatically reducing our carbon emissions,” said San Jose Mayor Liccardo. “With the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the NRDC, San Jose became the first major U.S. city to ban natural gas in new residential and municipal construction, the largest U.S. city to launch a community choice energy program, and deployed the largest electric bus fleet of any U.S. airport. We’re drawing less than 20% of our electricity from fossil fuels, a share that we’ll push to zero while we concurrently electrify our transportation and building infrastructure.”
“Seattle doesn’t have the luxury of climate denial, and we are already seeing the devastating impacts of climate change on our city, our region, and our planet. In the face of our federal government’s failure to act, cities like Seattle will continue to lead the way on climate. In Seattle, we’re committed to being part of the solution to our climate crisis, and to pioneering innovative policies that protect our environment, our economy, and our children’s futures. We’re not just thinking about tomorrow, but about the next 100 years, too. We know that the communities hit the hardest by climate change are most often our historically under-served communities of color, so as we develop and implement new policies, we must continue to evaluate the race and social justice impacts,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Our action to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change will help create a healthier and more just Seattle with a stronger economy. I thank Bloomberg Philanthropies and the American Cities Climate Challenge for their support that has provided critical momentum in achieving our goals.”
The release of the Climate Action Playbook comes at a critical time, as dire reports from the past year outline the economic, health, and environmental threats of the growing climate crisis. As cities and local leaders around the world work to address these challenges, the Climate Action Playbook offers a roadmap for leaders looking to duplicate the success of Climate Challenge cities.
“Mayors aren’t waiting to address climate change. We’re working together now — across traditional divides and across national borders — to foster innovative solutions that reduce emissions and improve the lives of our residents,” said Karla Rubilar, Intendenta, Santiago de Chile. “Today’s new Climate Action Playbook from my American peers is a welcome addition to our toolbox of climate solutions. I look forward to exploring how we can bring these strategies back to Santiago – and I encourage Mayors from all parts of the world to do the same.”
Some of the most effective strategies outlined in the Playbook include: initiatives to set benchmarking and performance policies for building energy use; decarbonize buildings; improve public transit speed, reliability and user experience; expand urban pedestrian & micro mobility access; procure renewable energy for municipal demand; and promote EV adoption through infrastructure and education.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
About the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge
Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge was formed with an investment of $70 million to enhance the work already being done by mayors across the U.S. and to support cities in the fight against climate change. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge aims to go beyond the theoretical and scale up high-impact urban climate solutions that are already proven to succeed – specifically, from the buildings and transportation sectors. World-class partners for the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge will be led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Delivery Associates. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is part of Mike Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a suite of more than $200 million in investments to strengthen city halls and advance critical policies.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.