Press & Media

Mike Bloomberg Announces Potential Impact of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge

$70 million program supports 25 U.S. cities to help them meet their ambitious climate goals and help keep the United States in the Paris Agreement

ORLANDO, FL – Today, joining Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) General Manager and CEO Clint Bullock at the OUC Gardenia campus, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the potential impact of programs pursued in the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge are projected to eliminate 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025—comparable to shuttering 10 coal plants or taking 8.5 million cars off the road for one year. Climate action will also improve lives for millions of citizens around the country, through advancements in public transit, cleaner air, and cheaper energy bills.

 “Cities are the hub of American life. Roughly 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, and the largest cities generate almost 85 percent of the country’s GDP. Globally, they account for more than 70 percent of carbon emissions,” said Bloomberg. “And while cities are where the problems are, they’re also where the solutions are. In the era of Trump, U.S. cities are taking up the mantle of climate leadership. That’s why we created the American Cities Climate Challenge—to help cities meet their ambitious goals and curb emissions where it counts most.”

Including the actions winning cities are taking outside of the Climate Challenge, the 25 winning cities will be on track to eliminate over 75 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the next seven years. See more on the climate impact summary here.

The American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million two-year acceleration program that empowers Mayors to deliver proven and innovative solutions that have the most quantifiable impact. With all 25 winners announced, the cities are embarking on the next phase of work as they start to implement their impactful policies and programs to cut carbon pollution.

The 25 winning cities are (in alphabetical order): Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Honolulu, HI; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Saint Paul, MN; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; St. Petersburg, FL and Washington, D.C.

As winners of the Climate Challenge, the 25 cities are provided with robust technical assistance and on-site support from world-class experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Delivery Associates and other partners to ensure cities have the tools, training, and capabilities to track their progress and meet their goals.

“Our cities are a tremendous force in the fight against climate change, and this analysis underscores their power to lead our nation forward,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the face of increasingly unforgiving wildfires, devastating hurricanes, dramatic temperature swings and more—the decisions we make today will determine the fate of our children, and generations to come. These mayors are not waiting on Washington to build a better future; they’re starting right in the in their own backyard.”

Winning cities will advance progress on their goals by focusing on two areas where cities can overall deliver the most impact: the transportation and buildings sectors.

Key program focus areas include:

  • Reducing single occupancy vehicle use: Seattle, Charlotte, Honolulu, San Antonio, San Diego
  • Expanding transit: Honolulu, San Antonio, Denver
  • Passing policies to reduce pollution from large buildings: Austin, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, St. Louis
  • Building new bicycle and pedestrian networks:Portland, San Jose, Austin, Atlanta, St. Petersburg, Charlotte, Honolulu

Through the Challenge, the winning cities earn a spot in a two-year acceleration program, which will help them reach their carbon reduction goals. Each city’s capacity-building package includes services valued at up to $2.5 million: staffing and technical assistance such as funding for a team member to help develop and pass high-impact policies, training for senior city leadership to assist with their implementation, and citizen engagement support to maximize buy-in from the community.

By bringing together a robust network of climate-forward city halls, subject matter experts, and world-class partners, the Challenge is also creating a forum for cities to work together, sharing key learnings and resources that will help them address the challenges unique to their own communities.

The 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. See more about the American Cities Initiative here.

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 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 charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, 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.

Contact: Lee Cochran – lee@bloomberg.org