Press & Media

Michael R. Bloomberg Names Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis and St. Louis as Winners in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Seven cities added to 20 total that will be awarded resources and technical support to help achieve their ambitious climate goals

MINNEAPOLIS, MN –  Today, next to the Mill City Museum, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg joined Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter to announce Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St. Louis as the next round of winning cities in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. These seven cities are the next round of cities to join ten previously announced winners – Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. – as 17 of the total 20 cities to be named winners of the Climate Challenge.

Launched in June, the American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million-dollar program that will accelerate efforts in 20 winning cities to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. Through the Climate Challenge – which is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative – Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St. Louis are accepted into a two-year acceleration program that will provide cities powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat their near-term carbon reduction goals.

Standing with Mayors Carter and Frey, Bloomberg highlighted the Twin Cities’ innovative and ambitious climate action plans for the Challenge, all of which are designed to reduce air pollution and citywide emissions with specifically from the transportation and buildings sectors – two areas that are on average responsible for 80% total of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority. Bloomberg recognized Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson for their commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment and economy for their residents.

“With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities are more important than ever in the fight against climate change. And they are driving America forward,” said Bloomberg. “In response to our Climate Challenge, cities all across the country – red and blue, big and small – put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals. But Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St. Louis broke out from the pack. Congratulations to them all! And I look forward to seeing them put their ideas into action.”

“Minneapolis has become a national leader on fighting climate change, with efforts ranging from our commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 to our award-winning Green Business program,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, we’re excited to do even more for our residents, making clean energy accessible for everyone and improving our city transit. We are proud to be a winner and have the opportunity to help set the example of smart policies for our economy, environment, and residents, for other cities across the U.S.”

“We are committed to building a 21st-century global community that works for all of us,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “We are excited to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge to expand our capacity for cleaner, more cost-effective energy and transportation solutions that benefit our city and region.”

Winners of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge will be provided robust technical assistance and a support package valued at $2.5 million per city. These resources include a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in. Cities will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners to implement their specific climate plans:

Minneapolis plans to develop Mobility-as-a-Service pilot, offering subscription service for unlimited transit use, an allotment of use for shared cars, bikes, scooters, and ride-hailing; increase the use of low-carbon mobility modes by non-traditional users by 10% through incentives and a full education and encouragement campaign; and implement comprehensive citywide solar strategy including focus on low-income onsite and community solar garden subscriptions.

Saint Paul plans to build out 35 mobility hubs to offer more low-carbon options and electric vehicle charging, eventually bringing 90% of residents within 10 minutes of 4-5 human-powered, electric or low-carbon mobility options; achieve greater carbon reduction through retrofits and tune-ups in municipal buildings; and develop solar workforce training and development programs in conjunction with increasing solar installation opportunities.

Chicago plans to accelerate energy code compliance and city workforce training; encourage new low-carbon mobility options, such as expanding bike-share to reach 100% of the City and developing policies that support car sharing and transit ridership while reducing vehicle ownership; define and expand the high-frequency public transit network to increase ridership by developing a strategy for increasing services; create an electric vehicle and solar readiness framework; and expand renewable energy procurement and the solar workforce to meet municipal electricity demand.

Indianapolis plans to accelerate energy efficiency in large buildings with the City of Indianapolis leading the way; provide new programs to incentivize public transportation and expand pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure as a part of a transit oriented development strategy; and pilot the City’s first energy resource center to make available information about energy efficiency incentives and rebates, public health and safety resources, and emergency preparedness and resilience toolkits.

St. Louis plans to leverage existing benchmarking and financial programs to significantly improve energy efficiency of private-sector buildings, as well as develop and execute a comprehensive solar action strategy for the community. Additionally, St. Louis will work with Bloomberg and partners to reduce transportation sector emissions by performing an analysis on vehicle electrification, and conducting outreach to accelerate the uptake of Electric Vehicles.

Cincinnati plans to install large-scale renewable generation to power the Greater Cincinnati Water Works utility; power the municipal energy load with 100% renewable energy; and advance energy efficiency programs for the commercial and residential buildings sectors including the development of a robust 2030 District to engage corporate partners around sustainability.

Columbus plans to deploy a workforce development program for energy efficiency auditors and increase the number of homes audited with a focus on the City neighborhoods with the highest rates of energy poverty; accelerate existing and add new financing programs for energy efficiency and renewables for commercial buildings; roll out a multimodal trip planning app to drive behavioral insights and engagement strategies to encourage mode share; and launch a communications campaign to increase ridership on newly expanded high-frequency transit lines.

The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge builds on the America’s Pledge initiative, which aims to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement, and underscores Mike Bloomberg’s dedication to climate action investments that translate city commitments into tangible climate achievements. Bloomberg will continue to announce the winners of the Climate Challenge on a rolling basis this year, highlighting the ongoing, ambitious, and impactful actions cities are taking every day to address the growing threat of climate change.

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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 Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, 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.