The American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million competition to help cities and towns across the US fight climate change. The initiative will select 20 mayors across the US who are demonstrating the strongest leadership and commitment to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to make the US the only country to pull out of the agreement.
“Cities and local leaders are on the frontlines of the fight against climate change – the existential threat of our time,” said California Governor Edmund Brown Jr. (D) “This initiative will help cities redouble their efforts to spur innovation and curb carbon pollution.”
The challenge was recently launched by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and co-chair of America’s Pledge, through his Bloomberg Philanthropies organization. The challenge will further the goals of America’s Pledge, which voluntarily commits cities to reduce their emissions to 26 percent below 2005 levels.
The new challenge is part of Bloomberg’s $200 million American Cities Initiative. The initiative is a suite of investments designed to strengthen city halls and advance critical policies.
“Mayors don’t look at climate change as an ideological issue. They look at it as an economic and public health issue,” Bloomberg said. “Regardless of the decisions of the Trump administration, mayors are determined to continue making progress. The Challenge will work with our country’s most ambitious mayors to help them move further, faster towards achieving their climate goals.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies explained that cities selected for the program will participate in a two-year program that will expand their efforts to fight climate change. It’s open to the nation’s 100 most populous cities, which the organization said could deliver 20 percent of the US’s remaining Paris Agreement target.
“Cities across America are on the front lines of climate change – their residents are feeling the heat and watching the floodwaters rise around them,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is a partner in administering the program. “This challenge will empower America’s cities to pursue innovative policies and programs to cut their carbon pollution. NRDC is eager to work with these cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies and partner groups to help tackle the greatest environmental challenge of our generation.”
For a city to be eligible the must sign the We Are Still In declaration by June 19, 2018. Cities that can show their progress in fighting climate change and that show a deep ambition to use the next two years to increase their efforts. This challenge will focus on transportation and buildings, which Bloomberg Philanthropies said comprise 90 percent of citywide emissions and areas that mayors can impact.
The value of the services being offered to each winner is more than $2.5 million per each city. The resources offered will include climate advisors like NRDC and Delivery Associates. The advisors will facilitate development and passage of climate fighting policies and grants to help accelerate the enactment of such policies.
For the first round, cities can begin applying June 19 and have until July 18 to apply. Bloomberg Philanthropies will announce winners in the fall.Tweet