Bloomberg announces $70m climate challenge to help cities reduce emissions

New York,   Former New York Mayor and billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg on Friday announced a $70 million American Cities Climate Challenge, a major new effort to expedite progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The climate challenge is open to the 100 most populous cities in America.

Through a competitive process, Bloomberg Philanthropies will select 20 Mayors who demonstrate the strongest leadership and commitment to move America forward on delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement — a 26 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels.

The selected cities will participate in a two-year programme designed to significantly deepen the impact of their efforts to tackle climate change.

The $70 million investment includes funding from a philanthropic partner, with the possibility of more partners joining the effort in the future.

The announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the Trump administration’s statement of its intent to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

Since June 2017, US cities — along with states, businesses, and other non-federal actors — have united as drivers of ambitious climate action, continuing the work to cut emissions while protecting public health and fostering economic growth.

The actions taken by these non-federal actors will be aggregated and quantified through America’s Pledge.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies programme will select 20 cities that will lead America’s efforts to reduce climate emissions.

Together, these cities have the potential to deliver 20 per cent of the remaining Paris Agreement target, over 200 million megatonnes of carbon pollution by 2025, the equivalent of closing 48 coal-fired power plants.

To be eligible to apply for the challenge, Mayors from these 100 cities must have signed the ‘We Are Still In’ declaration by June 19.

To be selected, cities must demonstrate a track record of achievement and a deep ambition to use the next two years to ramp up progress.

The programme will focus specifically on transportation and building sectors, which typically total 90 per cent of citywide emissions and are areas over which Mayors have significant authority.

“Mayors don’t look at climate change as an ideological issue. They look at it as an economic and public health issue,” said Bloomberg, who is the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and co-chair of America’s Pledge, in a statement.

“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.”

The American Cities Climate Challenge will also support America’s Pledge initiative, chaired by Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown, helping coordinate between key real estate, finance, and private sector leaders, as well as Governors, to track and report ongoing progress.