20 Mayors to Get $70 Million in Climate Challenge

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Bloomberg to award 20 of the most populous cities with $70 million in technical support, based on demonstrated commitment to addressing climate change.

Numerous cities have taken climate action before or after the United States departed from the Paris Accord, but to be eligible for a new award opportunity worth $2.5 million per awarded city, they had to have signed onto a climate action declaration by June 19, 2018.

Applications for the American Cities Climate Challenge can now be submitted by the 100 most populous cities in America (based on the 2010 Census) for the $70 million American Cities Climate Challenge — to be powered by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Natural Resources Defense Council and Delivery Associates, which is team of experts working globally with governments to use data, technology, planning, monitoring and problem solving in public service delivery.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will select the 20 mayors that are “demonstrating the strongest leadership and commitment to move America forward on delivering the goals of the Paris Agreement — a 26 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels,” according to the announcement. Cities have the potential to deliver 20 percent of the remaining Paris Accord target, more than 200 million metric tons of carbon pollution by 2025, and this new funding opportunity will provide technical assistance and support to help get them to their goals.

Winning cities will receive:

  • A climate advisor to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies
  • Data, design and innovation resources to help local governments deliver programming
  • Leadership development support
  • Implementation coaching
  • Access to rapid response grants to accelerate impact
  • Peer-to-peer learning and networking

To be selected, cities must demonstrate a track record of achievement and “deep ambition” to ramp up progress in the next two years, and they’ll be tracked to deliver on results.

Addressing Building Emissions Through Climate Challenge

The American Cities Climate Challenge will focus specifically on transportation and building sectors, which typically total 90 percent of citywide emissions and are areas over which mayors have significant authority, according the the organization.

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

A group of 30 cities responded to a feasibility review (and eventual revision) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2022 through 2025 vehicle emissions rules by putting out an RFP for $10 billion in municipal electric vehicles to 40 automakers, truck makers and bus makers.

Based on the organization’s 2018 American Mayors Survey, cities are leading on climate change, but can do more. The survey indicated that cities encourage sustainable modes of transportation, but only 15 percent have experience promoting low-carbon new buildings or experience procuring renewable energy.

Bloomberg Philanthropies contributed $64 million to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign addressing building emissions, and other efforts addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) generation. Bloomberg also pledged a personal donation of $4.5 million to support the Paris Accord.

We Are Still In is coordinated by The American Sustainable Business Council, B Team, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Center for American Progress, Ceres, CDP, Climate Mayors, Climate Nexus, C40, C2ES, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Entrepreneurs, Georgetown Climate Center, ICLEI, National League of Cities, Rocky Mountain Institute, Second Nature, Sierra Club, Sustainable Museums, The Climate Group, We Mean Business, World Resources Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), according to its website.

To date, 2,812 city, state and business leaders signed the required declaration.

Applications for qualifying local governments are due by July 19, 2018.

Learn more about the American Cities Climate Challenge on Bloomberg.org.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Praetorian Digital. She is based in Massachusetts.