Bloomberg Announces 20th Climate Challenge Winner, Expands Program

January 04, 2019

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg joined St. Petersburg, Florida Mayor Rick Kriseman in the first days of 2019 to announce St. Petersburg as the twentieth winning city in Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge. St. Petersburg joins nineteen other winners announced last year: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Saint Paul, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

Notably, Bloomberg also announced the expansion of the program’s total winning cities from 20 to 25, citing the strength of city applications to the program. The program will now work with 25 cities to accelerate their ambitious efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. The announcement noted that Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Climate Challenge will now provide a total of 25 of the largest U.S. cities with technical support and expertise crucial to meeting their ambitious carbon reduction goals.

The Climate Challenge is part of the more than $200 million Bloomberg American Cities Initiative designed to help cities like St. Petersburg achieve critical near-term goals, according to a January 3 news release issued by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Alongside Mayor Kriseman, Bloomberg highlighted St. Petersburg’s innovative and ambitious climate action plan for the Challenge, which is designed to reduce air pollution and citywide emissions 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 Mayor Kriseman’s commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment for St. Petersburg residents.

“With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities like St. Petersburg – that are taking bold action on climate change – are more important than ever to encourage even more bottom-up progress,” said Bloomberg. He added, “The response to our Climate Challenge has been so positive – from mayors around the country – that we’ve decided to select five additional winning cities. Tackling climate change goes hand in hand with improving public health and creating jobs, and it’s great to see cities leading where Washington won’t.”

“As a coastal city, the effects of climate change are more apparent than ever to the residents of St. Petersburg.” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. He added, “Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, we’re excited to expand our efforts to achieve our near-term emissions goals and make our city as healthy, safe, and climate-resilient as possible.”

About the Challenge

Launched in June 2018, the American Cities Climate Challenge is a 70 million-dollar program that will accelerate efforts in 25 winning cities to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. In an overview, the organization noted that through the Climate Challenge – which is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative – St. Petersburg is accepted into a two-year acceleration program that will provide powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat its near-term carbon reduction goals.

Winning cities of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge are provided robust technical assistance and a support package to help them achieve their carbon reduction goals. 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.

St. Petersburg will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners to implement their specific climate plans, specifically to: implement the first utility community solar program for energy equity, with the aim of bringing cost- and energy-efficient power to low-income areas of St. Petersburg. The city also plans to scale up financing models for energy efficiency and renewable energy, while expanding its residential solar co-op program.

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.

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.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies, according to its website 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. Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million in 2017 alone, and continues to create opportunities for cities to address the most pressing needs across the country. The organization prides itself on “taking a data-driven approach to global change.”


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