Newest American Cities Climate Challenge Winners Announced

November 06, 2018
American Cities Climate Challenge Winners

Hawaii’s capital has been added as eighteenth of 20 cities to be awarded resources and technical support to help achieve their ambitious climate goals.

This past weekend, on November 4, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to announce Honolulu as the next winning city in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge.

Just last week, on October 29, seven cities were named as the next round of winning cities, and included: Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. The recently-announced winning cities join the previously announced winners – Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, DC. The final two cities are expected to be announced later this year.

During an event in Hawaii’s capital city on November 4, alongside Mayor Caldwell, Bloomberg highlighted Honolulu’s innovative and ambitious climate action plan for the Challenge. The Plan is is designed to reduce air pollution and citywide emissions specifically from the transportation and buildings sectors – two areas that are on average responsible for 80 percent total of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority. Bloomberg recognized Mayor Caldwell for his 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 across the country are driving America forward – and Honolulu is helping lead the way,” said Bloomberg. “Their plan for a Carbon-Free Corridor will steer the state – and our country – toward a greener future,” added Bloomberg.

“Being selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of the top 20 cities in the United States committed to tackling climate change demonstrates that our island citizens are leading at a national level and our focus on climate resilience is inspiring others,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. He added, “Every day more residents and businesses realize that fossil fuels are both a drag on our economy and directly responsible for bigger hurricanes and other dangerous climate impacts. This well-earned award will help us accelerate the transition to a 100% clean energy lifestyle in Honolulu.”

Spotlight on City Initiatives

An overview of Climate Challenge winners provided in the news releases reports that the cities will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners to implement their specific climate plans:

  • Honolulu’s plans include opening the first 11 miles of rail transit there, creating an emission-free mobility option along one of the state’s most congested highway corridors; maximizing the number of residents and business who can locate walkable neighborhoods connected by carbon-free travel choices such a bikeshare, electric scooters, electric buses and rail; and analyzing the feasibility of a Go Zone for Waikiki that increases the use of zero-emission travel in Honolulu’s densest neighborhood and decreases the noise and pollution from fossil fuel transportation
  • 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.

About the American Cities Climate Challenge

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 announce the final winners of the Climate Challenge later this year, highlighting the ongoing, ambitious, and impactful actions cities are taking every day to address the growing threat of climate change.

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. Winners of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge will be provided robust technical assistance and a support package to help them achieve their 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.

Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the 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.

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