- Bloomberg Philanthropies named seven more cities as winners of its American Cities Climate Challenge: Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; Saint Paul, MN; and St. Louis.
- There are now just three spaces left for winning cities, after the group led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously honored Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, OR, San Diego, San Jose, CA, Seattle and Washington, DC.
- "Minneapolis has become a national leader on fighting climate change, with efforts ranging from our commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030 to our award-winning Green Business program,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, we’re excited to do even more for our residents, making clean energy accessible for everyone and improving our city transit.”
All seven cities have ambitious goals, including encouraging greater transit use, electrifying vehicle fleets, making buildings greener and emphasizing the use of renewable energy sources. During remarks to announce the seven winners, Bloomberg highlighted Minneapolis and Saint Paul for their efforts, which are designed to reduce carbon emissions in transportation and buildings, two areas that on average are responsible for 80% of a city’s total emissions.
Saint Paul and Columbus are notable for encouraging workforce development in renewable energy. St Paul is working to develop training on solar energy and to increase installation opportunities, while Columbus is looking to train up more energy efficiency auditors and focus those audits on homes in its poorer neighborhoods.
The potential economic impact of climate change is tremendous, and like cities preparing for greater automation of jobs, it is telling that cities are also preparing residents for new environmentally-friendly careers. “We are committed to building a 21st-century global community that works for all of us,” Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement.
There are now just three spots remaining in this challenge, one of several that Bloomberg has backed with his personal fortune in a bid to get cities to lead the way where the federal government appears to have abdicated responsibility. Winners each receive technical support valued at $2.5 million during the two-year program, and during that time if their ideas can scale nationwide, its impact could be wide-reaching.