- Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Friday the final five winners of its American Cities Climate Challenge: Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Denver; Orlando, FL; and San Antonio. The total number of winning cities stands at 25.
- The five winners will join the cohort for a two-year acceleration program that provides them with money and other resources to help them hit their goals to combat climate change.
- "It’s great to see Albuquerque, Austin, Denver, Orlando and San Antonio step up and meet our Climate Challenge with ambitious plans for tackling carbon emissions, and we’re glad to support them as they build healthier and stronger cities," former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
This final announcement marks the end of a long progress of revealing winners, which began several months ago. Bloomberg gradually released the names of the winning cities for the $70 million challenge: Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, NC; Chicago; Cincinnati; Columbus, OH; Honolulu; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Portland, OR; Saint Paul, MN; San Diego; San Jose, CA; Seattle; St. Louis; St. Petersburg, FL and Washington, DC.
Despite differences between the five final winning cities, there are definite commonalities between their respective plans to fight climate change, and which programs they are choosing to emphasize. Several are looking to improve electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and electrify their public fleets, while improving building codes and reducing energy consumption is also a major point of emphasis for the five victors. These plans are significant, as the transportation and building sectors in cities contribute to 80% of emissions.
City leaders appear optimistic that the two-year program will enhance their progress in fighting climate change, something that came into sharp focus last year with the release of a federal report that painted an alarming picture of the future of the planet. Bloomberg has been highly and repeatedly critical of the federal government’s inaction on climate change, and municipalities and advocates see the problem as an urgent one that could cause lasting damage.
“These mayors are not waiting on Washington to act,” Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “They know that — together — they can build a better future for our children.”