- The 25 cities involved in Bloomberg Philanthropies' American Cities Climate Challenge are projected to collectively cut 40 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025, according to a new analysis released by the foundation. That’s the equivalent of eliminating 10 coal plants.
- The $70 million challenge brings 25 cities into a two-year accelerator program, which will offer money and technical assistance for local efforts to fight climate change. The full cohort of cities was announced last month.
- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that globally, cities account for more than 70% of carbon emissions. "And while cities are where the problems are, they’re also where the solutions are. In the era of Trump, U.S. cities are taking up the mantle of climate leadership,” he said.
In a blog post, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said that the carbon cuts from the cities would put the U.S. back on pace to meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement, which was to cut emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2025. The Trump administration has said it will take the U.S. out of that United Nations agreement, but cities and states have rallied around the agreement through the "We Are Still In" coalition.
The Bloomberg challenge will see cities tackling a range of strategies to reduce their climate impacts, especially around transportation. Participants like Denver, San Antonio and Honolulu will be expanding public transit access, while cities like Portland, OR and Austin, TX will expand bicycle and pedestrian networks. Others are working to expand electric vehicles, especially in municipal fleets, or enacting stricter building codes that will encourage more energy efficiency.
Including actions that will be taken outside of the challenge, sponsors estimate that the participating cities will cut 75 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2025. “Our cities are a tremendous force in the fight against climate change, and this analysis underscores their power to lead our nation forward,” NRDC president Rhea Suh said in a statement. “These mayors are not waiting on Washington to build a better future; they’re starting right in the in their own backyard.”