- Bloomberg Philanthropies announced St. Petersburg, FL as the 20th and latest winner of its American Cities Climate Challenge, and that the program would expand to 25 total winning cities.
- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg highlighted St. Petersburg’s commitment to reduce emissions and air pollution from its transportation and building sectors. With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ help and financial backing, the city will work to implement its community solar program and scale up financing models for energy efficiency and renewables.
- "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 in a statement. "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."
Bloomberg gradually has been releasing the names of the winning cities for the $70 million challenge, with 19 already announced throughout the fall: 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 and Washington, DC.
It is significant that Bloomberg is expanding the field of winning cities to 25 on the basis of the strength of their applications, as it shows how seriously cities are taking the problem of climate change compared to the federal government. "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," Bloomberg said in a statement.
The selection of St. Petersburg is also significant, as Florida cities are at the forefront of the United States’ battles against the effects of climate change. Cities there are faced with more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and intrusions on its freshwater supply. In addition, cities in central Florida must also deal with climate refugees: people fleeing from the coasts as their homes are lost in hurricanes, floods and the like.
Good conversation with Mayor @Kriseman today on bottom-up climate action, how coastal cities like @StPeteFL are facing some of the worst effects of climate change and our opportunity to take action. pic.twitter.com/X2cS3Ha0lp— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 3, 2019