Winning Cities From the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge on Track to Collectively Reduce Emissions By 32 Percent and Surpass 2025 Paris Goals
25 of the Largest U.S. Cities Could Together Reduce 74 Million Metric Tons of Emissions through 2030
New Report Demonstrates Power of City Climate Leadership, Offers Roadmap and Learnings for Cities Around the World Ahead of COP26
Read the full report here
News Release from Bloomberg Philanthropies, October 28, 2021
Michael R. Bloomberg, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, announced today that the 25 cities who participated in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge (the Climate Challenge) are projected to reduce 74 million metric tons of carbon emissions through 2030, as documented in a new report. Additionally, due to both the Climate Challenge’s support and overall climate actions, these 25 cities are expected to collectively reduce emissions by 32 percent by 2025 – surpassing the Paris Agreement goals.
“Cities play a critical role in the fight against climate change, and this report shows just how much progress is possible when they are empowered to do more, faster,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 108th Mayor of New York City. “We created the American Cities Climate Challenge to provide support for bold and effective local climate strategies, and together, the cities are demonstrating that it’s possible for the U.S. not just to meet our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement – but to exceed them.”
Launched in 2019 by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Climate Challenge was created to provide powerful resources to 25 of the largest U.S. cities in their fight against climate change with support from world-class partners including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Delivery Associates, RMI, Greenlink Analytics, and more. With the goal of turbocharging the impactful work already being done by mayors across the country, the Climate Challenge provided onsite technical expertise to facilitate the development of high impact policies, training for senior city leadership to assist with their implementation, and resident engagement support to maximize participation from the community.
The 25 participating cities are: Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Honolulu, HI; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Saint Paul, MN; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; St. Petersburg, FL and Washington, D.C.
“The innovative policies implemented by the 25 cities in the American Cities Climate Challenge exemplify the local action needed to make a global net-zero economy a reality,” said Nigel Topping, COP26 High-Level Climate Action Champion. “As we near COP26, this report proves the powerful impact cities have in helping to meet our global emissions reduction targets and the necessity for national and international leaders to continue to partner and invest in accelerating local climate efforts.”
With support from the Climate Challenge, these cities passed 54 major buildings, energy, and transportation policies and launched 71 new climate programs and initiatives – leading to the adoption of over 800MW of renewable energy, development of 510 miles of new or improved bike lanes, and deployment of over 1,100 new EVs. Additional examples of Climate Challenge-supported policies include:
Advancing Energy-Saving Building Policies for Existing Buildings: Nearly 400 million square feet across the country are now covered by new benchmarking policies, with over 37,000 energy audits conducted.
Transforming Streets for Public Transit: Nine cities and their public transit agencies rolled out the red carpet, painting dozens of miles of bus priority lanes to make sure public transit is a fast and convenient way of getting around. The nine cities are: Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, LA, Minneapolis, Philly, Portland, and Washington, DC
Winning Funding for Better Mobility: Cities and their partners advocated for emergency relief for public transit in federal stimulus packages, resulting in $69 billion in lifeline funding to keep trains and buses running during the pandemic and into the recovery.
Creating Better Biking and Walking: Ten cities redesigned their streets with new or improved bike lanes and sidewalks to make it easier for residents to travel without cars. The ten cities are: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Honolulu, LA, Portland, Saint Paul, San Diego, and San Jose.
Improving Renewable Energy Procurement: Nearly half of the cities procured renewable energy using tried-and-true purchasing and financing methods, helping to set a nationwide record for local government renewable energy procurement in 2020.
“Climate Challenge cities are not only demonstrating that we can take the climate action necessary to avert catastrophe–but that the solutions improve residents’ quality of life in so many ways,” said Manish Bapna, President and CEO of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “Through a unique collaboration between community groups, policy experts and ambitious mayors, these 25 cities are developing newer and better ways to get around, championing cleaner and more efficient buildings, and creating safer and healthier communities for people today. With climate at the top of the agenda in Washington and on the international stage in the weeks ahead, these cities are leading by example–and showing the world that the U.S. is still all in.”
The Climate Challenge takes a data-driven, empirical approach to evaluating policy options to meet climate goals. Using a proprietary Impact Analysis Model, specifically developed for the Climate Challenge, cities are able to easily assess the carbon reduction potential of specific climate actions and policies, including accounting for the interactions between any combination of policies. This data has helped Climate Challenge cities focus and refine their commitments using tools calibrated to their local contexts.
Beyond the impact on local communities, the majority of Climate Challenge cities have continued to raise global climate ambition ahead of COP26, while also making meaningful progress by joining the UNFCCC’s Race To Zero campaign — the largest ever alliance, including 800+ global cities, committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Their progress substantiates recent research that shows the critical role cities play in curbing carbon emissions….
“This program is helping our city reduce emissions from both buildings and transportation, while also improving quality of life,” said Rick Blangiardi, Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, HI. “Our progress is accelerating community and market transition to solar energy and electric vehicles in new buildings, and we moved from a commitment to implementation of benchmarking our city buildings. From data to decisiveness we successfully installed the City’s first bus lane in decades on King Street, the busiest transit corridor in the state of Hawai‘i. Now we’re advancing more impactful actions by implementing our Climate Action Plan. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is making this possible, increasing our ability to fight climate change in strategic and effective ways.”…
About the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge
Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge was formed with an investment of $70 million to enhance the work already being done by mayors across the U.S. and to support cities in the fight against climate change. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate 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.
TH: Twenty-five U.S. cities on track to surpass Paris climate targets by 2025: report