American Cities Climate Challenge – July/Aug 2018 SAG Newsletter

American Cities Climate Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies takes the next step in helping America’s leading climate cities go the distance. The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 20 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents.

Atlanta and Seattle were announced in the first round of winning cities for the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge.

As Climate Challenge winners, the 20 cities will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help them meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals. These resources include a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, “Air pollution, droughts and adverse impacts of extreme weather are undeniable challenges that too often severely impact our most vulnerable residents – children and the elderly. I am thrilled that Atlanta has the opportunity to take part in the American Cities Climate Challenge. With the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, we will create a bigger, better and more equitable future for Atlantans.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said: “Seattle has suffered from both increasingly destructive wildfires and extreme rainstorms. Tackling climate action isn’t just about investing in the future – it’s about protecting our communities right now. In Seattle, we’re excited to be part of the solution, pioneering innovative policies that will both reduce our carbon footprint and benefit our city. The support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the American Cities Climate Challenge will give us critical momentum in achieving our goals.”

The remaining winners of the Climate Challenge will be announced on a rolling basis throughout the fall, highlighting the ongoing, ambitious, and impactful actions cities are taking every day to address the growing threat of climate change.

Since June 2017 when Washington turned its back on the Paris Agreement, mayors from more than 230 cities representing more than 70 million Americans have said We Are Still In and will continue to push America forward.

These city leaders did so because:

  • Our cities are already experiencing the deleterious effects of climate change;
  • Our residents want more resilient, sustainable neighborhoods and local economies; and
  • Our mayors recognize that better health, jobs, and opportunities tomorrow depend on bold actions today.

For America’s cities to lead the way in reducing carbon pollution requires a different kind of commitment. Delivering on it will require local innovation, broad-based efforts to grow and deepen public support for a sustainable future, and a relentless focus from mayors and their partners to achieve results.

To support this vital work, Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners have announced a $70 million investment in the American Cities Climate Challenge. Selected cities – the 20 “Leadership Cities” – will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program, with powerful new resources and unprecedented access to world-leading support to help them meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals.

Participating cities will: 

  • Make the Paris Agreement goals real. Mayors and their partners will scale and implement proven climate solutions and innovations that will help grow the economy, protect public health, and improve the quality of life for citizens.
  • Focus on high impact. Leadership Cities will focus their efforts on the two sectors that contribute most to emissions in American cities – buildings and transportation. In nearly every major American city, buildings and transportation consume more energy and are responsible for more carbon pollution than any other sector, totaling 90% of citywide emissions.
  • Create community. Leadership Cities will have access to world-leading experts who will help mobilize support for accelerated climate action, bringing together residents, businesses, and community organizations.
  • Lead a movement. The network of 20 Leadership Cities will leverage the unique power of collective learning and accountability and will provide insight and momentum for others. They will serve as role models for the rest of America.
  • Deliver results. Mayors and their teams will work with dedicated delivery experts to put their plans into practice, engage city departments, review evidence of progress regularly, and innovate and improve until the goals are met.

Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide a robust technical assistance and support package, including:

  • A philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies
  • Data, design, and innovation resources to help city officials design and deliver bold programming
  • Leadership development supports to get the best from key members of your city’s team
  • Implementation coaching to drive results
  • Citizen engagement supports to maximize community buy-in
  • Polling and communications support to amplify your megaphone
  • Robust peer-to-peer learning and networking to ensure the 20 Leadership Cities learn from and push one another
  • Rapid response grants to accelerate impact

Application process and timeline:

  • June 19: Open the Application. Online application emailed to the 100 most populous cities in America.
  • By July 18: Accept the Challenge. Initial applications focused on the city’s commitment and ambition will be submitted.
  • July-September: Plan for Impact. Bloomberg Philanthropies will visit shortlisted cities and work with them to develop goals, priority policies, and implementation plans that will serve as their final application.
  • Fall: Become a Leadership City. The 20 Leadership Cities will be announced. Then the real work will begin!