Philadelphia is one of 20 cities total to be awarded with resources and technical support to help achieve their ambitious climate goals under Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Philadelphia as a winning city in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million dollar program that will accelerate 20 ambitious cities’ efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. Through the Climate Challenge – which is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a suite of more than $200 million in investments to strengthen city halls and advance critical policies – Philadelphia is accepted into a two-year acceleration program, will be provided powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat the city’s near-term carbon reduction goals.
Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Philadelphia as a winning city because of their innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and city-wide emissions with specific projects aimed at reforming their respective transit and buildings sectors, areas which are typically responsible for 80 percent total of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority. Bloomberg Philanthropies also recognizes Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for his commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment and economy for their residents.
“Cities are helping to keep America moving forward on climate change despite the lack of leadership from Washington, and this challenge was designed to help innovative mayors reach their goals,” said Mike Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. “We were looking for cities with ambitious and realistic plans to cut emissions in ways that improve people’s lives, and mayors committed to getting the job done. Each of these winning cities brings those ingredients to the table – and we’re looking forward to working with them and seeing what they can accomplish.”
“Now more than ever, local governments must lead on climate action,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Philadelphia is proud to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies to scale up our climate action to protect our most vulnerable residents and create a healthy, vibrant, and just city for the future.”
“The Paris climate agreement is a promise we made to our children—and we’re going to keep it,” said Rhea Suh, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The American Cities Climate Challenge gives cities the tools they need to lead the way. With cities generating the majority of the fossil fuel pollution driving climate change, and bearing the brunt of its impacts, fighting climate change begins in City Hall. These mayors are committed to delivering a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow for future generations.”
Philadelphia plans to use this support to reduce carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025 in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with the city to achieve the following actions by 2020:
- Scale up energy efficiency projects across homes and the city’s largest commercial buildings through policies, programs, job training and other resources.
- Dramatically increase the generation and use of renewable energy by leading and supporting institutional clean energy procurement programs.
- Increase trips by bicycle, walking, and transit by 5 percent by 2025 or sooner through the implementation of Connect: Philadelphia’s Strategic Transportation Plan.
- Accelerate transition of 6,000 municipal vehicles to electric, and work with SEPTA to electrify its fleet.
“Transformational action on climate change must include a focus on those most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” said Christine Knapp, Director of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability. “The American Cities Climate Challenge will support Philadelphia in improving economic outcomes for our residents by reducing energy costs, improving local air quality, and creating job opportunities.”
As Climate Challenge winners, the 20 winning cities will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support, led by experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Delivery Associates and others, to help them meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals, from creating high-impact policies to putting them into action. 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.
Building on the America’s Pledge initiative, which aims to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement, the Climate Challenge underscores Bloomberg’s dedication to action as this investment will translate city commitments into tangible climate achievements. Bloomberg will announce the remaining winners of the Climate Challenge 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.
About Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability (OOS) works with partners around the City to improve quality of life in all Philadelphia neighborhoods, reduce the City’s carbon emissions, and prepare Philadelphia for a hotter, wetter future. OOS is responsible for implementing Greenworks Philadelphia, the City’s comprehensive sustainability plan, which is made up of eight visions: accessible food and drinking water; healthy outdoor and indoor air; clean and efficient energy; climate-prepared and carbon-neutral communities; quality natural resources; accessible, affordable, and safe transportation; zero waste; and engaged students, stewards, and workers. For more information, please visit https://www.phila.gov/departments/office-of-sustainability/.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
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.