Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the addition of four cities to its American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million initiative aimed at accelerating the efforts of twenty U.S. cities to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents.
Part of the foundation's American Cities Initiative, the challenge will build on the America's Pledge initiative, which is aimed at keeping the United States in the Paris Accord. The cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose in California as well as Portland, Oregon — will each receive a package of technical assistance and support valued at more than $2.5 million, including funding for a climate advisor who will facilitate the development and passage of high-impact policies; data, design, and innovation resources to help city officials develop and deliver programming; leadership development support; implementation coaching; rapid-response grants to accelerate the impact of their mitigation activities; and peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities. The cities join Atlanta and Seattle, which were announced last month.
As part of the challenge, Los Angeles plans to accelerate several of its primary climate projects around emissions reduction and energy consumption, with a focus on investing in sustainable transportation options and a decarbonized building stock. Portland will work to reduce climate pollution in transportation and promote renewable energy use, manage congestion by eliminating growth in single-occupant vehicle trips in the downtown area, and expand incentives that make it easier for residents to walk, bike, or take public transport instead of drive. San Diego will work to increase active transportation and transit use and make progress toward its 100 percent renewable energy goal. And San Jose will focus on accelerating the implementation of Climate Smart San Jose.
"The response to our climate challenge was overwhelming," said former New York City mayor and Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg. "Cities all across the country put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals. Selecting the ones with the most ambitious goals — and the most realistic plans for reaching them — was not easy. But Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and Portland all stood out, and we're glad to include them in the group of winners. With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities need to step up in the fight against climate change — and these cities are leading the way."