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Pittsburgh named winner in American Cities Climate Challenge


October 30, 2018

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Pittsburgh 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 – Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh as a winning city because of its 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 Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto for his commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment and economy for their residents.

Pittsburgh will receive an estimated $2.5 million in support for its climate initiatives.

“When Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the Climate Challenge, cities all across the country, with both Republican and Democratic mayors, put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals. Selecting the ones with the boldest goals — and the most realistic plans for reaching them — was not easy,” said Mike Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action.

“But Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and D.C. all stood out, and we’re glad to include them in the group of winners. With our federal government asleep at the wheel, cities are more important than ever in the fight against climate change — and these cities are stepping up to the challenge. Congratulations to them all.”

Pittsburgh joined Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, winning cities in the American Cities Climate Challenge, joining Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland, San Diego, and San Jose.

“Pittsburgh and other cities around the globe are leading the charge in fighting climate change,” Mayor Peduto said. “That means not only making smart choices about Pittsburgh’s own energy usage, but banding with other partners to achieve substantial energy reductions worldwide. We’re thrilled to be working with Bloomberg Philanthropies in these efforts.”

“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.”

Pittsburgh plans to use this support to further the ongoing initiatives in its Climate Action Plan, and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work the city to achieve the following actions by 2020:

Scale renewable power throughout the city through new community solar programs

Deepen energy efficiency efforts through new financing programs and implementation of the city’s new energy transparency benchmarking ordinance

Expand bike and pedestrian infrastructure in priority areas in the city

The press conference at the West End Overlook also included a preview of the upcoming National Geographic documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh.” The trailer can be viewed at:

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.


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