Clouds created by the exhaust of ship smokestacks. Image by via via Wikimedia Commons.
Michael Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for climate action and former mayor of New York City, announced Atlanta and Seattle are the first round winners of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge.
The challenge aims to accelerate municipal action to tackle climate change. Through the program, more than $200 million has been invested to advance policies to create a more sustainable future, according to program materials.
“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,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement. “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.”
Atlanta was the first city in the Southeast to pass a building energy benchmarking and transparency ordinance, according to program materials. As a winner of the challenge, the city will now work with the program’s team to advance sustainable policies. Specifically, by 2020 the city hopes to accomplish:
- Creating a sustainable and resilient building stock supported by clean energy upgrades and existing building code enforcement.
- Expand infrastructure for electric vehicles via the recently enacted EV Readiness Ordinance
- Establish a complete streets ordinance to coordination traffic signals, construction of new and repair of existing sidewalks, and prioritizing last-mile connectivity, especially in under-served neighborhoods.
“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,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “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.”