- Mayor Andrew Ginther gets recognition
The Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced Columbus 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 – Columbus is accepted into a two-year acceleration program and 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 Columbus 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% total of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority.
Also the Bloomberg Philanthropies recognized Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther 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,” he added.
In his response, Mayor Andrew Ginther said, “The well being and prosperity of our community is inextricably linked to solving the climate crisis. This presents a great opportunity to our generation to innovate.” “Columbus is no stranger to innovation. By being named a winning city by Bloomberg, we will be able to boldly move forward with existing and new programs to cut city emissions through sustainable construction and mobility initiatives.”
“We’re excited and focused on creating a sustainable and green Columbus,” said Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy. “We must continue to prepare for tomorrow by actualizing our mission and vision to address climate change in the City.”
“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.”
Columbus plans to use this support for a number of new and existing initiatives, and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with the city to achieve the following actions by 2020:
- Deploy a workforce development program for energy efficiency auditors and increase the number of homes audited with a focus on the City neighborhoods with the highest rates of energy poverty.
- Accelerate existing and add new financing programs for energy efficiency and renewables for commercial buildings.
- Roll out a multimodal trip planning app to drive behavioral insights and engagement strategies to encourage mode share.
- Launch a communications campaign to increase ridership on newly expanded high-frequency transit lines.
- 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.