Mike Bloomberg Names San José Winner in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

San José is one of 20 cities to be awarded resources and technical support to help achieve their ambitious climate goals under the Bloomberg American Cities Challenge

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced San José, California, as a winning city in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million 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 – San José is accepted into a two-year acceleration program and will be provided powerful new resources and access to innovative support to help meet or beat the city’s near-term carbon-reduction goals.

“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. “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.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies selected San José as a winning city because of its innovative
and ambitious climate action plan, Climate Smart San José, that will reduce air pollution and citywide emissions with specific projects aimed at reforming the transit and buildings sectors, areas which are typically responsible for 90 percent of all citywide emissions.

Bloomberg Philanthropies also recognized San José Mayor Sam Liccardo for his commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer and healthier environment and economy for San José citizens.

“As an increasing frequency of wildfires, floods and other natural disasters threatens
cities across the country, we must accelerate our efforts to combat climate change,” Liccardo said. “We’re honored to participate in the American Cities Climate Challenge and thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for investing in the success of our pioneering Climate Smart San José plan. As a Climate Challenge winner, the City of San José will continue pursuing innovative policies and initiatives that will help lead us to a more sustainable future.”

The City of San José was one of the first U.S. cities to adopt a Paris Agreement-aligned
climate action plan and is committed to actions and policies needed to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Winners of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge will be provided robust technical assistance and a support package valued at up to $2.5 million per city. San José plans to use the support from the Climate Challenge around shifting to sustainable transportation, electrification and phasing out the use of fossil fuels in buildings.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation and building sectors are at
the heart of Climate Smart San José, our communitywide initiative to reduce air pollution, save water and improve quality of life,” said Kerrie Romanow, the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of the Environmental Services Department. “The decisions we make today are critical to ensuring a safe and sustainable city. We are thrilled to work with Bloomberg Philanthropies to realize the ambitious goals of Climate Smart.”

As Climate Challenge winners, San José and 19 other cities will receive resources and
support including a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and
passage of high-impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in.

San José will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners to turbocharge the
implementation of Climate Smart San José, which was approved in February by the San José City Council, by translating the following ideas and others into action by 2020:

  • the development and implementation of a shared electric-vehicle strategy, including
    education and incentives
  • the implementation of high-priority segments for the City’s walking and bicycling network and the inclusion of new mobility options such as bike- and scooter-sharing systems
  • the implementation of energy-reduction programs and policies for commercial
    businesses and the development of a roadmap to eliminate natural gas in residential
    housing
  • an electric vehicle- and solar-readiness ordinance

Building on the America’s Pledge initiative, which aims to keep the United States 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 the San José Environmental Services Department (ESD)
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the nation. The San José Environmental Services Department leads Climate Smart San José and manages garbage and recycling services; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. ESD’s mission is to deliver world-class utility services and programs to improve our health, environment and economy.

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.

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.

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