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Philly just won $2 Million(ish) for Climate Work from Bloomberg
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Philly just won $2 Million(ish) for Climate Work from Bloomberg

Philadelphia’s getting a little extra help to meet climate goals.

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that Philly was a winning city in the American Cities Climate Challenge yesterday. Philadelphia will receive a package of around $2 million, including a City Advisor that will be in-house at the Office of Sustainability.

The American Cities Climate Challenge is a $70 million program, helping 20 cities tackle climate change and promote sustainable future for residents. According to the website, the selected cities are making the Paris Agreement goals real (again), focus on high impact, create community, lead a movement and deliver results. Philly joins the ranks of Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington DC, Atlanta, LA, Portland, San Diego, San Jose & Seattle in the American Cities Climate Challenge.

Philly’s ambition Pays Off: More about Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Why did Bloomberg pick Philly? Due to the ambitious climate action plans like Greenworks, specific projects reforming transit, building sectors which are typically responsible for 80% of all carbon emissions.

The news of the Bloomberg package comes after Philadelphia released sustainability action plans like the Clean Energy Vision Action Plan and CONNECT. As Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability Christine Knapp said,

“We were kind of laughing about how perfect the timing of the Clean Energy Master Plan and CONNECT Plan before this announcement. We thought, ‘let’s turn this into an opportunity to show how we can make what we wanted to happen into what we can actually do.” 

Bloomberg Philanthropies made a site visit in Philadelphia, meeting with groups like PECO and SEPTA, climate activists, stakeholders, and businesses. As Knapp shared, “One of the key takeaways is that they felt that everyone in Philly is working collaboratively. This is a big reflection of our past work that we know how to succeed in working together as a city.” 

Mayor Jim Kenney’s commitment to a safer, cleaner and healthy environment also helped in the running.

As Michael Bloomberg, former NY City Mayor & UN Special Envoy for Climate Action said in a press release, “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.”

Paris Pact ON: How funds will help Philly keep climate agreement

Philly is planning on using these funds to cut carbon emissions by 28% by 2025, according to the Paris Climate Agreement. Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with the city to do the following by 2020 (aka see results within 18 months):

  • Scale up energy efficiency projects across homes and the city’s largest commercial buildings through policies, programs, job training, and other resources.
  • Dramatically increase the generation and use of renewable energy by leading and supporting institutional clean energy procurement programs.
  • Increase trips by bicycle, walking, and transit by 5 percent by 2025 or sooner through the implementation of Connect: Philadelphia’s Strategic Transportation Plan.
  • Accelerate transition of 6,000 municipal vehicles to electric, and work with SEPTA to electrify its fleet.

As Knapp said in a press release, 

“The American Cities Climate Challenge will support Philadelphia in improving economic outcomes for our residents by reducing energy costs, improving local air quality, and creating job opportunities.”

This report came as a glimmer of hope after that UN climate report last week…

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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