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Mayor Bowser Recognized for Bold Climate Policies, District Wins Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Sunday, October 21, 2018
In recognition of the Mayor’s urgent efforts, Bloomberg Philanthropies will assist with cutting-edge resources and technical support to ensure the District achieves bold and ambitious climate goals by 2020

Today, Mayor Bowser celebrated Bloomberg Philanthropies’ announcement that Washington, DC has been chosen as a winner in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million dollar investment to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change in 20 cities. Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Washington, DC as a winning jurisdiction because of the Bowser Administration’s innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and District-wide emissions, and to reform the transit and building sectors that are responsible for 80 percent of all District-wide emissions. Bloomberg Philanthropies also recognized Mayor Bowser for her commitment to securing a cleaner, safer and healthier environment and sustainable economy for DC residents.

“As the nation’s capital and a city of 700,000 people, Washington, DC has a unique obligation to lead on and push for bold actions that keep us on track to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Mayor Bowser. “The District is already committed to acting with urgency, and with this support from the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, we can accelerate our progress toward a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient future. Cities around the world are leading the fight against climate change by thinking globally and acting locally, and Washington, DC is proud to lead the way.”

The 20 winning cities will participate in a two-year program, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Delivery Associates, and be provided powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help them meet or exceed their near-term carbon reduction goals. 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 climate plans, and citizen engagement support. The Climate Challenge is part of Bloomberg’s American Cities Initiative, a suite of more than $200 million in investments to strengthen District seats and advance critical policies.

"When Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the Climate Challenge, cities all across the country, with both Republican and Democratic mayors, put forward thoughtful and innovative proposals,” said Mike Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. “Selecting the ones with the boldest goals—and the most realistic plans for reaching them—was not easy. But Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and DC 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."
The Bowser Administration will use this award towards the implementation of the Clean Energy DC plan—the District’s roadmap to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2032—which was released in August. Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with the District to achieve the following actions by 2020:

  • Develop and launch a building energy performance standard for large buildings, to support the city’s goal of net-zero carbon buildings by 2050
  • Launch the DC Green Bank that Mayor Bowser established in July, aligning its new financing programs with existing strategies to incentivize energy efficiency and renewable energy and accelerate building performance improvements
  • Encourage residents and commuters to use alternative transportation by improving service, adding new mobility options, and expanding cycling and pedestrian infrastructure

“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 (NRDC). “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.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies will announce the remaining winners of the Climate Challenge on a rolling basis throughout the fall of 2018, highlighting the ongoing, ambitious and impactful actions cities are taking every day to address the growing threat of climate change.