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Michael R. Bloomberg Names Seattle As Winner of American Cities Climate Challenge  

Award will bring $2.5 million in resources to Seattle to help City meets its aggressive climate goals through improving building efficiency, jump-starting a green jobs pilot, and increasing transportation alternatives

Seattle (September 14) – Standing with Mayor Jenny A. Durkan today at Seattle’s Kerry Park, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and former three-term New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Seattle as an initial winner of Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge.

The Climate Challenge 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. With today’s announcement, Seattle is now poised to more aggressively pursue its climate change goals and remain a national leader.

As part of the award, Seattle will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program and will receive new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat its near-term carbon reduction goals. Seattle will receive robust technical assistance and support package valued at more than $2.5 million per city to help improve the energy efficiency of citywide buildings and reduce emissions from the transit sector. Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with Seattle to achieve the following actions by 2020:

  • Expand financing and incentives for building efficiency including the 2030 building pilot that will create the City’s most sustainable buildings
  • Make Seattle a model for the creation of green jobs through an innovative pilot with Seattle Colleges;
  • Provide new programs to incentivize public transportation, bikes, and walking over single occupancy vehicles;
  • Evaluate and advance implementation of strategies based on Seattle Department of Transportation congestion pricing study

“Seattle has suffered from both increasingly destructive wildfires and extreme rainstorms. Taking climate action isn’t just about investing in the future – it’s about protecting our communities right now,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said. “In Seattle, we’re excited to be part of the solution, pioneering innovative policies that will both reduce our carbon footprint and benefit our city. The support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the American Cities Climate Challenge will give us critical momentum in achieving our goals.”

Bloomberg praised Seattle’s innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce city-wide emissions with specific projects aimed at reforming local building and emissions from the city’s transit and buildings sectors, which typically total 90% of citywide emissions and are areas over which mayors have significant authority.

“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.”

Along with Seattle, Atlanta, Georgia was also named as one of the 20 cities to be awarded under Bloomberg’s Climate Challenge.

Seattle will receive a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, new training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in. These tools will help ensure that Seattle has the staff and resources necessary to turn climate action plans into reality.

In April 2018, Mayor Durkan announced new bold actions in Seattle to reduce carbon pollution from the Seattle’s transportation and building sectors and make Seattle a national leader in fighting climate change. As part of Seattle’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, the set of short-term and long-term actions provided a roadmap for Seattle to act in the absence of federal leadership, particularly on leading contributors of greenhouse gases: transportation and buildings.


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 or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

About the American Cities Climate Challenge

Recognizing that cities account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, the 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 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 American Cities Climate Challenge will be led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Delivery Associates. The 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.