Mayor Durkan Joins Fellow Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge Winners at C40 World Mayor Summit to Release New Climate Action Playbook

If Adopted by the 100 Largest American Cities, the Winning Strategies Could Collectively Reduce City Emissions by 28.5%, Meeting Their Share of the Country’s National Paris Target by 2025 

COPENHAGEN, DK — Today at the 2019 C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, Mayor Durkan joined Mike Bloomberg to release the American Cities Climate Challenge Climate Action Playbook— a strategic brief to accelerate and deepen climate action in cities.  

The Playbook, informed by actions that the City of Seattle is already implementing through the American Cities Climate Challenge, provides a roadmap for cities to reduce citywide emissions and create healthier, more resilient communities.  

If the 100 largest American cities took on the strategies outlined in the Playbook, their total combined emissions would drop by 28.5%, meeting their share of the U.S. national target of reducing emissions by 26-28% by 2025 – the goal set under the Paris Agreement. This work would result in carbon reductions of 224 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 47.5 million cars off the road for a year, or shutting down 57 coal fired power plants for one year. 

“Seattle doesn’t have the luxury of climate denial, and we are already seeing the devastating impacts of climate change on our City, our region, and our planet. In the face of our federal government’s failure to act, cities like Seattle will continue to lead the way on climate. With this new playbook, more cities across our country will have more tools to act on policies we know work.  In Seattle, we’re committed to being part of the solution to our climate crisis, and to pioneering innovative policies that protect our environment, our economy, and our children’s futures. We’re not just thinking about tomorrow, but about the next 100 years, too,” said Mayor Durkan. “As we develop and implement new policies, we must continue to evaluate the race and social justice impacts. I thank Bloomberg Philanthropies and the American Cities Climate Challenge for their support that has provided critical momentum in achieving our goals.” 

“Through the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, 25 major U.S. cities have taken ambitious action to fight climate change, and they’re already seeing strong results,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “Now, our Climate Action Playbook will help spread their successes to other cities across the U.S. and the world, drawing on the proven policies and programs that are reducing emissions, strengthening infrastructure, and improving public health. Cities are vital leaders in the global climate fight – and we’re giving them the tools to make a difference.” 

As a part of the American Cities Climate Challenge, Seattle is working with world-class experts from leading organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and C40, to meet our climate goals, ramping up action specifically in the two highest-emitting sectors in cities: transportation and buildings. The eight other cities that presented the playbook – Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Honolulu, HI; Los Angeles, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; San Antonio, TX; and Washington, DC – are all among the 25 winners in the Climate Challenge.  

Since the launch of the Climate Challenge in 2018, Seattle has successfully implemented bold policies that are already rapidly reducing emissions. Earlier this year the City Council passed Mayor Durkan’s legislation to mandate that all new buildings with parking include electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Vehicle emissions remain the largest source of carbon pollution in the City of Seattle. The City also completed the first phase of research into implementing congestion pricing by commissioning a study to look at which mechanisms could be effective in our region.   

Earlier this month, Mayor Durkan signed into law her legislation to impose a per gallon tax on heating oil, the proceeds of which will help speed conversion of households off dirty oil heat. Converting homes to cleaner electricity would provide carbon pollution reduction equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off Seattle’s roads for an entire year, which is a key step to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.  

Some of the most effective strategies outlined in the Playbook include: initiatives to set benchmarking and performance policies for building energy use; decarbonize buildings; improve public transit speed, reliability and user experience; expand urban pedestrian & micro mobility access; procure renewable energy for municipal demand; and promote EV adoption through infrastructure and education.  

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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. 

About Bloomberg Philanthropies 

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 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 giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. 

About NRDC 

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.