Michael R. Bloomberg names Charlotte winner in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Ken Brown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 19, 2018) — On Wednesday, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Charlotte as a winning city in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. The Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge is 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 — Charlotte is accepted into a two-year acceleration program and will be provided powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat the city's near-term carbon reduction goals.

Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Charlotte as a winning city because of its innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and citywide emissions with specific projects aimed at reforming its respective transit and buildings sectors, areas which are typically responsible for 80 percent of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority. 

Bloomberg Philanthropies also recognized Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles for her commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer and healthier environment and economy for residents.

"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, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. "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."

"Charlotte has always been a city of reinvention and ambition," Mayor Lyles said. "Working toward a sustainable and resilient community will help create economic opportunity for everyone through affordable housing, accessible transportation and a clean-energy workforce."

"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. "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."

On Monday, Charlotte City Council passed the city's first Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP), to reduce per capita carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) from 12 tons to less than two tons by 2050. The plan focuses on internal operations, as well as community-wide efforts, and is based on four main areas:

  • Buildings
  • Transportation
  • Energy generation
  • Equity/workforce development. 

The City of Charlotte and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work together to help the city to achieve the following actions by 2020:

  • Deep energy retrofits
  • On-site renewable energy
  • Workforce development programs
  • Finance programs for energy efficiency, renewables, and infrastructure
  • Market transformation for electric vehicles
  • Tackling sprawl through smart growth.

As Climate Challenge winners, the 20 winning cities will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support, led by experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Delivery Associates and others, to help them meet — or beat — their near-term carbon reduction goals, from creating high-impact policies to putting them into action. 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 their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy in.

Building on the America's Pledge initiative, which aims to keep the U.S. 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 City of Charlotte 

The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 860,000 residents. The City's focus areas are Housing and Neighborhood Development, Community Safety, Transportation, Economic Development and the Environment. For the latest news about city government, visit the Citywide Newsroom at newsroom.charlottenc.gov. From our website, you can sign up to receive email updates on City topics that interest you through the Notify Me service.

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 or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.​

About the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Recognizing that cities account for more than 70 percent 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.