San Antonio is getting help in combating climate change from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg with $2.5 million of support.
The Alamo City is one of 25 cities nationwide receiving support from the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing $70 million in grants to cities to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord.
Bloomberg said at a news conference Friday in San Antonio that his foundation was looking for cities with ambitious and realistic plans, and cities with strong mayors.
— Joey Palacios (@Joeycules) January 11, 2019
“Our team was really impressed with the bold goals that San Antonio came up with,” he said. “They’re working towards powering municipal operations with 100 percent renewable energy, accelerating energy efficiency in the biggest buildings and developing network for charging electric vehicles.”
Another factor for being chosen is the city’s plans for expanding public transportation with bus rapid transit.
Bloomberg praised cities like San Antonio for passing resolutions of its own to keep in line with provisions in the Paris Agreement.
Nirenberg said adhering to the Paris Agreement was one of his first priorities as mayor when he was elected in 2017.
“This wasn’t merely a symbolic act but put our city on a new trajectory to confront the challenges of a changing climate,” said Nirenberg on Friday. “We can’t wait for Austin or Washington (D.C.), we must be realistic, we must be ambitious about our own preparedness and resilience as a city. The real national emergency is the impacts of climate change; how we respond though is up to all of us.”
The city will not directly receive funds from the program, rather it will receive support and assistance.
“It’s not cash,” said San Antonio’s Chief Sustainability Officer Doug Melnick. “Its $2.5 million in support services, technical support and it’s huge.
“The things we’re going to be working on related to buildings and transportation — and how do we reduce emissions from those sectors — are directly in the climate plan and so this is going to basically move towards allowing us to hit the ground running once this plan is adopted,” he added.
The help San Antonio will receive is described as 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,” according to a Bloomberg news release.
There are 25 cities nationwide receiving the same financial support to find similar climate protection initiatives. Four others announced Friday are Austin, Denver, Albuquerque, and Orlando.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.