Today, in front of our beautiful downtown waterfront, Michael Bloomberg joined Mayor Rick Kriseman in announcing that St. Petersburg, FL is the latest winner in the American Cities Climate Challenge. St. Pete has officially joined a roster that will grow to 25 cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, and more. American Cities Climate Challenge winners are recognized for gaining the resources and support needed to create a cleaner, more sustainable city for residents.
Good conversation with Mayor @Kriseman today on bottom-up climate action, how coastal cities like @StPeteFL are facing some of the worst effects of climate change and our opportunity to take action. pic.twitter.com/X2cS3Ha0lp
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 3, 2019
What This Means for St. Petersburg
The Bloomberg Philanthropies website details that as Climate Challenge winners, St. Petersburg will be “accepted into a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help them meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals.” With their partners, Bloomberg Philanthropies have made a $70 million investment in this challenge.
Among those resources? A team member funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to help pass and develop high impact policies and train senior leadership to “assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in.”
As Bloomberg said this morning:
With Washington asleep at the wheel, cities like St. Petersburg – that are taking bold action on climate change – are more important than ever to encourage even more bottom-up progress. The response to our Climate Challenge has been so positive – from mayors around the country – that we’ve decided to select five additional winning cities. Tackling climate change goes hand in hand with improving public health and creating jobs, and it’s great to see cities leading where Washington won’t.
Great news, St. Pete! Bloomberg Philanthropies named St. Petersburg as a winner in the American Cities Climate Challenge. Through this program, we’ll join the ranks of 25 US cities in gaining resources + support we need to create a cleaner, more sustainable city for our residents. #Cities4Climate #SunShinesHere
Posted by City of St. Petersburg, Florida USA on Thursday, January 3, 2019
Looking Towards a Greener Future
“As a coastal city, the effects of climate change are more apparent than ever to the residents of St. Petersburg.” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said. Five years ago when Kriseman was elected Mayor, our city didn’t even have curbside recycling. Fast forward to today where the City’s website states that residents have helped Pinellas County have the “highest rate of recycling statewide”.
Our city has over 250 businesses committed to reducing the amount of single-use plastics they consume through the efforts of No Straws St. Pete. That’s hundreds of thousands of plastic straws, to-go containers, and more that are no longer being used and thrown into the trash.
In recent weeks, St. Pete City Council voted to ban plastic straws and styrofoam containers. Meaning that within the next two years, we’ll see a city wide movement to further protect the beautiful waterfront that the Burg thrives on.
It’s Time for the Next Step
The City of St. Petersburg will be working closely with Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners to “implement the first utility community solar program for energy equity, with the aim of bringing cost- and energy-efficient power to low-income areas of St. Petersburg.”
In addition, St. Petersburg “plans to scale up financing models for energy efficiency and renewable energy, while expanding its residential solar co-op program.”