Philly gets new grant to fund climate change challenge

With a new UN report warning that the world is just 12 years away from dire, irreparable damage climate change if carbon usage and environmental abuses are not significanty curtailed, Philadelphia is doing its part.

With the financial assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Philadelphia’s goal to cut its carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025 is getting help along with 19 other cities as one of Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge finalists.

Each city will get millions of dollars in investments to participate in a two-year acceleration program to achieve its carbon reduction goals.

The program, operated by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the media mogul, former New York City mayor and philanthropist, is intended to help local governments fight climate change even as the Trump administration has been openly hostile to environmental policies.

“With our federal government asleep at the wheel, cities are more important than ever in the fight against climate changes,” Bloomberg said in a statement announcing the latest round of grant awardees. “These cities are stepping up to the challenge.”

Bloomberg said that the Climate Challenge is awarded to cities with “ambitious and realistic plans to cut emissions in ways that improve people’s lives, and mayors committed to getting the job done.”

Philly Mayor Jim Kenney has led efforts to pursue goals to make Philadelphia the nation’s greenest city by 2030, with plans that involve cutting the city’s energy use in half by that date. Kenney is also one of the nation’s leaders who have vowed to adhere to the Paris climate agreements – despite President Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement, which former President Obama had entered into. 

“Now more than ever, local governments must lead on climate action,” Kenney said in a statement announcing the grant. “Philadelphia is proud to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies to scale up our climate action to protect our most vulnerable residents and create a healthy, vibrant, and just city for the future.”

Climate change warnings increasingly dire

This grant will bring $2.5 million to Philadelphia and by 2020, the funds will go towards energy efficiency projects in residential and office buildings, increasing the generation and use of renewable energy, supporting alternative transportation methods and transition 6,000 municipal vehicles to electric and working with SEPTA to convert its fleet to environmentally friendly power sources.

While multi-national fossil fuel and oil mega-corporations have invested billions over decades to sow doubt and discord in the public’s mind about the impacts of climate change, climate scientists unanimously agree that current emissions levels are on a trajectory to irreparably alter the earth’s climate.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report earlier this month warning that a significant drawdown of carbon emissions worldwide is urgently needed to head off a global temperature rise at about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indeed, the IPCC’s warnings are intended to possibly curb carbon emissions by 2030 to prevent global temperatures from rising another half-degree to two degrees higher, hotter than the Earth has been in two million years, and triggering environmental calamities that will negatively impact all organic life on the planet.

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