Accra, Guangzhou, Kolkata, London, Medellín, San Francisco, and Seoul recognised for the impact of their efforts to tackle the global climate emergency

Today, C40 and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the seven winners of the 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen.

Representing the most ambitious and impactful projects by mayors to tackle the global climate crisis, the sixth annual C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards celebrated the best projects across seven categories that define this year’s theme, “The Future We Want“:

  1. The future we want is resilient – Awarded to Medellín, Colombia for its Avenida Oriental Green Corridors
  2. The future we want relies on green mobility – Awarded to Kolkata, India for its Low Carbon Commute Transition
  3. The future we want runs on renewable energy – Awarded to Seoul, South Korea for its Solar City Expansion
  4. The future we want engages all citizens – Awarded to Accra, Ghana for its Informal Waste Collection Expansion
  5. The future we want breathes clean air – Awarded to London, UK for its Ultra-Low Emission Zone
  6. The future we want requires transformative change – Awarded to San Francisco, USA for its CleanPowerSF program
  7. The future we want uses green technologies – Awarded to Guangzhou, China for its Expansive Bus Electrification

This year, the Awards showcased projects that demonstrated ambitious climate action while ensuring better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Chosen for the concrete impact they are making in their communities, each of the seven winning cities are formidable examples of what leadership looks like in building an innovative, resilient, and inclusive future.

Worldwide, cities account for about 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions, making them uniquely positioned to have a significant impact in the fight against climate change. The 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies winners exemplify climate leadership at this crucial municipal level – from electrifying city bus fleets in Kolkata and Guangzhou, to integrating informal waste collectors in Accra, to installing solar panels throughout Seoul – the winning cities have responded to the challenges of climate change with actionable steps to reduce emissions, improve public health, boost local economies, and make cities more efficient and livable for residents. As climate change increasingly threatens communities around the world, cities will continue to play a critical role in the fight against global climate catastrophe. These seven cities are helping lead the way.

“The winners of the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards are evidence of the incredible efforts that cities around the world are delivering to address the global climate emergency,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40. “These projects should be studied by mayors and city leaders as they each define the future we want in our cities.”

“Cities are on the front lines of the climate crisis, and they are leading the attack,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, C40 Board President, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, and Mayor of New York City 2002-2013. “Today, we’re glad to recognize seven winning cities for their ambitious work, which is already reducing emissions, cleaning the air, and protecting people’s health. Their efforts will help spur more action on climate change across the world.”

Finalists for the 2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards were selected from projects featured in Cities100, which showcases 100 of this year’s most forward-thinking and inclusive climate action projects from around the world. Cities100 is a collaboration between C40 and Nordic Sustainability and is funded by the Danish philanthropic association Realdania.

“Congratulations to all the C40 Awards winners. It has never been more urgent that cities push the green agenda forward – and today’s winners do exactly that and inspire all of us. These projects show us how forward-thinking cities are around the world, and that cities have the green solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis,” said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen and C40 Vice-Chair.

“The projects in this year’s Cities100 report clearly demonstrate that cities are acting fast and are doing their utmost to create livable, resilient cities for millions of people,” said CEO at Realdania, Jesper Nygård. “Urgent action is needed if we want to bend the curve for the climate crisis. We pay tribute to the great diversity of projects submitted, emphasising the fact that local action and multiple approaches are necessary to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1,5 °C. This is why we must also help more cities and smaller municipalities stepping up to the climate agenda.”

This year’s C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards trophy was designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. The award consists of Icelandic basaltic rock with sequestered carbon dioxide, visible as embedded white minerals – made possible using a process called CarbFix. The CarbFix process was designed to capture otherwise emitted CO2 and permanently transform it into minerals deep underground within rock formations. The base of the trophy is made from recycled stainless steel, symbolic of the drill used to retrieve the scientific samples.

2019 C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards Winners

Medellín, ColombiaResilienceAvenida Oriental Green Corridors: Medellín installed a connected network of plants across the city to improve urban biodiversity, reduce the city’s heat island effect, soak up air pollutants, and capture CO2.
Kolkata, IndiaGreen mobilityLow Carbon Commute Transition: Kolkata is transitioning its city fleet to 5,000 electric buses, and plans to fully electrify the ferries that run across the Ganges River by 2030.
Seoul, South KoreaRenewable energySolar City Expansion: Seoul is installing domestic solar panels in 1 million households, solar systems on all municipal sites, and fostering growth in the solar industry with the goal of achieving 1 GW installed solar PV capacity by 2022.
Accra, GhanaEngaged citizensInformal Waste Collection Expansion: To increase the collection of waste, close illegal open waste sites, and ensure fair and inclusive employment, Accra integrated its informal waste collectors into the city’s official waste management system.
London, UKClean airUltra-Low Emission Zone: London implemented the first-in-the-world requirement for vehicles to meet Euro emission standards in order to drive in the central London area.
San Francisco, USATransformative changeCleanPowerSF: The City and County of San Francisco provides residents with the option to purchase electricity from renewable and low-carbon sources of energy at competitive rates.
Guangzhou, ChinaGreen technologiesExpansive Bus Electrification: Guangzhou converted its fleet of 11,220 buses to run solely by means of electricity and installed 4,000 charging stations across the city.

“The future we want recognises the crucial role of the informal sector in sustainable city development. Combating climate change requires inclusive decision making which ensures all citizens are a part of the solution, to be acting local to impact positively on global challenges,” said Mayor Mohammed Sowah, Accra.

“I’m honoured that the bold action we have taken in London to address the air pollution health crisis has been recognised. Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest global health emergencies of our generation. We know that road transport emissions are the largest source of pollution in many cities. The ULEZ is the centrepiece of our measures to reduce harmful emissions and applies the toughest standards of any global city, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is a vital step towards helping combat London’s illegal air and I’m pleased to say it’s already showing real results by dramatically reducing the number of polluting cars in the zone. Its expansion in 2021 will help London’s air meet legal levels for the first time in decades,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan, London.

“Medellín is committed to addressing climate change and we greatly appreciate your vote of confidence. This recognition reaffirms our promise to move towards the construction of a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable city with opportunities for all,” said Mayor Federico Gutiérrez, Medellín.

“Climate change is a global threat that we cannot leave to the next generation to fix,” said Mayor London N. Breed, San Francisco. “We must take action today, and through programs like CleanPowerSF—which offer renewable, sustainable energy options for our residents and businesses—San Francisco is doing our part. We are honoured to be recognized for our efforts and we look forward to working with our partners in the C40 Cities coalition to pursue more innovative solutions to the challenge of climate change.”

“In Seoul, citizens are energy prosumers, generating solar PV power. We not only engage citizens in renewable energy generation but also create green jobs along the way and support the energy-poor to increase social equity. We will keep scaling up our ambitious energy and climate action for the sustainability of Seoul,” said Mayor Park Won-soon, Seoul.

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