Philadelphia wins major grant for environmental work

Shown is the Schuylkill River and view of the Philadelphia skyline, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Shown is the Schuylkill River and view of the Philadelphia skyline, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Philadelphia is one of 20 cities that has been awarded about $2 million and other help as part of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge.

Christine Knapp, the city’s director of sustainability, says the goal is to work over a short time frame to come up with workable ideas.

“We’re going to be using it to scale up our climate action. The focus is on reducing carbon emission from buildings and from transportation, which are our two major sources of our carbon footprint,” she said.

Bloomberg Philanthropies selected Philadelphia as a winning city according to the city’s statement, “because of their innovative and ambitious climate action plans to reduce air pollution and city-wide emissions with specific projects aimed at reforming their respective transit and buildings sectors, areas which are typically responsible for 80 percent total of all citywide emissions and over which mayors have significant authority. Bloomberg Philanthropies also recognizes Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney for his commitment to ambitious climate action and securing a cleaner, safer, and healthier environment and economy for their residents.”

Knapp says part of the plan is to make buildings more energy efficient.

“We want to share what we learned with other large energy purchasers such as universities and hospitals to help create a sort of institutional renewable energy program with their support,” she said.

Other parts of the effort include

  • Dramatically increase the generation and use of renewable energy by leading and supporting institutional clean energy procurement programs.
  • Increase trips by bicycle, walking, and transit by 5 percent by 2025 or sooner through the implementation of Connect: Philadelphia’s Strategic Transportation Plan.
  • Accelerate transition of 6,000 municipal vehicles to electric, and work with SEPTA to electrify its fleet

The goal is to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 28 percent by 2025.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.