Denver just received a miniature windfall to pad its defense against climate change.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will award the city a package worth $2 million to advance its initiatives for transit, walking, biking, electric vehicles and clean building practices, said Kyle Wagner, a spokesperson for the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.
The Mile High City is one of 25 cities to receive money from Bloomberg Philanthropies, an organization founded by former New York City Mayor and current UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg. The foundation, known for helping urban areas fight climate change, picked Denver after a competitive process.
Here’s what the money will help buy, according to the city’s press release. (Note: Based on the cost of recent city projects, this list seems pretty generous for $2 million, but the money is considered an “accelerator.”):
- Improve high-frequency transit lines and increase ridership through incentives.
- Add 2 to 4 new corridors of high-frequency public transit service.
- Redesign 2 to 4 streets to prioritize safety for people walking and biking.
- “Transform” the electric vehicle market with an education and test drive campaign; align utility incentives to encourage investment in charging infrastructure.
- Develop a pathway for “net zero” buildings by 2035 (buildings that use a negligible amount of energy).
- A full-time advisor.
Transportation and building emissions are Denver’s biggest contributors to climate change. While Denver has set goals for addressing climate change, as well as for transit, walking, biking and development, they are only partially funded. The city will prioritize specific projects, in part, by using these plans, a spokesperson said.
“We were looking for cities with ambitious and realistic plans to cut emissions in ways that improve people’s lives, and mayors committed to getting the job done,” Bloomberg said in a press release. “Each of these winning cities brings those ingredients to the table — and we are looking forward to working with them and seeing what they can accomplish.”
Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement: “The solutions to climate change are in front of us, and will lead to cleaner air and a healthier, more equitable future for everyone. That starts, urgently, with creating a climate-safe future for our children.”