SAN ANTONIO — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had not been to San Antonio until Friday. During his trip, he saw the Alamo and made San Antonio a winner in his foundation's American Cities Climate Challenge.
"Our team was really impressed by the bold goals that San Antonio came up with," Bloomberg said.
The 76-year-old's Bloomberg Philanthropies awards a package of up to $2.5 million in services, expertise, and technical services to large cities with big new ideas to fight climate change. According to Bloomberg, San Antonio was one of the largest cities in the country under consideration.
"They are working towards powering municipal operations with 100 renewable energy, accelerating energy efficiency in the biggest buildings and developing a citywide network for charging electric vehicles, just to name a few," he said.
The American Cites Climate Challenge was launched in June 2018. The $70 million program is reportedly structured to drive cities to take on climate change and promote a sustainable future for citizens.
San Antonio joins cities like Austin in a two-year acceleration program to provide new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help meet or beat their near-term carbon reduction goals, a news release said.
According to Bloomberg, they were looking for a city with ambitious goals, realistic plans to carry those goals out and strong mayors to bring the vision to fruition.
He said San Antonio caught their attention because city leaders are moving towards renewable energy, strengthening energy efficiency standards, creating an electric vehicle network and a public transit expansion.
"We have an opportunity to become a climate resilient city, to lower your energy costs, to create green jobs, to build a stronger, healthier and more equitable San Antonio," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
Among the benefits of having the challenge grant Nirenberg said he will be able to hire two full-time employees to help reshape San Antonio's carbon footprint.