Austin a winner in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (center) announces Austin wins cities climate challenge. (Photo: CBS Austin)

Austin is getting some love for its environmental policies. On Friday, Austin was named a winner in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge.

Austin won the award for proving a city can clean the air while growing the economy. This national honor recognizes Austin for being able to reduce carbon emissions even as the city and population continue to grow.

According to the City of Austin, in recent years (2013-2016) Austin has managed a 9 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions even as the population grew another 10 percent and the local GDP soared a whopping 52 percent. "Fighting climate change and growing the economy really go hand in hand," says former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "And you can see that right here in Austin."

Bloomberg came to town to personally announce Austin was a winner in his American Cities Climate Challenge, and he applauded Austin's plan to build on its success. "Our team was impressed by your bold goals,” he said. Austin plans to improve energy efficiency in city buildings and work with employers to reduce congestion by reducing single occupancy car commuters and increase sales of electric vehicles.

The U.S. is no longer participating in international agreements to address global climate change, but that hasn't stopped local leaders from working toward that goal. Long-time local environmental activist and current Travis County Pct. 1 Commissioner Brigid Shea says, “The president may be pulling out of the climate accord but the cities and the counties and the local governments in the United States are still in and we're the ones that can make a difference."

And Austin Mayor Steve Adler chimes in, “Whether or not Washington participates or to whatever extent Washington participates, our community Austin, Texas will continue to be Austin and there are cities and countries around the world that are stepping up to make sure that everything that can be done is done."

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