Three California cities have been awarded $1 million each to attain carbon neutrality by 2030. Under the Cool City Challenge, the cities of Los Angeles, Irvine and Petaluma won money and consulting support to execute their plans. The award comes after several months of a rigorous application process that involved over 40 cities. All the cities were required to submit plans that did not include carbon offsets.
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The Cool City Challenge organizers set the bar extremely high to ensure that wining cities had the capacity and tools to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. All participating cities were required to submit a cross-sector leadership team, 200 block leaders and 25 community partner organizations.
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Applicants were also tasked with enticing their city councils to pass resolutions that would make carbon neutrality possible by 2030. The three cities passed the challenge by submitting plans that had community backing and local partners and were in line with their respective city council resolutions.
According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the Cool City Challenge is “an exemplary how-to guide for local communities to make a significant impact on climate change. It demonstrates the untapped potential of citizens to engage in an effective and achievable way.”
The Cool City Challenge is built around the innovative Behaviour and Social Change Work by David Gershon, the CEO of Empowerment Institute. Gershon, the author of Social Change 2.0, is known for offering solutions for reinventing our world.
“These cities deeply inspired me with their dedication to such a rigorous application process, their out-of-the-box moonshot thinking, and the high-caliber leaders spanning the public, private and civic sectors they attracted to their moonshot teams,” said Gershon.
According to Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, author of the City’s Carbon Neutral 2030 Legislation, humanity must face climate change and deal with it. “If we are to meet the greatest challenge ever faced by humankind — in time — we must look climate change square in the face, and do not what’s possible, but what’s necessary to keep our planet habitable and thriving,” said Koretz.
The winning cities reflect California’s diversity, representing urban, suburban, north, south, coastal and inland areas. They also represent a variety of social and racial groups. Plans developed by the cities offer both bottom-up and top-down moonshot climate solutions in terms of policy, technology and market development.