Michael R. Bloomberg and Sadiq Khan Launch $30m Breathe Cities Initiative

Today, on the first day of London Climate Week, Michael R. Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and London Mayor and C40 Chair Sadiq Khan announced the launch of Breathe Cities to break down barriers to action and ensure communities around the world have access to clean air.

The new $30 million clean air initiative is a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Clean Air Fund, and C40 Cities to save lives, improve health, and reduce air pollution that is both harmful to public health and the climate. Funding, technical support, air quality data, community engagement, capacity building and more will be provided to a group of cities to be announced later this year.

The initiative builds on Mayor Khan’s visionary work to tackle air pollution in London. In August, Mayor Khan will oversee the London-wide expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, his world-leading initiative to reduce vehicle pollution, ensuring five million more Londoners will breathe cleaner air.

The ULEZ has already been revolutionary in London, already benefiting four million Londoners, with harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations 21 percent lower in inner London than they would be without the ULEZ and 46 per cent lower in central London.

Since the ULEZ was first introduced four years ago it has led to a reduction of around 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from vehicles across London – showing how air quality and carbon reduction are linked issues.

“Cities around the world are proving that, with the right technology and support, they can reduce air pollution, protect public health, and fight climate change,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“Building on the effective work of London and others, our new Breathe Cities initiative brings together strong partners to help even more local leaders craft ambitious and equitable policies that can save and improve lives.”

“With 7 million deaths every year caused by air pollution, tackling the toxic air we breathe cannot wait,” said Dr. Maria Neira, the World Health Organisation’s director of environment, climate change and health.

“Through public-private collaboration, we have been able to provide government officials with the up-to-date data needed to make a real impact on air pollution in London,” said Professor Frank Kelly, chair in Community Health and Policy at Imperial College London.

“We are thrilled to see this collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies expand beyond London to provide communities around the world with the tools they need to combat air pollution, save lives, and improve economies.”

At COP26 in 2021, Mayor Khan called for the creation of Breathe Cities to build upon the successful Breathe London program to help more cities address the global air pollution crisis, and now he’s making good on that promise.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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