Mike Bloomberg’s Climate Change roadtrip

The former mayor of New York is helping launch a cross-country project offering funding for local projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

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In the Trump era, the divisions in America have never been more visible, and one of the clearest divisions is between urban and rural areas. America’s cities consistently choose a more progressive vision of the future than the countryside that surrounds them.

This is not, in fact, new. On topics such as gun control, city and town leaders nationwide have long worked together to lobby for tighter restrictions on things like who can purchase automatic rifles. Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York city, has often been on the forefront of these initiatives, maintaining a network of city mayors across the country.

In 2014, he founded the Everytown for Gun Safety, a group that incorporates Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a network of city executives working together for the safety of their townspeople.

But it’s not just guns that worry Bloomberg and other city-level leaders across America. On September 14, he and other leading philanthropists will join for part of a cross-country road trip in an electric car (a 2017 Chevy Bolt), stopping along the way and meeting with local city leadership groups to fund local-scale projects to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions. The project is also supported by California governor Jerry Brown.

This kind of grassroots project is sorely needed as Trump’s administration rolls back on environmental protections across the country. In particular, the EPA, under then-administrator Scott Pruitt (who has since resigned), repealed the Clean Power Plan, president Obama’s signature carbon emission reduction policy.

At each stop, the “New American Road Trip” will award cash prizes of up to $7,000 for projects by schools, companies, or community organizations which offer innovative proposals for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bloomberg, who is currently the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for climate action, said that “the cross-country road trip is a great American tradition and a chance to see some of the nation’s most impressive sights,” and added that “today, that includes the work Americans are doing in both red and blue states to reduce carbon emissions in ways that strengthen the economy, create jobs, and protect public health.”

“This trip is a way to highlight and support their efforts.”

One of the scheduled stops on the trip is Boulder, Colorado. “My fellow female mayors and women leaders across the country have been integral to driving clean energy and climate policies, and promoting innovation and technology that is creating green jobs, economic growth and a more sustainable future here in Boulder and nationally,” Suzanne Jones, the mayor of Boulder, said in a statement.

And California governor Jerry Brown said, also in a statement, that “this is more than a road trip, it’s a window to the future – when renewable energy will power our cities and electric vehicles will dot not only America’s two coasts, but also its heartland.”

You can follow the trip on social media, or – if you live in one of the cities being visited along the route (Las Vegas, Boulder, St. Louis and Pittsburgh) – you can enter the competition, using their official hashtag, “#NewAmericanRoadTrip”.

Nicky Woolf is the editor of New Statesman America. He has formerly written for the Guardian and the New Statesman. He tweets @NickyWoolf.