Bloomberg picks St. Pete for climate-change program

Mike Bloomberg announced his philanthropic organization will make millions of dollars in resources available to St. Petersburg to improve and expand its carbon-reduction projects.

The city is one of 25 across the nation that was chosen to join the American Cities Climate Challenge program. About 100 of the largest cities in America were invited to submit applications with their ideas to tackle climate-change issues. 

"We were looking for cities not only with ambitious goals but also realistic plans for reaching them, and strong mayoral leadership to get the job done," said Mike Bloomberg, former three-term mayor of New York City, and the founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

The donation will not come in the form of a check. Instead, St. Petersburg will have access to the $200-million program's resources and cutting-edge technology to help meet its near-term carbon-reduction goals.

"What a perfect way to start the new year with continued excitement and ambition to say we are still in," said Mayor Rick Kriseman.

The program will last two years, and according to city officials, it will focus mainly on buildings and transportation.

"I'm just so happy to live in a city that is taking the issue of climate change seriously," said Marc Sexton, a resident of St. Petersburg, "to my mind it is the most important issue in the world."

Other cities that are part of the program include Atlanta, Boston, and Washington D.C.