For the first time in history, half of the world’s population lives in cities. Cities hold economic weight, inspire a sense of belonging and loyalty (just ask a Red Sox fan), and are hubs for innovation and investment. And increasingly, cities are focusing on what can be done at the local level to promote clean, healthy, and prosperous communities and stepping up to the plate with commitments like America’s Pledge to meet Paris climate goals in the absence of a firm federal commitment. Through these bold acts, cities are making possible more ambitious action at the state and national level.
City-focused climate funds, which finance projects in a city that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase resiliency, can provide positive environmental, economic, and health impacts. Such funds, including New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation(NYCEEC), The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) in Toronto, the London Green Fund (LGF), and Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF), have been able to create a substantial impact relative to the monies they have deployed by focusing on delivering value beyond access to capital alone. Other cities are joining the trend: in 2018, the City of Boston plans to launch Renew Boston Trust, which aims to use a market-based, self-funding model to increase energy efficiency investments and climate resiliency in its commercial and municipal buildings, nonprofit institutions, and multi-family properties.