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$30m ‘Breathe Cities’ project launched in London Climate Action Week

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The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and UN Climate Special Envoy, Mike Bloomberg, announced a new $30 million clean air initiative today.

Launched to coincide with London Climate Action Week, the Breathe Cities project is a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Clean Air Fund, and C40 Cities.

The project will provide funding, technical support, air quality data, community engagement, and capacity building to a group of cities, which will be announced later this year.

This initiative builds upon the London Mayor’s efforts to combat air pollution in the city.

In August, Khan will oversee the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone across London. Since its introduction four years ago, the ULEZ has resulted in a reduction of approximately 800,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from vehicles in London, demonstrating the interconnection between air quality and carbon reduction.

More than 40% of cities have air pollution levels over seven times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommendations, exposing residents to dangerously polluted air that can cause various health issues, including asthma and respiratory illnesses.

Air pollution is also responsible for seven million premature deaths worldwide each year. It costs the global economy $8.1 trillion, equivalent to 6.1% of global GDP.

“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.

“As Chair of C40 Cities, I am committed to working collaboratively across national borders and city boundaries to tackle air pollution and address the climate crisis,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London and Chair of C40 Cities.”

“Toxic air pollution is a public health crisis in many of our cities, leading to premature death and chronic disease. Countries in the Global South, which have contributed the least to climate change throughout history, are most severely affected, bearing the brunt of climate chaos. In my own city, to help reduce emissions, we are expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide, allowing five million more Londoners to breathe cleaner air. I’m proud that this partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Clean Air Fund, and C40 Cities will enable cities across the globe to decrease emissions and confront the air pollution crisis head-on.”

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