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California cities win $50,000 in statewide carbon-cutting contest
First prize money awarded for signups in CoolCalifornia City Challenge; Riverside gets $18,000, Claremont and Corona almost tie for second and third
SACRAMENTO - A total of $50,000 in prize money has been awarded to 10 California cities at the close of the first two months of a five-month contest in which cities are finding creative ways to cut their carbon footprints and vie to be crowned the "Coolest California City."
The top three prize winners at the two-month mark are Riverside ($17,793), Claremont ($8,325) and Corona ($7,604). The $50,000 was distributed between all participating cities based on the number of new household signups to the Challenge between April 1 and May 30.
“The winning cities are blessed with active citizens who took up the challenge of signing up their neighbors to save energy and money,” Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. “Now they also have a cash prize to use for the civic improvement of their choice, on top of the bragging rights.”
Riverside, for example, plans to use the money to fund student internships and local sustainability projects. Another city, Rancho Cucamonga, intends to use the funding to help pay for a new rest stop along a 7-mile bike trail complete with bench, trash can and a mounted brick dedication to members of its CoolCalifornia Challenge team.
The City Challenge runs between April 1 and Aug. 31. Cities are encouraging residents to take easy, everyday actions — from replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFLs to turning your thermostat up 5 degrees during the daytime and 10 degrees at night — that can lead to big carbon reductions. Participants log their actions to reduce greenhouse gases onto an online carbon calculator which determines how much carbon is being cut in each municipality. The winner will be named the “Coolest California City” at an awards ceremony in October.
Overall, $100,000 in incentive and prize money is being given to participating cities to help them reach their goals. Funding for the prizes is provided by Energy Upgrade California™, a new statewide initiative to educate Californians about how to manage energy in their homes and businesses.
Other cities competing in this year’s City Challenge are Arcata, Burlingame, Chula Vista, Mission Viejo, Long Beach and Lynwood. All cities received a portion of the prize money based on the number of new participants signed up in their city by May 30.
As participating cities enter the next leg of the competition, another $50,000 is on the line. This time, cities will earn prize money based how many points they earn at the Aug. 31 close of the contest. Points are earned by reducing household energy use, for example, or by cutting the amount of greenhouse gases produced by cars. Carbon-cutting residents may choose to ride a bike instead of driving or to hang laundry out to dry instead of using a gas or electric dryer. Points are easily tracked using the City Challenge online software.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.