Former President Clinton announced this afternoon a program to finance the greening of existing government buildings in three large American cities and eight international cities as part of the C40 Global Climate Summit in New York."This $5 billion will more than double the global market for building retrofits," Clinton said at a mid-town Manhattan Waldorf-Astoria press conference with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and London Mayor Ken Livingstone. "We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions place by place, building by building and block by block. We know what to do (with the problem of greenhouse gas emssions), we just need to get organized and get after it."
I see the program as a well-needed way to systematically reduce global climate impacts of existing buildings--as I was quoted in the AP story above--while also addressing the issue of climate change adaptation for cities.
Antonio Villaraigosa, right, Mayor of Los Angeles speaks to John Street, center, Mayor of Philadelphia and Ken Livingstone, left, Mayor of London during the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York Wednesday, May 16, 2007.
Out of the 40 largest world cities, mayors from 32 showed up here to come up with financial and tactical strategies to combat global climate change. The event is being organized by the Clinton Foundation Global Climate Change initiative as well as the Partnerhsip for New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.
"Unfortunately, it has fallen to the mayors to do it because at the federal level in this country and other countries, they seem to be tied up," Bloomberg said in statement.
U.S. cities that will benefit from the fund announced today at the conference include New York, Chicago and Houston. Companies funding the initiative include Citi, Deutsche Bank, ABN AMRO, JPMorgan Chase and UBS, which will each contribute $1 billion upfront to finance the $5 billion effort.
Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner of the Environment for the city of Chicago told me this morning, "We're already underway working this out with building managers and operators."
Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two cities that belong to the C40 group were noticeably absent from the announcement and are investigating ways in which they may participate, according to a Clinton Foundation official I spoke with. Other participating global cities include Rome; Delhi, India; Karachi, Pakistan; Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Johannesburg, South Africa.When Clinton was asked if he liked working with mayors versus working with Congress or governors as president, he said: "Doing this is more satisfying. Mayors are in the business of doing. We're back in the solutions business." Clinton also weighed in on the promise of economic development for everything from biofuels, to electric engines as "long as oil is above $50 a barrel." And he touted distributed energy sources such as solar and wind power, particularly stressing the need for alternatives to a centralized electric grid in developing nations.
Honeywell, Johnson Control, Siemens and American Standard companies will be among the companies providing services ranging from implementing reflecting or white rooftops (a topic I blogged about the need for after California's epic July heat wave last summer) to more energy efficient sensor-controlled heating and cooling networks.