World’s largest cities sign climate pact
World’s largest cities sign climate pact
August 2, 2006
While the Bush administration refuses to take legistlative steps to fight climate change, 22 of the world’s largest cities joined forces Tuesday in a global warming pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Launched by former President Bill Clinton’s foundation, the initiative will provide technical assistance to help cities become more energy efficient and allow them to pool their resources to reduce the cost of energy-saving product purchases.
The press release from the Clinton Foundation follows.
President Clinton Launches Clinton Climate Initiative
President Clinton today launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), a Clinton Foundation initiative dedicated to making a difference in the fight against climate change in practical and measurable ways.
Credit: Dan Avila, Clinton Founation
President Clinton was joined by London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to announce the first project of CCI, a partnership between the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group. The Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, chaired by the Mayor of London, is an organization comprised of most of the largest cities in the world that have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Urban areas are responsible for over 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Therefore
reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in cities is fundamental to any effort to slow the pace of global warming.
“It no longer makes sense for us to debate whether or not the earth is warming at an alarming rate, and it doesn’t make sense for us to sit back and wait for others to act,” said President Clinton. “The fate of the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands, and it is our responsibility to do something about this crisis. The partnership between my Foundation and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group will take practical and, most importantly, measurable steps toward helping to slow down global warming, and by taking this approach I think we can make a big difference. I commend Mayor Livingstone and the Large Cities Group for their leadership on this issue.”
Last October, London convened a meeting of large cities to discuss cooperation on addressing global warming. The Large Cities Climate Leadership Group recognized the need for action and cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pledged to work together towards that end.
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said: “There is no bigger task for humanity than to avert catastrophic climate change. The world’s largest cities can have a major impact on this. Already they are at the centre of developing the technologies and innovative new practices that provide hope that we can radically reduce carbon emissions.
“Former President Clinton and his Foundation have proved that they can intervene decisively to make a real impact on one of the world’s biggest problems, AIDS. On behalf of the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, I am delighted to be able to enter into this new partnership to rapidly accelerate cities’ response to global warming. Our aim is simple — to change the world.”
The Clinton Climate Initiative will assist the large cities in the group in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency by using the same business-oriented approach that has made other Clinton Foundation initiatives successful. The Clinton Foundation has made a major contribution to the global fight against HIV/AIDS over the past four years by building efficient and effective systems for procurement and distribution of medicine and tests, thus drastically reducing the cost of treatment. More recently, the Clinton Foundation used the same business-oriented approach to make strides against childhood obesity, working with major beverage manufacturers to take high-sugar drinks out of the nation’s schools.
To enable partner cities to reduce energy use and green house gas emissions CCI will:
- Create a purchasing consortium that will pool the purchasing power of the cities to lower the prices of energy saving products and accelerate the development and deployment of new energy saving and greenhouse gas reducing technologies and products. This will be similar to the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative total quality management approach that has substantially lowered AIDS drug prices for members of its purchasing consortium.
- Mobilize the best experts in the world to provide technical assistance to cities to develop and implement plans that will result in greater energy efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- Create and deploy common measurement tools and internet based communications systems that will allow cities to establish a baseline on their greenhouse gas emissions, measure the effectiveness of the program in reducing these emissions and to share what works and does not work with each other.
Many cities have worked individually to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions but most of these practices are not in widespread, systematic or coordinated use, thus greatly reducing their effectiveness. CCI will engage the largest cities in the world and allow them to be leaders for all cities by making the direct benefits from the purchasing consortium, technical assistance, and measurement and communication tools available to other cities throughout the world.
There are a number of practical steps cities can take to increase efficiency and reduce emissions including:
- More energy efficient lighting for traffic and street lights.
- Building codes and practices that make use of more effective insulation, more energy efficient windows, more energy efficient heating and ventilation systems and more energy efficient lighting.
- More energy efficient municipal water and sanitation systems
- Localized, cleaner electric generation systems
- Use of bio-fuels or hybrid technologies for city buses, garbage trucks and other vehicles
- Schemes to reduce traffic congestion
- Reduction of emissions from city garbage dumps and the use of biomass to generate electricity
- More intelligent design of electric grids both across the city and within office and municipal buildings
The CCI—Large Cities partnership begins with 22 of the largest cities in the world participating — Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Chicago, Delhi, Dhaka, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Toronto, Warsaw and the partnership anticipates that many more cities will join over the next four to six months.
This article contains a modified news release from the Clinton Foundation.