Clinton Unveils $5 Billion Green Makeover for Cities

NEW YORK, New York, May 16, 2007 (ENS) - Former President Bill Clinton today announced the creation of a $5 billion global effort to fight global warming by retrofitting existing buildings with more energy efficient products, thereby reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

A project of the Clinton Climate Initiative, the program brings together four of the world's largest energy service companies, five of the world's largest banks, and 15 of the world's largest cities to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings.

President Clinton announced the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit now underway in New York. Mayors from across the United States and around the world are at the summit to strategize on climate change issues.

Former President Bill Clinton has created the first global program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings. (Photo courtesy JFK Presidential Library)
"Climate change is a global problem that requires local action," said Clinton. "The businesses, banks and cities partnering with my foundation are addressing the issue of global warming because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's good for their bottom line."

"They're going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once," he said.

Urban areas are responsible for approximately 75 percent of all energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in older cities such as New York and London this figure is much higher.

"Mayors are responsible for coming up with pragmatic solutions and implementing them effectively and this program will allow us to do that," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "We've laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce our carbon emissions, 80 percent of which come from buildings, while being economically competitive and continuing to grow."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, left, flanked by mayors from around the world, addresses the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit. (Photo by Spencer Tucker courtesy Office of the Mayor)
A number of progressive cities have already enacted green building codes and standards that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new buildings.

This will be the first large scale, global program that will address the larger problem of energy use in existing buildings. which are responsible for almost all greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

The Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program will provide both cities and their private building owners with access to the necessary funds to retrofit existing buildings with more energy efficient products, which is exptected to produce energy savings of between 20 and 50 percent.

As part of the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, cities have agreed to develop a program to make their municipal buildings more energy efficient and provide incentives for private building owners to retrofit their buildings with energy saving technologies.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, Chair of the C40, said he is encouraged by this first outcome of the C40's partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

New York

New York is one of the first 15 cities to enter the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program. (Photo by Ian Britton courtesy FreeFoto)
"Fifteen cities have already signed up to take advantage of this initiative and I am confident many more will follow," the London mayor said. "National governments still struggle to agree a way forward on global warming, but cities, which are responsible for around three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions, are today demonstrating the leadership and decisive action necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change."

Participation in the retrofit program will be open to local banks and companies, who will be invited to contribute to the funding pool and to expand the list of green products used in retrofits.

The retrofit program will be consistent with, and work within, city procurement and tendering rules.

The U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers have agreed to help coordinate training programs in participating cities.