|May 17, 2007|
Clinton Climate Initiative Offers $5B to Green Cities' Buildings
|New York, USA -- At this week's C40 Large Cities Climate Summit here, companies, cities and organizations have announced plans and programs to help cities fight global warming. But yesterday, former U.S. president Bill Clinton trumped them all with the announcement of his $5 billion program to renovate municipal buildings at cities worldwide.
The C40 Large Buildings Retrofit Program will help reduce energy use and curb greenhouse gas emissions around the globe. As an example, the city of New York estimates that the electricity, oil and gas needed to run the city's buildings creates 79 percent of the Big Apple's carbon emissions. Buildings worldwide account for as much as 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
The partnership brings together city leaders -- 15 cities will make up the first phase of the project -- with banking institutions and companies that specialize in creating energy efficient solutions for buildings.
"Climate change is a global problem that requires local action," Clinton said. "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."
"By bringing together cities and partnering with the private sector, President Clinton and the Clinton foundation are providing the tools to help cities achieve our goals," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
The five financial institutions involved -- ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS -- have each committed to offer $1 billion in funding up front, which will be used to provide green technologies to cities at no net cost. The city governments have agreed, for their part, to pay back the loans with interest from the energy savings realized by increasing energy efficiency. In addition, the cities will streamline their paperwork and bureaucratic processes to implement the projects as soon as possible.
In order to make sure that the energy efficiency projects are successful and will result in significant energy savings, the program has brought on board four companies to perform energy audits and building retrofits. Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Trane and Siemens, all global leaders in energy efficiency in buildings, have agreed to guarantee the energy savings of the projects -- should the projects fail to reach the kinds of savings promised, the companies will either cover the shortfall of the capital loan or make whatever improvements are needed in the buildings to achieve the proper savings.
London mayor Ken Livingstone, whose city is among the first to join the program, said, "This first program to come out of our partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative is a considerable breakthrough. This procurement alliance will make it financially feasible for cities to radically cut emissions from buildings."
The 15 cities involved in the launch of the program, in addition to London and New York City, are: Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, Melbourne, Mexico City, Mumbai, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toronto. The foundation expects the partnership to expand to more cities and companies after the first round.