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16 cities get funding for green makeover

By Sara Kugler (Associated Press) - May 17, 2007

Sixteen cities around the world will get financing to “go green” by renovating buildings they own with technology designed to cut carbon emissions, former President Clinton announced Wednesday.

Clinton’s foundation has created an arrangement among four energy-service companies and five global banking institutions that will result in major environmental upgrades in the cities, which include New York, Chicago, Houston, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Rome.

“If all buildings were as efficient as they could be, we’d be saving an enormous amount of energy and significantly reducing carbon emissions,” Clinton said.

The planned projects include replacing heating, cooling and lighting systems with energy-efficient networks; making roofs white or reflective to deflect more of the sun’s heat; sealing windows and installing new models that let more light in and keep the elements out; and setting up sensors to control more efficient use of lights and air-conditioning.

Clinton said Citibank, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, UBS and ABN Amro have each committed $1 billion to finance the upgrades.

Clinton announced the partnership as part of an international climate summit this week in New York. It is the second meeting of the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit, which was created so mayors and local governments could share strategies for reversing the trends of climate change.

Retrofitted buildings could see a 20 to 50 percent reduction in energy use, Clinton said.

Buildings are among a city’s worst contributors to emissions totals, accounting for 50 percent of energy use in newer cities and more than 70 percent in older urban areas. In New York, for example, electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and steam consumed by buildings make up 79 percent of the city’s total count of heat-trapping gases, a recent study found.

The other cities taking part in the building plan are Mumbai (also known as Bombay), India; Karachi, Pakistan; Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; São Paulo, Brazil; and Johannesburg, South Africa.