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World Cities Join Hands to Combat Climate Change

Fifteen of the world's largest cities have agreed on a $5-billion initiative with major banks to retrofit buildings in their cities to save energy , in the first such enterprise to combat climate change.

Former US president Bill Clinton launched the initiative to coincide this week with a summit in New York attended by mayors and governors from 40 of the world's largest cities to discuss climate change.

Clinton's initiative launched on Wednesday called on ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and UBS to provide up to one billion dollars each to finance cities and private buildings to retrofit buildings. The amount to be provided by those five groups would double the market for energy retrofit in buildings.

The five banks will work with energy efficiency specialists like Hannon Armstrong and CCI to work out a mechanism to deploy their capital worldwide.

Honeywell, Johnson Controls Inc., Siemens and Trane will conduct energy audits and building retrofits to ensure energy conservation.

"Climate change is a global problem that requires local action," Clinton said in announcing the programme between the two sides. "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."

The initial group of large cities involved in the deal includes Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, New York, Mexico City, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo and Toronto.

Large cities worldwide consume 75 percent of the world's energy and produce 80 percent of greenhouse gases.

Mayors and governors of those cities attended the two-day Climate Summit in New York hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which ended Wednesday.

Bloomberg unveiled New York's ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in his city by 30 percent by 2030, including a controversial plan to introduce a traffic congestion charge in Manhattan.

"This is our blueprint - or should I say greenprint - for making the Big Apple truly the Green Apple," Bloomberg had told his guests from around the world.

Bloomberg warned that unless New York authorities act aggressively, carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase up to 30 percent above current levels by 2030.


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