Building on President Clinton’s longstanding commitment to the environment, the Clinton Foundation has initiated programs that create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change — while also helping to reduce our reliance on oil, saving money for individuals and governments, creating jobs, and growing economies. Here are 10 actions we’ve taken to build a more sustainable future.
1. ASSISTING CITIES’ LEADERSHIP ON CLIMATE CHALLENGES
Cities contribute more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), in partnership with the C40 Climate Leadership Group, helps the world’s largest cities implement projects that dramatically reduce carbon emissions — while also saving on energy costs and creating local jobs.
2. IMPROVING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN CITY ICONS
New York City’s Empire State Building is proving that city buildings, no matter how large or how old, can significantly and affordably reduce their energy consumption. The retrofit of this iconic building includes high-efficiency window glass replacement, redesigned heating and cooling systems and controls, and lighting improvements are reducing the building’s energy use by 38 percent and energy bills by $4.4 million annually. CCI has assisted with retrofit plans for several Chicago landmarks, including the Merchandise Mart and the Daley Center.
3. INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE
Energy consumed by buildings accounts for more than 15 percent of global carbon emissions. We work to address how buildings at both the local and national levels are using energy. In Little Rock, Arkansas, we are facilitating commercial retrofits for local employers, and home energy audits to their employees, through the Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) program. In 2011, we were invited by the White House to assist in the development of the Better Buildings Challenge, which was launched by President Obama in February 2011 with the goal of making American buildings 30 percent more energy efficient by 2020. Additionally, we have helped advance the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ commitment – announced at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting – to mobilize pension funds to invest in making U.S. infrastructure more energy efficient.
4. GREENING TRANSPORTATION
Cars, trucks, buses, and trains represent nearly 12 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but the solutions needed to improve transportation systems can sometimes appear costly and difficult to manage. President Clinton is helping change the market for clean transportation technologies and make them more affordable — and helping cities, including Johannesburg, South Africa, and Rio de Janerio, Brazil, design and implement large-scale public transit systems that reduce emissions.
5. HELPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO PROTECT SOME OF THE LARGEST FORESTS IN THE WORLD
In addition to being a major contributor to climate change, deforestation is both a driver and a result of poverty in developing countries. We are working with governments and local partners in Cambodia, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, and Rwanda to help make it more profitable for countries to preserve forests than to cut them down; to create robust systems to measure the carbon of forests; and to actively involve local communities in the preservation of their forests. Currently, we are working on 10 sustainable forest management projects, encompassing 644,000 hectares of land, that will benefit more than 353,000 people in forest-dependent communities.
6. POWERING HAITI WITH CLEAN ENERGY
The Clinton Foundation and affiliates have been working to invest in green energy to help boost economic recovery and energy infrastructure in Haiti. The Foundation has been working with Haitians to reduce energy costs and dependency on fossil fuels by implementing projects such as solar farms, clean energy stores, solar flashlights, and clean-burning briquettes.
7. HELPING UNIVERSITIES ACHIEVE SUSTAINABILITY
Our Building Retrofit Program has helped the University of Central Missouri and the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México — one of Mexico’s largest private universities — to implement campus-wide energy savings measures. As part of their programs, these universities are engaging students and faculty, both in and outside of the classroom, on sustainability initiatives around campus in order to create a living learning environment.
8. IMPROVING URBAN LIGHTING
We’re working with Los Angeles on the largest streetlight retrofit undertaken by a city to date, replacing 140,000 traditional streetlights with LEDs. The project will reduce CO2 emissions by 40,500 tons and save $10 million annually — proving that what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy.
9. TRANSFORMING WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste in landfills is the third largest source of anthropogenic methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than CO2. We’re working with cities around the world — including Delhi, Houston, Cairo, and Mexico City — to reduce reliance on landfills, to compost organic waste, and to convert waste to energy.
10. COMMITTING TO TAKE ACTION
Members of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and CGI America have committed to implement projects and build partnerships that develop the clean energy industry and support economic recovery by creating green jobs. Because of commitments made by CGI’s members, more than 400 million metric tons of CO2 have been cut or abated, and enough clean energy has been generated to power more than 400,000 homes. Through CGI America commitments, when fully funded and implemented, more than $84 million of new capital will be invested in green initiatives, nearly 760 million kilowatt hours of energy will be saved, and 6,600 green jobs will be created in the U.S.