Former President Bill Clinton and big-city mayors from around the globe have joined in an initiative to combat climate change and increase energy efficiency in everything from street lights to building materials.
The partnership between Clinton and the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group — an alliance of Rome, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles and other big cities that have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions— was to be formally announced Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles.
The alliance's aim is to slash the pollutants that contribute to global warming.
"It no longer makes sense for us to debate whether or not the Earth is warming at an alarming rate, and it doesn't make sense for us to sit back and wait for others to act," Clinton said in a statement.
"The fate of the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands, and it is our responsibility to do something about this crisis," Clinton added. "The partnership ... will take practical and, most importantly, measurable steps toward helping to slow down global warming, and by taking this approach I think we can make a big difference."
The pact is similar to one signed Monday by California and Britain, which will share information and technology to cut pollutants linked to climate change.
"Our aim is simple — to change the world," said London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who chairs the city group.
Many cities have worked to reduce energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions, but most of these practices are not in widespread or coordinated use, officials said.
Using the resources of his presidential foundation, Clinton will assist the large cities to create a consortium that will pool the purchasing power of the cities to lower the price of energy-saving products and accelerate the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gases. This will be similar to a Clinton Foundation initiative to lower the prices of drugs used to treat AIDS, officials said.
The new alliance will also deploy measurement tools and Internet-based communications that will allow cities to establish a baseline on their greenhouse-gas emissions, measure the effectiveness of the program in reducing these emissions and to share what works and does not work with each other.
Last October, London convened a meeting of major international cities to discuss the dangers of climate change. Other cities in the group include Berlin, Beijing, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Steps taken by cities could include installing energy efficient lighting for traffic and street lights and revising building codes and practices that make use of more effective insulation, windows and heating and ventilation systems.
Working together, they will also stress the use of environmentally friendly fuels or hybrid technologies for city buses and garbage trucks, and will look into ways to reduce traffic congestion and improve designs for electricity systems.