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Clinton, Bloomberg to Host Climate Summit in New York

A global summit of leaders including former President Clinton convenes here this week to exchange ideas on addressing the threat of global warming.

Mayors and governors of more than 30 localities from Colombia to South Korea, along with executives from a number of international companies, will join Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit that begins Monday.

It is the second such gathering; the first was held in 2005 in London, drawing representatives of 18 cities.

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The theory behind the conference is that cities must play a major role in reversing climate change, since they contribute 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions even though they cover less than 1 percent of the Earth's surface.

"Cities must take responsibility for our contribution to global climate change," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is one of the participants. A spokeswoman said he will announce his own city's carbon-reduction plan Tuesday in California before attending the conference.

Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, essentially trap solar energy from the sun. In a city like New York, buildings contribute an overwhelming majority of emissions as they consume electricity, natural gas and fuel oil.

This week's conference will feature discussions on ways to build greener cities, use renewable energy sources, transform waste into energy and work with the private sector.

Bloomberg recently unveiled his 23-year plan to make the city of 8.2 million people sustainable as the population continues to grow.

Bloomberg's most controversial proposal is to charge motorists a fee to drive into the most congested parts of Manhattan as a way to reduce traffic and pollution. The mayor often points to a similar program in London as an example of its potential success. He was scheduled to present the plan Monday to state lawmakers, who must approve the congestion-pricing scheme.