The second C40 Large Cities Climate Summit ended here Thursday with broad calls for systemic change, and innovative and bold initiatives to promote environmental sustainability.
Some 250 delegates from 46 cities, including 32 mayors, as well as international business leaders, took part in the four-day summit, during which a 5-billion-dollar initiative was launched by the Clinton Foundation to retrofit old buildings in 16 cities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the Clinton Foundation's statistics, urban areas are responsible for approximately 75 percent of all energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
Five major global financial institutions -- ABN AMRO, Citi Group, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and UBS -- have agreed to finance the first phase of retrofit projects. Each committed to arrange 1 billion dollars for this effort.
Sixteen world cities will be the first C40 partner cities to participate in the program: Bangkok, Berlin, Bombay, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toronto.
The participating cities have committed to working with the foundation and its expert partners to develop programs to audit their buildings and to implement retrofits that improve their energy efficiency.
The summit's host, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, made a keynote speech on the city's plan to reduce New York's green gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 when another million people may have joined the 8 million living in the city today.
"This is our blueprint -- or should I say green print? -- for making the Big Apple truly the Green Apple," the mayor told the guests.
The Bloomberg administration recently proposed 127 environment-friendly initiatives in 10 fields to prepare the city for 2030, the most controversial of which are congestion fees.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the chair of C40, stressed that "the fight to tackle climate change will be won or lost in cities."
The C40 is a group of the world's largest cities committed to addressing climate change. The attendees also shared the idea that no one can combat global warming alone.
London's Livingstone said "We agreed that if our cities worked together we would make much faster progress in cutting carbon emissions."
A lot of panel discussions were held during the summit. They focused on transport, energy, water, as well as how to encourage high-performance energy efficient buildings and create financing mechanisms for sustainable infrastructure.
Discussion on landfills focused on the need for integrated strategies that address the "big picture" end-product of current waste policies.
Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, the Mayor of Mexico City joined Klaus Wowereit, the Mayor of Berlin, and a representative from JP Morgan & Chase & Co. to discuss how "Cities can thrive in a Low Carbon Economy."
The first C40 climate summit was held in London in October 2005. According to Livingstone, the next C40 climate summit will be held within two years in Seoul, South Korea.