August 2, 2006

Bill Clinton, World Mayors Form Alliance on Climate

LOS ANGELES -- Former President Clinton and mayors of some of the world's largest cities announced an initiative Tuesday to combat climate change and increase energy efficiency in everything from street lights to building materials.

The partnership joins Clinton and the resources of his presidential foundation with the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group - an alliance of Rome, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles and other cities that have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The aim is to pool technology and resources to slash the pollutants that contribute to global warming while promoting clean-burning fuels and energy conservation.

"This is a very, very serious problem, but also a phenomenal opportunity," Clinton said at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he signed the pact in the company of the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, as well as British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Clinton faulted the Bush White House for moving too slowly on global warming and said an era of environmental catastrophe awaits if more isn't done at home and abroad.

"The entrenched thought patterns and economic interests of yesterday are our common enemy," Clinton said.

In response, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality said that the Bush administration supports efforts to cut emissions.

"The administration encourages all levels of government - including the states and local governments - to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Kristen Hellmer said. "This approach reinforces the approach advanced by the president, and the administration looks forward to exploring ideas to achieve real results."

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.

The plan calls for Clinton to help the cities pool their purchasing power to lower the price of energy-saving products and accelerate the development of technology to reduce greenhouse gases.