NEW YORK, May 16: Sixteen cities around the world, including Karachi, will begin cutting carbon emissions by renovating city-owned buildings with green technology under a programme spearheaded by former US president Clinton's foundation.
Former president Bill Clinton made the announcement on Wednesday.
He was joined by the mayors of several cities as part of an international climate summit he is hosting this week in New York City.
In a press announcement on Tuesday, the Clinton Foundation said major global banking institutions have committed $1 billion to finance the upgrades of municipal buildings in participating cities, which include New York, Chicago, Houston, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Berlin and Tokyo.
The other cities are Rome (Italy); Delhi (India); Karachi (Pakistan); Seoul (South Korea); Bangkok (Thailand); Melbourne (Australia); Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
The foundation expects the partnership to expand to more cities and companies after the first round.
The makeovers will include replacing heating, cooling and lighting systems with energy-efficient networks; making roofs white or reflective to deflect more of the sun's heat; sealing windows and installing new models that let more light in; and setting up sensors to control more efficient use of lights and air-conditioning.
Clinton's foundation said the planned changes have the potential to reduce energy use by 20 to 50 per cent in those buildings. The reduction could mean a significant decrease in heat-trapping carbon emissions, as well as cost savings on utility bills.
Buildings often represent a city's worst culprit in contributing to emissions. In New York, for example, the consumption of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and steam needed to operate buildings generates 79 per cent of the city's total carbon count.
Ira Magaziner, chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative, told news agencies that cities and private building owners would like to build and renovate with more energy efficiency, but often cannot put up the initial costs.
The partnership with Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, and ABN Amro will make that possible and benefit everyone involved, he said.
''They are going to save money, make money, create jobs and have a tremendous collective impact on climate change all at once,'' Bill Clinton said in a statement.
With the money from the banks, cities will get green technology at no cost. The programme assumes that cities already have money in their budgets set aside for building operations and will pay back loans, plus interest, through energy savings that the projects achieve over several years.
To ensure those savings are realized, Honeywell International Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., Siemens AG and American Standard Cos. Inc. will conduct energy audits of the buildings, complete the makeovers and guarantee the energy savings.
If the expected savings are not realized, those companies will pay the difference or make the changes in the buildings to achieve the savings, the foundation said.