The Fortune Green Brainstorm in Laguna last week was keynoted by Bill Clinton, who displayed an impressive comprehension of the difficult task ahead for Obama in passing an economic recovery package AND climate change legislation, both of which he feels are vital to the future prosperity and security of the United States.
I had to edit a lot to get down to the 5 minute clip above, but in his talk Clinton also referenced his long track record with renewable energy, dating back to his tenure as Arkansas Governor where he brought in a young Amory Lovins to prove the economic advantages of energy efficiency over the construction of a new and very expensive nuclear reactor.
He also gave numerous examples of how the Clinton Initiative is tackling climate change:
C-40, a consortium of the 40 largest cities in the world working together to measure and limit carbon emissions.
Energy retrofits for New York Housing Authority -- currently 11% of the total U.S. housing stock.
$33 million energy efficiency retrofit of the Empire State Building which will be paid off in 8 years (versus 20 years for a new power plant) and is the equivalent of taking 19,000 cars off road (a 38% efficiency increase).
Advanced computer controlled traffic project in Seoul, Korea in partnership with Cisco.
Negotiated price list of energy technology providers, extending special prices to a network of 1,100 cities, the League of Cities.
Integrated waste management projects in Mexico City, Mumbai, San Paolo, Lima -- including methane capture and training of scavengers to be full-time recyclers.
Two large solar thermal projects in Australia & India.
Research into carbon capture & storage technology.
Rockefeller grant for preventing deforestation (which is 20% of the global CO2 problem and 70% of Brazil & Indonesia carbon emissions).
2Degrees website with ICLEI & Microsoft which provides a baseline carbon measurement for every city worldwide.
Overall Clinton said he was optimistic about the economic recovery, given the desire to invest in new energy technologies and the estimated $900 billion in capital that the banks can lend (assuming they will). The key now, he said, is for the private sector to prove to the world that clean energy "makes good business sense."
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