Former president Bill Clinton announced the Clinton Climate Initiative during the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit yesterday. The CCI is an ambitious program to help 15 cities (Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Houston, Johannesburg, Karachi, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, and Toronto) renovate/retrofit buildings with more energy efficient products. Clinton has managed to get ABN AMRO, Citi, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and UBS to each put up $1 billion "to finance cities and private building owners to undertake these retrofits at no net cost, doubling the global market for energy retrofit in buildings." From the press release:

As part of the Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, cities have agreed to develop a program to make their municipal buildings more energy efficient and provide incentives for private building owners to retrofit their buildings with energy saving technologies. The retrofit program will be consistent with, and work within, city procurement and tendering rules. Participation in the program will be open to local banks and companies, who will be invited to contribute to the funding pool and to expand the list of green products used in retrofits. This is the first of many programs that CCI is organizing with partner cities in the C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, an association of large cities that have agreed to work together to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

It's believed that retrofitting buildings will lead to 20-50% reductions in energy use, not to mention lower utility bills.

The Sun noted that Clinton made the presentation with his wife's possible presidential opponent: Mayor Bloomberg. Still, Clinton likes Bloomberg's congestion plan, saying, "The longer I wait in traffic the better I like it."

Here are a fact sheet (PDF) and Q&A (PDF) about the Clinton Climate Initiative.