Houston in the Scheme of the Clinton Global Initiative
by: Ed Mayberry, September 28, 2008 10:09:15 pm
This is the fourth year for former President Bill Clinton's CGI annual meeting, involving current and former heads of state, hundreds of CEOs, philanthropists and celebrities. Senators John McCain and Barack Obama spoke to attendees this year. Houston Mayor Bill White was there, to...
"...emphasize the importance of taking local initiative to reduce energy consumption. I think that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can lower utility bills if we make building standards more energy efficient, and we do some of the things like we're doing in the city of Houston to rehab some of our older residences to use less energy."
Mayor White says Houston is ahead of the curve in addressing energy and climate change.
"Yes, I think a lot of people aren't aware of the direction Houston is going — cracking down on pollution. Many people still would be shocked to know that the oil and gas capital of the United States is also a renewables capital, both in the headquarters of wind energy firms and other renewables firms as well the fact that the city of Houston now buys over a third of the energy used in the government of the city of Houston, including our water/sewer system, we use wind energy renewables."
Also attending Clinton's Global Initiative meeting was Dikembe Mutombo of the Houston Rockets, who wants to see problems solved in Africa.
"The queen of Jordan pointed out that there's more than 23 million children in some part of the world are not going to school. What are we doing to get them to go to school? They don't have nothing to eat, or they don't have no transportation to get there."
Mutombo joined other celebrities taking part in the Clinton Global Initiatives — Bob Geldof, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Streisand and Bono.
"With my presence being here, bringing people from every walk of life, they're not just coming to talk about the problem, they are coming to try and solve it, to find a solution right away. Anyone who will walk here, make sure that you have a solution—idea in your mind."
Discussions covered health and education issues, as well as energy and climate change and the alleviation of poverty. Mayor White says other leaders have like minds when it comes to energy conservation.
"For a local boy we'll have the mayor of Paris, France and former presidents of countries and Houston is getting some real attention as being — who would've thought it to be?—a trendsetter in energy consumption"
Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.