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Mayors: Cities must take lead on green initiatives

Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, answers questions at a news conference Thursday in Chicago during a meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He was accompanied by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, answers questions at a news conference Thursday in Chicago during a meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. He was accompanied by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

CHICAGO – The cities must plant the seed.

That was a key message to mayors and other officials from around the world who gathered thursday in Chicago to talk about sustainable growth and the battle against global warming, pollution and other threats to the environment.

"While nations talk, but too often drag their heels, I think it is fair to say it is the cities that are acting," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a briefing at an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference.

During the conference, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the need for sustainable growth, saying that efforts such as Chicago's planned massive retrofitting project not only will create scores of jobs, but also will drive down the city's energy costs.

Emanuel talked about the city's recent creation of a trust in which private financial organizations will invest in the retrofitting project and subsequent major infrastructure projects. And, he said, he hoped to hear what other cities are doing.

"Other mayors are facing similar, though unique challenges and the question is do they have a strategy or interesting way of having done something that can be imported, adopted, and then done for your own economic growth uniquely your own way," Emanuel said.

In that vein, Bloomberg announced a new initiative by the so-called C40 Climate Leadership group of mayors from the world's largest cities to "work together in creating, evaluating and replicating new financing structures for improved mass transit, alternative power generation and other green projects."

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