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April 29, 2010

Burlington Selected to Join Elite 'Carbon War Room'

Covershot Burlington is among 15 cities from around the world that will take part in a 30-month challenge to develop new, market-driven solutions to combat climate change.

The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization founded by Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson, made the announcement Wednesday.

The thrust of the Carbon War Room, and the Green Capital Global Challenge, is to connect private investment and entrepreneurs with environmental projects – building a new economy based on green development that in the end is both good for the environment and investors' bottom line, said Joe Reinert, a spokesman for Mayor Kiss.

Mayor Bob Kiss attended a Carbon War Room forum in Vancouver, Canada in February during the Winter Olympics at the invitation of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who co-hosted the forum.

Kiss took part in a panel discussion with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eduardo Paes of Rio de Janeiro. The panel, titled "Visions for Green Capital", was moderated by Branson.

Joining Kiss in Vancouver was Jennifer Green, the co-director of Burlington's Legacy Project and coordinator of the city’s Climate Action Plan.

Kiss attended the forum despite pleas by Progressives and Burlington Telecom allies not to fiddle in Canada while BT burned. At the time of the conference, a key decision was handed down by the Vermont Public Service Board that barred BT from borrowing funds from the city's "cash pool" to pay a $386,000 lease payment.

It appears as if Kiss' decision to trek to Vancouver paid off. At the end of the conference, organizers announced a $500 million investment pledge for its " Green Capital Global Challenge"; essentially a half billion dollars it had secured to help cities fund green development.

"Burlington looks forward to working with the Carbon War Room in a common effort to promote energy efficiency and reduce green house gas emissions,” said Kiss in a statement.  “The Carbon War Room promises to foster new public and private partnerships in order to stop climate change. In this alliance, Burlington hopes to serve as a model small city and welcomes the chance to work alongside the Carbon War Room and other first wave cities.”

Participating cities were selected from across the United States, Canada and Europe, after the Carbon War Room reviewed an overwhelming number of applications from cities around the world.

The other cities chosen include:  Atlanta, Babylon (New York), Charleston (South Carolina), Chicago, Gainesville (Florida), New York City, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Washington D.C., Toronto, Vancouver, London, Birmingham (England), and Copenhagen.

Branson said mayors, and by default the cities they lead, have the ability to be the true public entrepreneurs in today's global marketplace.

“In this time of uncertainty around the ability and resolve of governments to lead the planet to low-carbon prosperity, it is up to businesses and cities to step up and assume responsibility,” said Branson, co-founder of the Carbon War Room.  “Mayors are the entrepreneurs of the civic world who realize their pivotal role in the fight against climate change.”

Branson said the cities chosen will be able to move forward on a number of carbon-saving projects, such as green building initiatives and renewable energy programs to achieving full carbon neutrality.

“These cities are committed to taking immediate action to be a part of a movement that will create jobs, help local economies thrive, and green cities around the world,” said Jigar Shah, chief executive officer of the Carbon War Room.  “These cities, along with many others that applied for the first wave, have pioneering sustainability visions, but they cannot do it on their own. The Carbon War Room is committed to working with them to create the mechanisms that will allow cities and the private sector to work together to make these visions a reality.”

Launched by the Carbon War Room during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Green Capital Global Challenge is a two-year program that aims to mobilize capital and resources into city-led energy efficiency initiatives that will culminate in a review of results during the summer of 2012. That review will occur in London.

“We were inspired by the quality and quantity of nominations in the selection process,” said Peter Boyd, director of operations of the Carbon War Room. “We will be working hard alongside the first wave of cities to help connect them with the private capital they need to improve energy efficiency of their buildings, and create jobs in their cities.”

In order to join the Green Capital – Global Challenge, cities will be completing a five-step plan that involves

• Committing to the challenge with funding targets;

• Forming a dedicated team within their government focused on the challenge;

• Assembling a network of administrative and financing partners capable of bringing these plans forward;

• Working within their local governments to put the enabling policies in place; and

• Launching the financing program to begin moving their visions forward.

To this first group of cities, the Carbon War Room will provide convening power, international networking and support to the cities in the development of their energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The focus of the "War Room" is to help accelerate deals across the finish line.

" despite pleas by Progressives and BT allies to not fiddle in Canada while BT burns."

You provided a link implying the link would reveal who the Progressives and BT Allies were but the link only restates what you've written here. Do you have an editor? Does anyone there read your work? You're a volunteer, right? They can't be paying you. Peter Freyne wasn't so great, but at least he wasn't lazy.

"Peter Freyne wasn't so great, but at least he wasn't lazy."

You got the first clause right.

Au contraire on the second clause. Peter Freyne was intellectually very lazy. There was no analysis on any issue he raised in any of his columns. Only gossip, name-calling, and his own self-righteous opinions. And he was ridiculously thin-skinned as well.

This is great news for Burlington. Great work, Mayor.

Glad all of the City's other problems are solved so the "mayor" has time for things like this.

kinda gets you, doesn't it Jimmy?

Note to Cathy, et al- If I were running my blog as a business, like y'all are, I would make sure the was a fresh juicy post up first thing each Monday morning when readers are hungry for one.

Au contraire, if this thing actually looked like it could pump any money into the coffers that would be that much less I'd have to pony up for the BT debacle. Unfortunately I'm guessing it will just mean some free insulation or something at best, and the whole thing is over in two years. If I were to bet I'd say it'll somehow end up costing us money.

Well, Jimmy, that's because you're a naysayer. It wouldn't matter if the money for BT fell from the sky and we all had free hot and cold running cable TV because this is the best chance that you can see to run Progressives out of town.

Believe me Pusher, it does not make me happy that there is a $5000+ bill with my name on it that will accompany the Progs' demise. Kiss is a lame duck even without BT, the two remaining CC members are harmless, and the party is barely breathing at the State level.

BTW did that "naysayer" thing come out of your Sunday strategy meetings?

"this is the best chance that you can see to run Progressives out of town."

They don't need any help from Jimmy or anyone else. They're doing just fine on their own.

I find Shay to be one of the better journalists covering Vermont politics.

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