Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011 kicked off today in New York City. Humanitas Global Development team members are attending.
During the Opening Plenary, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa convened a Leaders Dialogue on Climate Change as the Kyoto Protocol sets to expire in 2012.
President Clinton encouraged leaders to think about climate change policies and interventions within the context of poor and emerging economies. He stressed that the financing isn't there to support developing countries who need to make large-scale, upfront investments in climate change initiatives.
When President Clinton asked panelists to share their ideas on what poor and emerging economies could do, President Calderon of Mexico had a few specific examples in the way of consumer education programs that promte the use of energy efficient lighting and appliances (with government subsidy support) and wind-energy efforts.
Best practices and innovative program ideas that ordinary people can implement, and poor and emerging economies can realistically support are urgently needed as the global community decides what life after Kyoto looks like.
In his closing remarks, President Clinton said that it is critical to have ordinary people at the table with ideas and insights. "We have got to get ordinary people to understand this is not an economic problem, it's an economic oportunity. We have got to some how involve the imagination of ordinary people and reinforce that this is not a burden."