Foreign Policy Blogs

Solar Boating and Green Building

The C40 Large Cities Climate Summit kicked off on a gorgeous spring day today in the Big Apple.  Thirty-two mayors are here with their delegations.  There are 46 cities represented, from six continents. There's been considerable press on this, a couple of hundred by Google's count, including this from Reuters "London mayor says cities lead on climate change" and this from one of our local radio stations, WINS "Clinton, Bloomy to Host International Climate Summit."

JPMorgan Chase is the lead sponsor for this event and they made some news of their own with the announcement that they would make their climate change research publicly available.  Check out their climate change investment page.  This is good, solid, serious research that they're putting out. 

I enjoyed going out today on the Swiss catamaran "Sun21" which just made the first transAtlantic voyage of a solar-powered vessel.  For a land-locked country, these Swiss are pretty good sailors!  You can go to the sponsoring organization's website to see, among other things, a great little video.

But wait, there's more:  The same folks, Transatlantic21, have created the "World Clean Energy Awards." The jury for these awards, to be given in seven categories with the winners to be announced at the tenth annual Sun21 Energy Forum in Basel on June 15, included such luminaries as Amory Lovins from the Rocky Mountain Institute and Nicky Gavron, a deputy mayor of London and one of the organizers for the C40 group.  London, as you know, has been going full-tilt boogie to avert a climate change crisis, along with the U.K. government, and the rest of Europe for that matter.  (See my post from March 14.)  For a further look at what the Swiss have been doing, see information at SwissEnergy, such as this on renewables, and, from a consortium of companies, Solar Impulse, an attempt to go around the world in a solar airplane!

On the boat ride, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Kevin Hydes, the current chairman of the board of the World Green Building Council. Their mission, among others, is to help foster the creation of national councils all over the world.  Kevin is the past chair of the USGBC.  They are the parent of the LEED Green Building Rating System which is the national benchmark for high performance green buildings.  LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" and has become a critically important tool in the green building movement.  The American Institute of Architects also has a Committee on the Environment (COTE) that has done, and is doing, pathfinding work.  I mentioned Randy Croxton (who I interviewed many years ago about the NRDC building in New York) and Kevin talked about Bob Berkebile, founding chairman of the AIA Committee on the Environment and a driving force.

Here's Kevin in front of the Solaire which bills itself as America's first environmentally advanced residential tower.  Kevin, when he was president of the USGBC, presented the LEED plaque that adorns the entrance.     


We were taken on a tour of the building, including seeing the photovoltaic arrays, the water reuse system, the apartments with all Energy Star high-efficiency appliances and low-emissivity windows, and the green roof where water is captured and filtered and which also diminishes the ambient heat.

All in all, I had a hugely informative and enjoyable afternoon.  More to come tomorrow on the C40 Summit.



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change