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The Clinton Climate Initiative: Working to Help Alleviate the Disastrous Effects of Climate Change
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues in the 21st century. The Clinton Foundation is doing its part to help combat the threat of climate change and rising sea levels.
The Clinton Climate Change Initiative has three programs: the Forestry Program, the Islands Energy Program, and the Energy Efficiency Program.
The Forestry Program
Deforestation is a major challenge in the developing world and less trees also means more carbon emissions in the atmosphere because as we all learned in science class, trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. The Clinton Climate Initiative’s Forestry Program does reforestation assistance, advises farmers on best farming practices, and compiles carbon measurement systems.
In East Africa, for instance, the Clinton Climate Initiative helped to provide maps to the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments on where best to reforest as well as working with local communities with the goal of planting 100,000 trees in these areas.
Islands Energy Program
Small islands are one of the most vulnerable areas to rising sea levels. The Clinton Climate Initiative works with small island nations to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. Island nation energy costs tend to be higher as they have to import all their fuel into a not so big market. By moving away from fossil fuels, island nations can both save money and help the environment. Their energy needs also aren’t as high according to CCI making it ripe for renewable energy solutions
CCI advises governments on how to move away from fossil fuels into renewable energy like solar, wind, geothermal, waste to energy etc. Doing it this way, CCI gives critical support to island nations, who often are at a loss on where to begin, to develop and implement plans for this transition.
Energy Efficiency Program
The CCI Energy Efficiency Program involves what is called HEAL — Home Energy Affordability Loan Program. Piloted in President Clinton’s home state of Arkansas, it’s similar to an employee benefit program but this one focuses on making the homes of HEAL participants more energy efficient, saving money in energy bills as well as helping the environment. In fact, it’s the United States’ first ever employer-sponsored energy efficiency program.
HEAL works by first having the employer improve the energy efficiency of their facilities, when needed, and then offering this program to their employees. HEAL participants get an energy audit of their homes and then get employer or third party financing to make the energy efficiency improvements to their homes, repaid through payroll deductions. Companies and organizations that have joined this innovative program include L’Oréal, Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC), Johnson Controls, the cities of Little Rock and Fayetteville, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Along with Arkansas, HEAL can be found in California, Wisconsin, Vermont, Michigan, Missouri, and North Carolina. Over 33,500 tons of carbon emissions are reduced annually thanks to CCI’s HEAL program.