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September 24, 2011
Clinton Praises $10 Billion Green Infrastructure Investment
    by Robert Kropp

The Investment and Training for American Infrastructure, launched by the AFL-CIO and the American Federations of Teachers, commits $10 billion in investment in energy-efficient infrastructure improvement and will train 140,000 workers.

In his opening remarks at the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) last week, former President Bill Clinton announced that 194 commitments were made this year by CGI members. One of those commitments, the Investment and Training for American Infrastructure, was launched by the AFL-CIO and the American Federations of Teachers (AFT). The two public pension funds pledged to re-invest up to $10 billion in pension assets into energy-efficient infrastructure improvements, and to train 140,000 workers in green construction skills.

Since June, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) have joined the commitment. The two giant pension funds have thus far allocated a total of $1.1 billion to the effort.

In addition, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is funding a $134 million energy efficiency and asbestos removal project at the Penn South Mutual Cooperative in New York City, and the labor union has issued a Request for Proposals for a $3 million energy efficiency retrofit of its headquarters.

Clinton said of the infrastructure commitment, "This is a huge deal. This could be done not just in the United States but in every European country, in every wealthy Asian country. This system will work and you get guaranteed savings."

"This goes right at the biggest unemployment problem we have in the United States, right at the climate change challenge and puts more disposable income into the hands of people who will almost certainly spend it," he continued.

Clinton also said that "we would have a million jobs in no time" if US banks started investing the $2 trillion they are holding in reserve.

"Now more than ever, it is essential that governments, businesses, civil society, and the media work together to take action to generate more sustainable and equitable growth while preserving our global sustainability."


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