Clinton Conference: $7.3B In Pledges

US President Bill Clinton 2006/9/1 AP

A conference hosted by Bill Clinton on world problems ended Friday with the former president announcing a total of $7.3 billion in pledges to help reduce global warming and fight Third World poverty, disease and ethnic strife.

The three-day Clinton Global Initiative, which attracted world leaders, corporate titans and celebrities, produced at least 215 commitments of financial support to a range of projects supported by the Clinton Foundation. Last year's gathering produced 300 commitments worth $2.5 billion.

A day after British business mogul Richard Branson pledged $3 billion to battle global warming, Clinton on Friday announced the launch of a $1 billion investment fund for renewable energy.

Clinton said the new Green Fund would focus on reducing pollution and dependence on fossil fuels and creating jobs.

"The Earth is warming at an alarming rate, we are running out of fossil fuels, and it is long past time for us to take action to correct these problems," Clinton said. "This is also a tremendous opportunity and there are countless good new jobs to be created in the field of green energy."

Clinton was joined onstage for the announcement by the fund's principal investors — venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, and Hollywood producer Steve Bing. The amount of each man's investment in the fund was not disclosed.

Former World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn will serve as the fund's managing director; Clinton will serve as a senior adviser.

Among the other pledges announced Friday were a $75 million gift from Merck to vaccinate infants in Nicaragua against rotavirus, an often deadly diarrheal infection.
  • John Kreiser

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