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The world's largest cities will work together to tackle climate change under a new partnership spearheaded by former US president Bill Clinton.

The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), launched on 1 August in Los Angeles, United States, will collaborate with the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group chaired by the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

The partnership aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency through a business-oriented approach — providing advice and technical assistance to 22 of the world's largest cities, including Buenos Aires, Cairo, Caracas, Delhi, Dhaka, Johannesburg, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.

Urban areas are responsible for more than 75 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

The CCI — which currently has over US$3 million in commitments from private individuals — will set up a purchasing consortium to lower the prices of energy saving products and speed up the development of green technologies.

It will gather world experts to provide technical assistance for cities that want to create and implement environmentally friendly policies.

The CCI will also create an internet-based communication system to help cities share best practices, and will develop ways to gauge the effectiveness of the programme.

"The fate of the planet that our children and grandchildren will inherit is in our hands," said Clinton. "[This] partnership…will take practical and, most importantly, measurable steps toward helping to slow down global warming."

A spokesperson for the British Council, whose ZeroCarbonCity campaign raises awareness about climate change and the energy challenges facing the world's cities, welcomed the initiative.