UN Climate Neutral Network Announces New Partnerships for a Low-Carbon Future
Go Carbon Neutral Day - 23 September 2009
Nairobi, 23 September 2009 - From cities to cooperatives and from railways to postal services, industry and civil society associations have pledged to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and promote greener living by joining the Climate Neutral Network led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The announcement comes on Go Carbon Neutral Day held as part of Global Climate Week (21-25 September) marked by synchronized action in close to 100 cities to urge world leaders to seal a fair and effective climate agreement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen this December.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "The growth of the climate neutral movement around the world is a clear sign that people from all walks of life are committed to solving the climate crisis and bringing about low-carbon economies and societies."
"This groundswell of public support comes just weeks ahead of the crucial UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, where world leaders will have a unique opportunity to move our economies and societies onto a greener development path," he added.
"Thanks to these new partnerships, the climate neutral message will reach millions of consumers, passengers, students and city dwellers around the world and, in turn, will benefit them through cleaner and better transport networks, more liveable cities and even lower power bills - and the sure and certain knowledge that they are part of the solution to the global climate change challenge," Mr. Steiner said.
The new umbrella groups joining forces with the Climate Neutral Network are:
ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is a network of 1,078 cities worldwide, a movement that drives change and an agency that delivers information and services. ICLEI is leading the Cities for Climate Protection campaign and the Local Government Climate Roadmap which advocates for a stronger role for cities in the future international climate regime. It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are linked to cities, which are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. UNEP and ICLEI will work together to assist cities and municipalities around the world to develop innovative strategies to reduce carbon emissions, including promoting non-motorised forms of transport, better energy use and consumption, green buildings and awareness raising campaigns.
"As the largest global network of local governments dedicated to sustainable development, ICLEI is pleased to partner with UNEP on the Climate Neutral Cities component of the Climate Neutral Network. We are proud to share our 18-year experience in local climate action planning and to motivate our member cities to go down the path towards climate neutrality," said Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, ICLEI Secretary General
American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is a network of 650 American colleges and universities dedicated to achieve climate neutrality - representing more than a third of the US student body population.
Higher education in the United States represents almost 17 million students, engages about 6.5 per cent of the population, contributes almost US$320 billion to national GDP, and overall annually produces around 42 389 967 metric tonnes of GHG emissions, according to ACUPCC.
UNEP and ACUPCC will work together to promote efforts by colleges and universities around the world to move towards climate neutrality and contribute to international knowledge-sharing of academic expertise, including "twinning" projects between universities in developed and developing countries.
The University of California, Berkeley is the latest ACUPCC member to join the Climate Neutral Network, together with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) located in Bangkok, Thailand.
Co-operatives Europe is the business representative organisation for co-operative enterprises from across Europe representing a force for economic and social change with a network of 250,000 co-operative enterprises, 160 million members, and 5.4 million jobs across 37 countries. Co-operatives Europe has just launched the ACT! (Addressing Climate Threat) campaign.
"Some co-operatives are already doing many things to address the climate threat, but usually on their own. ACT! Was launched to encourage more co-operatives to be the leaders and do more, and to do it together within a framework. This way, the co-operative economy will have more impact and will also achieve recognition for its contribution," explains Richard Mason, ACT! Coordinator.
Climate Consortium Denmark is a public-private sector partnership, established in February 2008 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. The Consortium works to create awareness of Danish climate solutions and technologies, and coordinate all business-related activities taking place in the run up to the Copenhagen Conference.
According to the Consortium, Denmark has successfully managed to decouple economic growth and the consumption of energy: In the last 25 years the Danish economy has grown by around 75 per cent in real terms with nearly stable energy consumption.
Global Action Plan (GAP) is an international NGO network working to empower people to live and work increasingly sustainably: Since its inception in 1990, GAP programmes have reached several million people in over 20 countries. GAP has developed tools to help reduce CO2 emissions and move a business, community, school or household towards carbon neutrality.
"Climate neutrality is essential for the survival of humankind. And - it's not enough. It's time for humanity to move beyond neutrality and into positive action to create and support physical and social climates conducive to peaceful and joyful co-existence. To do this, we need to educate ourselves and each other, in a spirit of constant enquiry, to explore not only the challenges but also the huge opportunities. Education needs to be focused on enquiry and action, rather than received knowledge," said Marilyn Mehlmann, General Secretary, GAP International
International Union of Railways (UIC) is the worldwide international organisation of the railway sector bringing together 199 members across all 5 continents. UIC's mission is to promote rail transport at world level and meet the challenges of mobility and sustainable development.
With 7-10 per cent of market share, rail still contributes less than 2 per cent of the EU transport sector's CO2 emissions, while travelling by rail is on average 3-10 times less CO2 intensive compared to road or air transport. The European rail sector has committed itself to cut the specific emissions of rail transport (tonne CO2 per passenger kilometer) by 30 per cent over the period 1990-2020, while in some countries rail operators are already reaching carbon neutrality by using entirely renewable energy sources to power trains.
Universal Postal Union (UPU) is an intergovernmental organization with 191 member countries and the United Nations specialized agency for international postal services. With more than 600,000 postal facilities around the world, the postal sector operates the largest physical distribution network on the planet.
"Postal services worldwide use some 660,000 vehicles, 250,000 motorcycles and countless airplanes to deliver the mail daily, making it a heavy consumer of energy. Many Posts are turning to energy-efficient vehicles and using renewable energy in their daily operations, but the global postal sector can do much more and intends to be part of the solution in the fight against climate change," says UPU Director General Edouard Dayan.
With the help of member countries and their postal operators, regional postal organizations and UN bodies such as UNEP, the UPU is producing the postal sector's first global carbon footprint and will announce results during the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen. A guide is also being developed to further assist postal operators in collecting data regarding their carbon emissions.
Other new participants joining the Climate Neutral Network range from multinational corporations to youth groups promoting funky ways of carbon neutral transport.
Achilles is a leading global supplier of services for sustainable procurement in 23 countries, delivering a wide range of supplier management and business solutions throughout its sustainable procurement networks of 650 buying companies and 40,000 suppliers.
Arendal Longboarding is an association of people who use longboard as a way of transport promoting a fun and healthy hobby in the climate neutral city of Arendal in Norway, and showing how sport and environment can be used to promote sustainability thinking.
Associates of the Earth is a Japanese non-profit organisation which works to deepen people's understanding of global environmental issues.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Through the Bayer Climate Program the company is taking an integrated approach to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and to develop and offer new products and technologies for protecting the climate and tackling climate change. Between 2008 and 2010, Bayer is to invest EUR 1 billion in climate research and projects.
Copenhagen Carbon Management (CCM) - CCM has been CarbonZero since its inception and advises on greenhouse gas auditing and reduction programmes utilising technological and behavioural change as key tools to drive down emissions.
Japan Airlines (JAL) - As part of its strategy to address climate change, the airline seeks to reduce fuel consumption by 20 per cent by 2010 and promote the use of new energy, including natural energy and fuel cells. Earlier this year JAL carried out the first successful test flight of a Boeing plane run on biofuel made primarily of a non-food energy crop called camelina.
Purity IT is a Norwegian company focused on Green IT, helping customers to reduce their climate footprint through implementation of more efficient IT infrastructure.
Respect is a Swedish company working on sustainable business solutions which has guided 50 companies to become climate neutral and reduce their carbon footprint by an average of 19 per cent.
SMI Distribution Services is a UK-based global publications distribution company, which also runs Earthprint.com, the world's leading environmental and agricultural online bookstore.
Notes to Editors
Launched in February 2008, the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) is a high-profile outreach initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote a global transition to low carbon economies and societies. Today, the CN Net has over 170 participants, including ten countries, three regions, 16 cities, approximately 100 private companies, UN agencies and leading NGOs that have set some of the world's most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Based on a free of charge, interactive website http://www.unep.org/climateneutral, the CN Net gives participants a platform to present their strategies in climate neutrality to the world, providing visibility and inspiring others. It functions as a network for information exchange and sharing of practical experiences, making the best available knowledge on climate neutrality widely available to all.
For more information contact:
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when traveling: +41 79 596 5737, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or: Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Information Officer, Climate Neutral Network, on Tel: +254 20 762 4387, Mobile: +254 721 847 563, or e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unep.org/climateneutral