UN asks carbon neutral pioneers to share ideas

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a network which will see governments, cities and corporations share their successes when it comes to cutting carbon.

The Climate Change Network was unveiled by UNEP on Thursday and founder members include four countries, four cities and five large companies.

The network will used web-based tools to exchange information and encouragement, so that member organisations will not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to reducing emissions.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP executive director, said: “Climate neutrality is an idea whose time has come, driven by the urgent need to address climate change but also the abundant economic opportunities emerging for those willing to embrace a transition to a green economy”.

“This new initiative supports the formal negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Here governments need to navigate the Bali Road Map to a successful conclusion in Copenhagen in 2009.

“The CN Net can assist in building confidence through demonstrable action at the national and local level on the art of the possible,” he said.

“The CN Net is also in for the long haul and equally aimed at mobilizing a broad-based response demonstrating that a transition to a low, even zero carbon future, can be a reality if inspiring and practical actions can be federated around the world.” said Mr Steiner.

The four states with the public aim of achieving carbon neutrality are Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway.

“For Norway it is emissions from oil and gas that dominate whereas for New Zealand, agriculture represents 50% of its current greenhouse gases,” said Mr Steiner.

“Iceland’s central challenge is perhaps transport and industry including fishing and fish processing. I am especially delighted that Costa Rica is at the forefront of the initiative.

“Its commitment demonstrates that the economic benefits of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and action on deforestation and degradation are of central interest to developing and developed countries alike,” he said.

Costa Rica aims to be climate neutral by 2021 when it celebrates 200 years of independence.

The strategy will build on Costa Rica’s decision to tax fossil fuels in 1996 with 3.5% of the money raised allocated to the National Forestry Financing Fund.

Full details of the network, including how to join, can be found at www.unep.org/climateneutral.

Sam Bond

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