10 October 2007 The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), which services the Environment for Europe Conference that opened today in Belgrade, is working to cancel the event's effects on global warming by funding projects that offset emissions of greenhouses gases.
UNECE has asked the CarbonNeutral Company to identify possible renewable energy projects, being funded by the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, that would result an equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Ministers and other high-level representatives will discuss environmental policy, including measures to tackle global warming. But they will not have contributed to climate change by meeting in Belgrade,” the Commission said in a news release.
Preliminary estimates show that the Conference will emit about 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases, not only through air travel but also local transport, energy consumed and waste generated.
“Making the Conference carbon neutral is also intended to raise public awareness of how individuals and others can take responsibility for the greenhouse gases emitted as a result of their daily activities,” UNECE said.
Addressing the Conference's opening session, UNECE Executive Secretary Marek Belka, said challenges in the region include “environment-related health concerns caused by poor air quality; inadequate water supply and drinking water quality; soil degradation; risks posed by hazardous chemicals; adverse impacts of climate change; continuing biodiversity loss; overuse of marine resources; and the current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.”
He emphasized the need for an economic development model which would save environmental resources on a sustainable basis and which would be accompanied by various forms of cooperation for sharing the transition costs.
“The costs of reversing environmental degradation later on are always larger than the costs of avoiding pollution in the first place. And, not all environmental degradation is reversible,” he said.