Ban dresses down to 'cool' the UN

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and advisors wear lighter clothing to promote "Cool UN"

1 August 2008 – In lieu of his usual business suit, United Nations Secretary-General donned a more casual outfit as part of the “Cool UN” initiative, seeking to curb the world body's greenhouse gas emissions, which kicked off today.

The three-pronged scheme seeks to limit the use of air conditioning, slash emissions and save money for the UN.

“We are not just cutting back suits and ties,” Mr. Ban told reporters, adding that the month-long “Cool UN” programme at the Secretariat in New York will make a 10 per cent saving in energy consumption. Use of steam will be cut by more than 4 billion pounds, the equivalent of 300 tons of carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN estimates that the scheme will also result in financial savings of more than $100,000.

If the initiative is extended beyond August and into the winter, savings will be even greater, the Secretary-General noted.

Calling on the support of the UN family and Member States, he said that “ultimately, this will be important for our common efforts in addressing climate change issues.”

The main UN premises in Bangkok, which houses over a dozen of the Organization's entities, joined the Secretariat today in rolling out the “Cool UN” scheme.

Like the Secretariat in New York which is raising the thermostats by five degrees from 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in most parts of the landmark building, ESCAP turned up the temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. Most of its staff members also came to work today in lighter clothing, including national dress.

“Cool UN” is just one of several schemes ESCAP is involved in to slash energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2002, it has cut back electricity consumption by 16 per cent yearly by replacing old and inefficient appliances such as power transformers, elevators, air conditioners, lights and pumps.

ESCAP's service also has pilot solar panels and wind turbines, and water usage has been reduced by 30 per cent every year through new higher-efficiency water closets and using recycled water for the main gardens.


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