Secretary-General arrives at UN after solar-powered commute

Secretary-Genetral Ban-Ki moon being driven to work by Solartaxi

12 September 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived at work at United Nations Headquarters this morning in environmental style, taking the “Solartaxi” – a fully solar-powered car – from his home in New York to the Secretariat building.

Mr. Ban’s green commute, which he described as a “fantastic experience,” occurred as part of his efforts since taking office to raise awareness about climate change and to promote environmentally-friendly technologies.

“I hope that this Solartaxi, one of the alternate sources of energy, can give some good messages to the people around the world that we need to be creative, we need to be practical,” he told reporters upon arriving at work.

“I hope I can enjoy another ride,” Mr. Ban said, adding that he waved at pedestrians on the streets of New York from the Solartaxi during his commute.

The vehicle, which is sponsored by Switzerland, is currently in New York as part of a worldwide journey that included a stop in Bali, Indonesia, last December for the landmark climate change negotiations.

The voyage is slated to conclude in Poznan in early December to coincide with the next phase of the international talks on measures to respond, mitigate and adapt to global warming to be held in the Polish city.

“This Poznan conference should serve as a very successful bridge to the Copenhagen meeting next year so that we will be able to agree on a globally accepted, a very efficient, balanced, effective and ratifiable treaty replacing the Kyoto Protocol by 2012,” the Secretary-General stated.

Today, he also had a videoconference with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen – leaders of nations which hold the current and future presidencies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Louis Palmer, the Solartaxi’s driver and developer, said he was on a mission to illustrate that solutions exist to deal with some of the problems caused by climate change.

“As climate change doesn’t stop at borders, it’s a global problem and the UN is playing a central role in the fight to stop global warming,” he said.

Last month Mr. Ban began the “Cool UN” initiative at UN Headquarters to limit the use of air conditioning and heating, slash greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

The thermostats in most parts of the landmark Secretariat building were raised by five degrees from 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit during August, and the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems were shut down over the weekends. This initiative has since been extended until mid-September.


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