NEW UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN TO CUT EMISSIONS, COOLING COSTS AT NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS

30 July 2008
ENV/DEV/999-HQ/665

NEW UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN TO CUT EMISSIONS, COOLING COSTS AT NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS

30 July 2008
Press Release
ENV/DEV/999 HQ/665
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

NEW UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CAMPAIGN TO CUT EMISSIONS,

COOLING COSTS AT NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS

Taking aim at climate change in the landmark United Nations building in New York, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today launched a new campaign, “Cool UN,” that will reduce the use of air conditioning, cut greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

The campaign calls for raising the thermostats in most parts of the United Nations Secretariat building from 72° F (22.2° C)to 77° F (25° C) and from 70° F (21.1° C) to 75° F (23.9° C) for the world body’s conference rooms.  The campaign, which will run on a trial basis for the month of August, also involves a shutdown of the building’s heating ventilation and air conditioning system over the weekends and a relaxation of the generally formal dress code in place among diplomats and staff at the United Nations.

Secretary-General Ban said: “We have succeeded in moving climate change to the top of the international agenda for action, and this means that the UN must take action itself.  We must lead by example, and if we are to ask others to take action, we must do so as well.”

During the month of August, “Cool UN” will save approximately 4.4 billion pounds of steam, equivalent to 300 tons of carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.  It will also produce a cash savings of approximately $100,000, since less steam will be purchased.

This marks the first time the dress code will be relaxed at United Nations Headquarters.  At last December’s Bali Climate Change Conference, formal negotiations were held in more casual attire and at the upcoming climate change negotiations later this month in Accra, Ghana, conference participants have been invited to dress more comfortably.

If the experiment is successful, the initiative could be extended beyond August.  During the winter months, the process could be reversed and staff and delegates could be asked to dress more warmly, which would also reduce energy consumption, emissions and heating costs.

The Secretary-General has called on all parts of the United Nations system to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.  Several agencies, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), have moved towards becoming climate neutral.

For more information, please contact Dan Shepard, United Nations Department of Public Information, e-mail: shepard@un.org, tel: +1 212 963 9495.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.