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Posted on on October 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (

Hilton St Petrsburg Bayfront

A Global Convergence of the Ocean Arts & Sciences

November 3 – 9, 2014 / St. Petersburg / Tampa Bay, Florida


Ocean all-stars to converge at 2014 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit

Once a year, BLUE convenes a diverse ecosystem of ocean all-stars focused on the promotion of the ocean through film and media. Heads of state, celebrities, filmmakers, media scientists and global leaders have turned to BLUE as a platform for collaboration and progress, catalyzed by the dazzling, stunning and provocative films. From all walks of life, and from around the world, they arrive to be inspired by the content, get the scoop on new technology, hear about projects, share ideas and form partnerships that can change the tide.

“Our mission is to inspire people everywhere to connect with ocean conservation, and to serve as a catalyst for important discussions,” said BLUE Co-founder and CEO Debbie Kinder.

BLUE alternates between Tampa Bay and Monaco each year, attracting movie stars, explorers, governments, scientists, and filmmakers like no other ocean event to date. Among the film actors (subject to change) who plan to attend BLUE 2014 in person, or join Google Hangouts or participate by skype this year are Jeremy Irons, Richard Branson, Susan Sarandon and others – just the tip of the ice berg. It’s virtually a BLUE Who’s Who.

If you plan to attend BLUE, rooms are still available (for a limited time) at the BLUE Headquarters located at the Hilton Saint Petersburg Bayfront. Enjoy the surroundings as BLUE 2014 immerses in this vibrant ocean community of oceanographic institutions and museums located on one of the nation’s most strategic coastlines.

If you cannot attend the event, attend online – live broadcast, Google Hangouts and the EXPLOREBLUE2014 App will help you follow BLUE events throughout the week. Download the App for the latest schedule and update on speakers at BLUE.


BLUE – The Film Festival
Screenings of winning films and Q & A with film makers, ocean photography, marine technology and art exhibits.

The Industry Conference
Production and communication skills, underwater filmmaking technical expertise through hands-on master classes. The latest information on ocean issues and film projects, networking among commissioners and other media funding organizations.

The Conservation Summit
Lectures and panels impart the latest science, share insight, debate issues, and challenge audiences to be proactive. Some of the most dramatic and inspiring moments at BLUE.


Posted on on October 19th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


The following I learned, Thursday October 10, 2013, coincidentally at a breakfast meeting of the new series at he Green Tech Investors Forum run by Dr. Gelvin Stevenson and hosted by the New York Offices of the International law Firm Crowell &  Moring.

I said coincidentally because that day I was traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, for the First International Conference of the Arctic Circle Nations, October 11-14, 2013. This Conference, as it turned out, was mainly concerned in the creation of wealth in the old way, but viewing  now on how it will be possible to using the access to the newly un-covered-of-ice waters and lands of the Arctic.

There could not have been a more contrasting set of visions then those exposed at the Manhattan event and the general spirit that drove the organizers of the Harpa Conference Center at the Reykjavik event. These two events will bring me back to post about pure SUSTAINABILITY after having lately been focused rather on the melt-down of the United States that to me was a much more frightening perspective then the climate change induced melting of the ice-caps at the three poles.

In the present posting I will be dealing with concepts put forward by Mr. Jigar Shah, the Star speaker at the Manhattan event. This will  follow  material from the other presenters before the Green Tech Investors Forum. Then, in following postings, I will be dealing with specifics from the Reykjavik meeting, and I foresee a series of postings about what can create Sustainable Wealth and what can be seen rather as a throw-back to past mistakes.



we already posted:

Posted on on April 10th, 2013

– See more at:…


and the full program of the Conference/meeting as provided several days before the event and which we posted October 10th so I could provide the link to the people present at the Manhattan event:

Posted on on October 10th, 2013

– See more at:…


The Manhattan meeting was about a new company that has new proprietary technology or billing purpose – “Simply Grid” – it provides a solution for on-demand access to electricity.

The company’s proprietary technology includes a custom engineered controller which is deployed either within industry standard electric charging stations or as an augmentation to standard in-wall electrical outlets, and an Internet based management and billing system which allows for the automated initiation/termination of electric service via mobile app or text message, monitoring of usage, and billing. 

Simply Grid focuses on three markets: the mobile food industry, marinas and RV parks, and personal electronics in cafes and other public spaces.

 There are over 25,000 food carts and food trucks in the US, and they are expanding rapidly. Their legacy source of energy, gas or diesel powered generators, is expensive, polluting and noisy. Simply Grid’s solution – usually a four-foot high pedestal – enables private lot managers and municipalities to provide electricity to these vendors at a significant cost savings while providing a more pleasant environment for their customers.


 Simply Grid has a pilot in Union Square, midtown Manhattan, – with a food-cart vendor – Rafiqi’s – on the north side of the Square – in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office, ConEd, and NYC Department of Transportation. Additionally, the company has already deployments at food truck parks in Austin, TX and Atlanta, GA.


 Food carts’ portable generators—used by about 60% of all food carts—emit twenty times more particulate matter and other asthma-causing pollutants than NYC’s electric supply.

Simply Grid’s technology allows lot owners and municipalities to provide grid electricity to them, which makes them cleaner, quieter, and more profitable.

Electricity is made available to these vendors via outlets in industry standard electricity pedestals which have been customized with proprietary metering controllers. The controllers connect wireless to Simply Grid’s cloud-based platform which manages customer accounts, metering, and billing.

The system allows vendors  on city streets and RV lots to initiate service with their mobile phones and connect to the electric grid with cables they already use with their generators.The food vendors will be able to sell electricity to electric vehicles – cars, bikes etc. This will help clean up the air in cities by making it more feasible to use electric vehicles. Obviously, the electricity supply is a separate topic – but the decreased dependence on diesel and gasoline is clear. In this respect it is a company that does not only owe its success to efforts to decrease effects that cause global warming i.e. the use of petroleum products, but it also provides new lines of income to vendors of other services, and economically thus creates “CLIMATE WEALTH.”

The speakers at the meeting were SIMPLY GRID officials –Mike Dubrovsky; CEO, Jeffrey Hoffman,  COO;  Samuel Abbay, Co-Founder and Co-CEO. Present, and separate speaker, was partner and initiator of the “CREATING CLIMATE WEALTH” concept Jigar Shah who made already a lot of money when he created “SunEdison” – now a very successful company with billions in sales, and which he sold so he can go on creating new ideas and companies.

Creating Climate Wealth guru, Jigar Shah, is the real focus of this posting, and his just released manual – the book that is part autobiography and part blue-print for the future is:

“CREATING CLIMATE WEALTH: UNLOCKING THE IMPACT ECONOMY” caries ISBN: 978-0-9893531-0-6 – ICOSA publishing – It costs $21.95 and is a true manual.

Further information at


Carl Pope, the former Executive Director of Sierra Club, writes among those that recommend this book – “Shah shows that a new massive wealth opportunity is at our fingertips, linking sustainability and economic development.”

We completely subscribe to this and must remark that Jigar Shah was able to show that the innovative management ideas that he promotes are not dependent on new technologies but rather on the imagination that frees us to use beneficially existing technologies in novel ways – this without government subsidies and rather in a pure private enterprise way. Obviously, this can be made possible only if government does not insist in interfering by supporting existing interests opposed to change.

“Creating Climate Wealth” introduces the general idea that natural resources fail us if we do not start a development with the concept that we want to answer a need, rather then pushing the sale of an exhaustible stash of resources – i.e. found fossil fuels or minerals.

Following that, we get the example of the creation of the SunEdison Company that came about to answer the need for cheap locally produced electricity, and eventually leads to the creation of the new company, the subjet of the October 10th meeting – “SimplyGrid” – that will eventually sell Renewable Energy via a smart grid. All this to be done by private investors that all what they need is non-interference from the government.

The important thing is that Jigar Shah is an entrepreneur who grew up in a home where his parents were already steeped in the spirit of entrepreneurship. JIGAR IS OUT TO MAKE MONEY IN A CLEVER WAY – AS SAID BY INNOVATING MANAGEMENT SO HE ANSWERS A TRUE NEED EFFICIENTLY AND AT LOWER COSTS THEN THE COMPETITION. Further, he structures his business plan so that all what he needs is a good client and he does not involve the client in his building the company.

SunEdison takes advantage of the vast roof space of large companies and puts there photovoltaics built with -off-the-shelf parts.
No waiting here for improvements that might take years, and no talk here of experimentation.

The client does not invest a penny – only agrees to buy the electricity at a price well below what it costs him today. Jigar finds the investors outside the product buying company and totally without government help except that he must make sure that existing electricity production companies do not cause the government to grant them a monopoly that would not allow this upstart to sell electricity. This is not a theoretical comment – it is rather a description of the sick US economy.

To get the details of this innovative way of doing business. and to realize the deep thoughts that went into Jigar’s choice of companies which he approached first, and the financial backers which he approached so that this will be a growing company with ever increasing revenues and financing, rather then a one time shot by a wise guy – please go to the sources which I presented here.

I read the book on the plane ride to Reykjavik, so it helped me be a little more critical of what I heard there.





Posted on on November 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

We’ve been conned. The deal to save the natural world never happened

The so-called summit in Japan won’t stop anyone trashing the planet. Only economic risks seem to make governments act.

by George Monbiot
, Monday 1 November 2010

    ‘Countries join forces to save life on Earth”, the front page of the Independent told us. “Historic”, “a landmark”, a “much-needed morale booster”, the other papers chorused. The declaration agreed last week at the summit in Japan to protect the world’s wild species and places was proclaimed by almost everyone a great success. There is one problem: none of the journalists who made these claims has seen it.

    I checked with as many of them as I could reach by phone: all they had read was a press release which, though three pages long, is almost content-free. The reporters can’t be blamed for this – it was approved on Friday but the declaration has still not been published. I’ve pursued people on three continents to try to obtain it, without success. Having secured the headlines it wanted, the entire senior staff of the convention on biological diversity has gone to ground, and my calls and emails remain unanswered. The British government, which lavishly praised the declaration, tells me it has no printed copies. I’ve never seen this situation before. Every other international agreement I’ve followed was published as soon as it was approved.

    The evidence suggests that we’ve been conned. The draft agreement, published a month ago, contained no binding obligations. Nothing I’ve heard from Japan suggests that this has changed. The draft saw the targets for 2020 that governments were asked to adopt as nothing more than “aspirations for achievement at the global level” and a “flexible framework”, within which countries can do as they wish. No government, if the draft has been approved, is obliged to change its policies.

    In 2002 the signatories to the convention agreed something similar, a splendid-sounding declaration that imposed no legal commitments. They announced they would “achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss”. Mission accomplished, the press proclaimed, and everyone went home to congratulate themselves. Earlier this year the UN admitted the 2002 agreement was fruitless: “The pressures on biodiversity remain constant or increase in intensity.”

    Even the cheery press release suggests all was not well. The meeting in Japan was supposed to be a summit, bringing together heads of government or state. ————-.  It mustered five: the release boasts of corralling the president of Gabon, the president of Guinea-Bissau, the prime minister of Yemen and Prince Albert of Monaco. (It fails to identify the fifth country – Liechtenstein? Pimlico?) A third of the countries represented couldn’t even be bothered to send a minister. This is how much they value the world’s living systems.

    It strikes me that governments are determined to protect not the marvels of our world but the world-eating system to which they are being sacrificed; not life, but the ephemeral junk with which it is being replaced. They fight viciously and at the highest level for the right to turn rainforests into pulp, or marine ecosystems into fishmeal. Then they send a middle-ranking civil servant to approve a meaningless and so far unwritten promise to protect the natural world.

    Japan was praised for its slick management of the meeting, but still insists on completing its mission to turn the last bluefin tuna into fancy fast food. Russia signed a new agreement in September to protect its tigers (the world’s largest remaining population), but an unrepealed law in effect renders poachers immune from prosecution, even when they’re caught with a gun and a dead tiger. The US, despite proclaiming a new commitment to multilateralism, refuses to ratify the convention on biological diversity.

    It suits governments to let us trash the planet. It’s not just that big business gains more than it loses from converting natural wealth into money. A continued expansion into the biosphere permits states to avoid addressing issues of distribution and social justice: the promise of perpetual growth dulls our anger about widening inequality. By trampling over nature we avoid treading on the toes of the powerful.

    A massive accounting exercise, whose results were presented at the meeting in Japan, has sought to change this calculation. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) attempts to price the ecosystems we are destroying. It shows that the economic benefit of protecting habitats and species often greatly outweighs the money to be made by trashing them. A study in Thailand, for instance, suggests that turning a hectare of mangrove forest into shrimp farms makes $1,220 a year but inflicts $12,400 of damage every year on local livelihoods, fisheries and coastal protection. The catchment protected by one nature reserve in New Zealand saves local people NZ$136m a year in water bills. Three quarters of the US haddock catch now comes from within 5km of a marine reserve off the New England coast: by protecting the ecosystem, the reserve has boosted the value of the fishery.

    I understand why this approach is felt to be necessary. I understand that if something can’t be measured, governments and businesses don’t value it. I accept TEEB’s reasoning that the rural poor, many of whom survive exclusively on what the ecosystem has to offer, are treated harshly by an economic system which doesn’t recognise its value. Even so, this exercise disturbs me.

    As soon as something is measurable it becomes negotiable. Subject the natural world to cost-benefit analysis and accountants and statisticians will decide which parts of it we can do without. All that now needs to be done to demonstrate that an ecosystem can be junked is to show that the money to be made from trashing it exceeds the money to be made from preserving it. That, in the weird world of environmental economics, isn’t hard: ask the right statistician and he’ll give you any number you want.

    This approach reduces the biosphere to a subsidiary of the economy. In reality it’s the other way round. The economy, like all other human affairs, hangs from the world’s living systems. You can see this diminution in the language TEEB reports use: they talk of “natural capital stock”, of “underperforming natural assets” and “ecosystem services”. Nature is turned into a business plan, and we are reduced to its customers. The market now owns the world.

    But I also recognise this: that if governments had met in Japan to try to save the banks, or the airline companies, they would have sent more senior representatives, their task would have seemed more urgent, and every dot and comma of their agreement would have been checked by hungry journalists.

    When they meet to consider the gradual collapse of the natural world they send their office cleaners and defer the hard choices for another 10 years, while the media doesn’t even notice they have failed to produce a written agreement. So, much as I’m revolted by the way in which nature is being squeezed into a column of figures in an accountant’s ledger, I am forced to agree that it may be necessary. What else will induce the blinkered, frightened people who hold power today to take the issue seriously?

    • A fully referenced version of this article is available on

    also –


Posted on on July 2nd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


UNECE climate change activities[1]

Table of Contents:

Vehicle regulations
Energy efficiency in production
Energy-efficient housing
Sustainable forestry
Sustainable biomass
Other related UNECE areas of work


Climate change is a human-induced process of global warming, largely resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorocarbons.[2] Countries are under increasing pressure to curb their emissions of these gases and to enhance carbon sinks in a drive to mitigate the effects of climate change. However, combating the threats of human-induced global warming requires more than mitigation; it is equally important to reduce society’s vulnerability to climate change through adaptation, as established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, launched in 2005. Adaptation addresses the impacts of climate change, including climate variability and weather extremes.[3]

The United Nations Secretary-General has put climate change at the top of the United Nations agenda, ensuring that the “United Nations system will continue … to bring to bear the collective strength of all its entities as an integral part of the international community’s response to climate change.”[4] The five regional commissions have assumed an active role in coordinating United Nations support for action on climate change at the regional level through the regional coordination mechanisms mandated by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1998/46 (annex III).[5] The five commissions are seen as conveners to support global, regional and national action on climate change, while coordinating their workplans and implementation efforts with other organizations that have significant mandates in their respective areas.[6]

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is a key driving force in combating climate change in the pan-European region and beyond. The UNECE region comprises 56 member States, spanning the whole European continent, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and also including Israel, Turkey, Canada and the United States of America. The region has a crucial role in contributing to the local and regional success of UNFCCC, as was noted by UNECE member States at the “Sixth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Belgrade, 10–12 October 2007).[7] UNECE has spearheaded the region’s efforts to achieve the targets of United Nations Millennium Development Goal 7, especially to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and to reverse the losses of environmental resources.



Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

The 1979 UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), and its protocols aim to cut emissions of air pollutants, inter alia, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs). Such pollutants can either directly influence global warming, by affecting the cooling or absorptive characteristics of the atmosphere, or indirectly influence it through, for example, ozone formation. Recent studies have shown important synergies in addressing air pollution control and climate change mitigation and have highlighted the economic and environmental co-benefits that are possible by tackling these issues in an integrated way.

The Convention has 51 Parties and eight protocols, which are all in force. The most recent of these, the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, is currently under revision. It targets the environmental effects of acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone through emission cuts for SO2, NOx, NMVOCs and ammonia. Such cuts are known to mitigate global warming.

A recent major conference and workshop entitled “Air Pollution and Climate Change: Developing a Framework for Integrated Co-benefit Strategies” was held in September 2008 in Stockholm under the auspices of the Convention and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and in consultation with the UNFCCC secretariat. It brought together policymakers and scientists from all United Nations regions to consider ways to develop and implement integrated programmes for decreasing emissions of both air pollutants and GHGs. The conclusions stressed the importance of using integrated strategies. Of special note was the possible “buying of time” in GHG mitigation through cuts in such air pollutants as black carbon and ozone, and air pollutants with a strong radiative forcing effect, which might be cut more readily than CO2 and achieve some GHG mitigation in the short term. The conference agreed there was a need to strengthen air pollution abatement efforts as well as climate change mitigation to achieve better health and environmental protection. It also noted the significant cost savings of using integrated approaches. The conclusions and recommendations of the workshop will be considered by the Convention’s Executive Body (Meeting of the Parties) in December 2008.

The Convention is using different models and methods to analyse environmental effects and to calculate the necessary emission abatement and related costs. In this way, cost-effective pollution control strategies can achieve the desired environmental targets with the least overall expenditure. Recent use of the Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) integrated assessment model, developed by the Convention’s Centre for Integrated Assessment Modelling, has explored synergies and trade-offs between emissions of air pollutants and GHGs, for current and projected energy use. The model includes both end-of-pipe controls and non-technical measures, such as behavioural changes in traffic or economic instruments.

The Convention’s scientific bodies are also incorporating climate change issues into their programmes of work. The European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme (EMEP), which monitors and models air quality, is involved in reporting and estimating emissions. Reporting requirements of the Parties have been harmonized with those of UNFCCC. EMEP is also responsible for the integrated assessment modelling work described above. The international programmes of the Working Group on Effects monitor and model environmental and human health effects of air pollution. Increasingly, these need to take account of the links to observed or predicted changes in climatic conditions. They also provide long-term monitoring of data that can identify changes that might be associated with a changing climate.

Discussions in the Convention’s bodies have drawn attention to the strong links between air pollutant and GHG emissions and have highlighted specific issues where integration of strategies is needed. For example, the current emphasis on renewable energy is leading to increased use of wood as a fuel. However, unless appropriate boiler technology is used, this can also lead to increased air pollution.


The intrinsic relation of the hydrological cycle – and thus water availability, quality, and services – to climate change makes adaptation critical for water management and the water sector in general. The UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) is an important legal framework for the development of adaptation strategies, in particular in the transboundary context.

At their fourth meeting in Bonn, Germany, in 2006, the Parties to the Water Convention took a decisive step to supporting the development of adaptation strategies by agreeing to elaborate a guidance document on water and adaptation to climate change. A draft has now been prepared by the Task Forces on Water and Climate and on Extreme Weather Events, both under the Convention’s Protocol on Water and Health. This marks the first attempt under any convention to flesh out a climate change adaptation strategy in the water sector with a particular emphasis on transboundary issues. Based on the concept of integrated water resources management, the Guidance will “provide advice on how to assess impacts of climate change on water quantity and quality, how to perform risk assessment, including health risk assessment, how to gauge vulnerability, and how to design and implement appropriate adaptation measures” [ibid. p. 8]. The Guidance is expected to be formally adopted in November 2009 at the next meeting of the Parties.

One important step in the Guidance’s preparation was a workshop on climate change adaptation in the water sector organized under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health (Amsterdam, 1–2 July 2008). The workshop, which allowed for an exchange of experience in the region, an assessment of information needs for adaptation strategies and a discussion of the benefits of and mechanisms for transboundary cooperation, touched upon the institutional, policy, legal, scientific and financial aspects of adaptation in the water sector and included cross-cutting issues such as education. The workshop highlighted current challenges such as still limited transboundary cooperation, the focus on short-term rather than long-term measures, and the need to consider climate change together with other global drivers of change, e.g. the energy and food crises and changes in production and consumption patterns.

The Protocol on Water and Health, the first legally binding instrument aimed to achieve the sustainable management of water resources and the reduction of water-related disease, is also highly relevant to climate change adaptation. It establishes joint or coordinated surveillance and early-warning systems, contingency plans and response capacities, as well as mutual assistance to respond to outbreaks or incidents of water-related disease, especially those arising from extreme weather events. The Protocol’s Ad Hoc Project Facilitation Mechanism is a funding tool for implementation of the Protocol at the national level; its provisions on safe drinking water and sanitation are also of relevance to climate change.


Access to information, public participation and justice

The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) constitutes the only legally binding instrument so far to implement principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which provides for the participation of citizens in environmental issues by giving them appropriate access to the information concerning the environment held by public authorities, including access to judicial or administrative proceedings, redress and remedy. Access to scientifically based information and public participation in decision-making on environmental issues – as provided by the Convention – are widely recognized as an important foundation for climate change mitigation efforts. UNFCCC, for example, underlined the importance of these principles at its thirteenth session, encouraging Parties to facilitate access to data and information and to promote public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and in developing adequate responses.[8] Environmental information can help to raise awareness about climate change issues and to strengthen synergies between mitigation and adaptation needs. Public participation in this process ensures that social values and trade-offs are represented in political decisions on climate-related issues.

UNECE is a co-organizer of the international conference, “The Role of Information in an Age of Climate Change” (Aarhus, Denmark, 13–14 November 2008). The event, marking the Aarhus Convention’s tenth anniversary, brings together leading scientists, policymakers, government authorities, non-governmental organizations, and representatives of the private sector to promote public access to information and public participation in addressing climate change.

The Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR), adopted in May 2003, is the first legally binding international instrument on PRTRs. PRTRs assist governments in collecting information on the emission of GHGs and toxic or hazardous substances from industrial facilities and other sources. By making this information available to decision makers and the wider public, PRTRs contribute to enhancing companies’ environmental performance, regional mitigation efforts and the fight against global warming and climate change.


Vehicle regulations

Transport is a significant and growing contributor to global climate change. According to some estimates, it is responsible for 13 per cent of all anthropogenic emissions of GHGs and for almost one quarter of the world’s total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.[9]

In May 2008 in Leipzig, Germany, UNECE took part in the OECD International Transport Forum Ministerial Session, “The Challenge of Climate Change”, the first global meeting of transport ministers that focused on energy and climate change challenges relevant to the transport sector. Climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in the transport sector focus on different means of CO2 abatement: (a) innovative engine technologies to increase fuel efficiency; (b) use of sustainable biofuels; (c) improved transport infrastructure, including inter-modal transport and logistics to avoid road congestion; (d) dissemination of consumer information on eco-driving; and (e) implementation of legal instruments. In their key messages, transport ministers urged UNECE World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) to “accelerate the work to develop common methodologies, test cycles and measurement methods for [light] vehicles” [ibid. p. 5], including CO2 emissions. For over 50 years, the World Forum has served as a platform for developing harmonized global regulations for vehicle construction, thus increasing their environmental performance and safety.

The World Forum agreed that a possible strategy for the automotive sector to contribute to the abatement of emissions was to pursue: (a) improved energy efficiency and the use of sustainable biofuels as a short-term objective (2015); (b) the development and introduction into the market of plug-in hybrid vehicles as a mid-term objective (2015–2025); and (c) the development and introduction into the market of electric vehicles as a long-term objective (2025–2040). This strategy would shift the automotive sector from the use of fossil energy to the use of hydrogen and electric energy. To be effective, this strategy needs to rely on the sustainable production of electricity and hydrogen, a crucial policy issue identified for future discussions on global warming and the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The World Forum previously adopted amendments to UNECE regulations to limit the maximum admissible level of vehicle emissions for various gaseous pollutants (e.g. carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, NOx) and particulate matter. These have resulted in a substantial abatement of the emissions limits for new private cars and commercial vehicles. Moreover, UNECE Regulations were amended to include electric and hybrid vehicles as well as vehicles with engines fuelled with liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas. At the present time, the World Forum is considering a number of energy efficiency measures, such as the development of a common methodology and measurement method to evaluate environmentally friendly vehicles, hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles, the use of other alternative energy sources such as biofuels including biogas, the installation in vehicles of engine management systems (e.g. the stop-and-go function), intelligent transport systems, tyre-pressure monitoring systems and the development of tyres with low rolling resistance. Once a consensus is reached, many of these measures are likely to be added to the UNECE regulations, which will help increase vehicles’ energy efficiency.

As concerns fuel-quality standards, in 2007 the World Forum demonstrated the close link between the market fuel quality and the emissions of pollutants from motor vehicles.  It recognized that further reduction of emissions required that cleaner fuel be available to consumers.  The lack of harmonized fuel quality standards was seen to hamper the development of the new vehicle technologies. Supported by UNEP and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, the World Forum is committed to developing a necessary standard on market fuel quality, thus enabling vehicles to use fuels that minimize vehicle emission levels.

The Transport Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), a joint project of UNECE and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, was initiated to help achieve more sustainable transport patterns and a better reflection of environmental and health concerns in transport policy. In particular, THE PEP also promotes sustainable urban transport, including alternative modes of transport, in the region.


Energy efficiency in production

As energy is a major market in the UNECE region, which contains 40 per cent of the world’s natural gas reserves and 60 per cent of its coal reserves, a number of UNECE activities promote a sustainable energy development strategy, a key to the region’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. The combustion of fossil fuels, the mainstay of the region’s electricity generation, is also a major source of GHG emissions. The sustainable energy projects of UNECE aim to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy future by optimizing operating efficiencies and conservation, including through energy restructuring and legal, regulatory or energy pricing reforms. UNECE projects also encourage the introduction of renewable energy sources and the use of natural gas until cleaner energy sources are developed and commercially available, as well as the greening of the coal-to-energy chain.

For the period 2006–2009, the UNECE Energy Efficiency 21 (EE21) programme is working to promote regional cooperation to enhance countries’ energy efficiency and to reduce their GHG emissions, thus helping them meet their international treaty obligations under UNFCCC and the UNECE conventions. Energy efficiency is achieved by focusing on more efficient production, conservation and use of all energy sources in order to minimize GHG emissions.

Within the overall EE21 programme, UNECE manages the Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation project, with a budget of approximately US$ 7.5 million, financed by the Global Environment Fund, Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial and the European Business Congress. This project is currently establishing a privately managed equity fund with private and public sector partners. The fund, which will benefit from both public and private sources, will target energy efficiency and renewable investment projects in 12 countries in Central Asia and Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

Another project within the EE21 programme is RENEUER, a regional activity supported by the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Department of Energy, France and other bilateral donors. RENEUER promotes sustainable development in the region by overcoming regional barriers and creating favourable conditions for the introduction of advanced technologies for the efficient use of local energy resources.

Outreach activities to other regional commissions in the context of energy efficiency for climate change mitigation are being organized under the Global Energy Efficiency 21 (GEE21) project. This project, to be launched in December 2008 in Poznan, Poland, will develop a systematic exchange of information on capacity-building, policy reform and investment project financing to promote cost-effective energy efficiency improvements that will reduce air pollution, including GHGs.

The work of two expert groups under the Committee on Sustainable Energy relates to climate change mitigation. The Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM) promote the recovery and use of methane gas from coal mines to minimize GHG emissions. In February 2008 in Szczyrk, Poland, a UNECE-supported workshop assessed prospects for CMM recovery and use, noting that “Global potential for CMM projects to contribute to climate change mitigation and take advantage of the carbon markets is very strong because a reduction of one ton of methane yields reductions of 18 to 23 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent”.[10] However, economic feasibility of such projects typically requires a clear regulatory and legal framework, reasonable access to markets and relatively stable prices.

The Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Production from Coal and Other Fossil Fuels held its first meeting in November 2007. Its programme of work includes reviewing the prospects for cleaner electricity production from fossil fuels and measures or incentives to promote investment in cleaner electricity production. The Group also assesses the regulatory needs for promoting investment in cleaner electricity production from fossil fuels, appraises the comparative advantages of investments in new capacities and analyses issues related to carbon capture and storage technologies, especially in the context of emerging economies in the UNECE region.[11]


Energy-efficient housing

Due to both its high GHG emissions and its large potential for energy-saving measures, the housing sector plays a critical role in climate change mitigation. IPCC estimates that the global potential to reduce emissions at roughly 29 per cent for the residential and commercial sectors.[12] The energy-saving potential in this sector is also considerable: UNEP estimates that in Europe, buildings account for roughly 40 to 45 per cent of energy consumption, emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). Residential buildings account for the lion’s share of these emissions.[13]

Energy-efficient buildings can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation by reducing buildings’ energy consumption as well as by making them more resistant to severe weather events. Improving energy efficiency is especially important in the UNECE region, where projected increased housing construction and homeownership are likely to be accompanied by higher electricity consumption and thus growing emissions. UNECE has a programme geared to achieving maximal energy efficiency in the region’s housing, which will allow countries to share experience and good practice in reducing energy consumption in the residential sector, both vis-à-vis existing housing stock and new residential housing construction. This is expected to especially improve energy performance in parts of the region where progress is hampered by low innovation capacity and by a lack of knowledge about technical options to improve the thermal efficiency of existing buildings, and by outdated building codes that prevent countries from embracing the latest energy-efficient construction techniques. The programme will also include a wide-ranging regional assessment – featuring financing mechanisms, case studies, workshops and seminars for policymakers – and will benefit from close collaboration with above-mentioned EE21 project.

To date, UNECE has published country profiles on the housing sectors of Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation and Serbia and Montenegro. In 2009, two workshops (in Sofia and Vienna) will address the issue of energy efficiency in housing. A group of interested experts will assist the host countries in shaping the programme of the events and will provide the necessary expertise. In September 2008, the Committee on Housing and Land Management addressed energy efficiency in housing in the region, focusing on the legislative framework and incentives.[14]


Sustainable forestry

Forests and wood are integrally linked to climate change and have an important role to play in mitigation and adaptation. Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere when they grow, thereby offsetting a significant part of GHG emissions. According to the forthcoming UNECE Annual Report, the annual increase of carbon in EU-27 forests is equivalent to 8.6 per cent of GHG emissions in the European Union (EU). In Europe, forests sequester approximately 140 million tons of carbon a year. Wood products are a store of carbon, keeping it from release to the atmosphere. Forests store more than 80 per cent of terrestrial aboveground carbon and more than 70 per cent of soil organic carbon. They are also the source of wood energy that can substitute fossil energy, thereby reducing GHG emissions.[15] Wood can also be a substitute for non-renewable construction materials such as plastics, steel or concrete.

The UNECE Timber Committee has an active role in monitoring these trends and in promoting sustainable forest management. It collects basic data on forest resource assessment (e.g. carbon sequestration and storage in forests) and the production of and trade in forest products (e.g. harvested wood products, substitution of other materials). It contributes to policy monitoring by reporting on qualitative indicators of sustainable forest management and by publishing a chapter in the Forest Products Annual Market Review. It is currently developing a database on forest sector policies and institutions. In September 2008, UNECE hosted a workshop on “Harvested Wood Products in the Context of Climate Change Policies” to discuss different approaches to account for carbon stored in wood products and their economic, social and ecological impacts. It will also participate in the plenary session on Forest and Climate Change during European Forest Week (Rome, 21–24 October 2008). Finally, the UNECE Timber Committee provided an analytical contribution to the European Forest Sector Outlook Study in 2005 and has authored various papers on wood availability and the market for wood.


Sustainable biomass

Since 1998, UNECE has been directing a major cross-sectoral project for enterprises in the biomass sector in the region. One of the central tasks of climate change mitigation is to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy. The project aims to strengthen sustainable biomass supply from selected countries in the UNECE region to energy producers in the EU, with a focus on agro- and wood residues, whose use is an important alternative to the use of (food) crops for fuel. The project also seeks to improve the logistics chain of biomass trade from producer to the end-user through improved inland transportation, port and trade logistics, and customs cooperation with respect to imports and exports of biomass. Two further aims of the project are facilitating the exchange of good practice with the private sector and exploring cross-sectoral approaches that take into account environment, energy, trade and transport issues.


Other related UNECE areas of work

The “Environment for Europe” ministerial process

The “Environment for Europe” process provides a pan-European political framework for the discussion of key policy issues, development of programmes and launching of initiatives to improve the region’s environment and harmonize environmental policies. At the Sixth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Belgrade, 10–12 October 2007), environment ministers explicitly recognized the urgent need to address climate change in the UNECE region. The Conference saw the launch of the Belgrade Initiative[16], a subregional effort in South-Eastern Europe to support subregional implementation of the UNFCCC through a Climate Change Framework Action Plan and a virtual climate change-related centre in Belgrade designed to help raise awareness and build capacity.

UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development

The UNECE Strategy of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), adopted in 2005 by ministers and other officials from education and environment ministries across the UNECE region, endeavours to integrate key themes of sustainable development into all education systems. It constitutes the regional pillar of implementation of the United Nations Decade of ESD. At the joint session on ESD held during the Sixth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe”, environment and education ministers referred to the problems posed by climate change as a “leading example of where ESD could be applied to daily life, as climate change affects everyone and ESD offers an essential way to shape knowledge and attitudes, and hence could help us to address these problems” [17]

Modifying transport policies based on traffic-based information about carbon dioxide emissions

In order to evaluate the implementation of new national or regional measures to reduce their contributions to the global warming, Governments must analyse different possible strategies, especially those that address the total energy consumption of the transport sector. To make the right policy decisions and to optimize their strategies to attain CO2 reduction targets, an assessment and analysis tool is needed that integrates the most recent developments in transportation. This tool should be transparent so as to ensure that decisions overly swayed by special-interest groups. Such an information tool is currently under consideration. It is based on a uniform methodology for evaluating CO2 emissions in the land transport sector, and incorporates climate-relevant indicators as well as new transportation trends.

Environmental Performance Reviews

The UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs), based on the OECD/DAC peer review process, aim to improve individual and collective environmental management. Since 1996, Central, South-East and Eastern European as well as Central Asian countries have been reviewed by UNECE, in addition to a few countries in transition that were reviewed in cooperation with OECD (Bulgaria, Belarus, Poland and the Russian Federation). A second round of EPRs have already been carried out for Belarus (2005), Bulgaria (2000), Estonia (2001), Republic of Moldova (2005), Ukraine (2006), Montenegro and Serbia and (2007) and Kazakhstan (2008), and are in process for Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

By disseminating relevant information, they contribute to enhancing public access to information about the environment and environmental issues and thus to more informed decision-making, relevant to the climate change debate. In future, they can provide a comprehensive analysis of instruments used in the context of regional climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, a means to share good practice and highlight gaps in this area, and a way to offer important policy recommendations.

Strategic environment assessment

The UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) provides a framework for considering transboundary environmental impacts in national decision-making processes.

The Convention’s Protocol on Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA), not yet in force, will ensure that Parties integrate consideration of the environment into their plans and programmes at a very early planning stage. SEA can be used to introduce climate change considerations into development planning. This is in line with the conclusions reached at the high-level event “The Future in Our Hands”, convened by the Secretary-General in September 2007, as well as the recommendation of IPCC[18] that climate change mitigation and adaptation be integrated into an overarching sustainable development strategy. The IPCC also concluded that consideration of climate change impacts in development planning, as might be provided by SEA, is important for boosting adaptive capacity, e.g. by including adaptation measures in land-use planning and infrastructure design or by reducing vulnerability through existing disaster risk reduction strategies.[19]

Statistics related to climate change

The global official statistics community still only engages in an ad hoc way with the issues of climate change. UNECE is reviewing the possibility of setting up a joint task force (subject to the approval of the Bureau of the Conference of European Statisticians) to explore statistical activities related to the UNFCCC guidelines on the compilation of emission inventories. The task force will also take into account the recommendations that are expected to be developed at a forthcoming conference on statistics of climate change in the Republic of Korea. In June 2008, the meeting of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Environmental-Economic Accounting (UNCEEA) recommended that statistics on emissions should become part of the regular production and dissemination process of official statistics at the national level. In this context, national statistical offices should gradually take on the responsibility for regularly compiling emission statistics and contributing to the review of the guidelines to assembling emission registers.

This is expected to contribute to a better understanding of how official statistics can contribute to the understanding, measurement and monitoring of the different aspects of climate change as well as to bring together all current activities in a coherent framework.

Innovation and financing

UNECE has organized workshops and seminars with a view to enhancing the understanding of the process of technology diffusion, identifying possible barriers to take-up, and providing training and technical assistance to the region’s Governments on their innovation policies. This includes a financing dimension, in particular regarding early-stage financing of innovative enterprises. During the International Conference Investing in Innovation, which took place in Geneva in April 2008, a session on how environmental challenges can be addressed through innovation brought together policy makers and specialized financial intermediaries to discuss emerging trends in the allocation of risk capital for eco-investing and the type of policies required to encourage the mobilization of private financing in this area.

Efforts to mitigate or adapt to climate change are significantly boosted by the diffusion of existing technologies but also by the introduction of new ones. Given the scale and systemic nature of the necessary shift towards low carbon technologies, there is a clear link between the challenges posed by climate change mitigation and innovation policies.  In future, work on innovation and its related financing and intellectual property aspects could help to inform policies in relation to climate change.

[1] This note, prepared by Laura Altinger, has benefited from valuable inputs by Ella Behlyarova, Francesca Bernardini, Nicholas Bonvoisin, Lidia Bratanova, Keith Bull, Paola Deda, George Georgiadis, Franziska Hirsch, Romain Hubert, Matti Johansson, Albena Karadjova, Marco Keiner, Monika Linn, Eva Molnar, José Palacin, Kit Prins, Juraj Riecan, Patrice Robineau, Gianluca Sambucini, Angela Sochirca and Michael Stanley-Jones.

[2] More formally, climate change is defined as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (UNFCCC, art. 1).

[3] According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report (p. 76), adaptation relates to the ‘initiatives and measures aimed at reducing the vulnerability of natural and human systems against actual or expected climate change effects. Various types of adaptation exist, e.g. anticipatory and reactive, private and public, and autonomous and planned. Examples are raising river or coastal dykes, the substitution of more temperature-shock resistant plants for sensitive ones”.

[4] A/62/644 , para. 11.

[5] E/2008/SR.38 , para. 25.

[6] Letter by United Nations Secretary-General to the members of the Chief Executives Board and the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, 30 May 2008.

[8] Decision 9/CP.13, annex, paras. 14 and 15 (FCCC/CP/2007/6/Add.1), amended the New Delhi Work Programme on article 6 of the UNFCCC. The thirteenth session was held from 3 to 15 December 2007 in Bali, Indonesia.

[9] OECD (2008), The Challenges of climate change, key messages, International Transport Forum, Ministerial Session, 29 May, p. 2.

[12] Quoted in Deda, P. and G. Georgiadis, “Tackling climate change ‘at home’: trends and challenges in enhancing energy efficiency in buildings in the ECE region”, in UNECE Annual Report 2009.

[13] Ibid. p. 3.

[14] ECE/HBP/2008/2 of 7 July 2008.

[15] Prins, Kit et al (2008), “Forests, wood and climate change: challenges and opportunities in the UNECE region”, in UNECE Annual Report 2009.

[18] Ibid.

[19] IPCC, WG II, Summary for policymakers.


Posted on on March 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

State of the Planet, March 25, 2010.

From The Earth Institute, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Thursday, March 25, 2010 –  8:30am-5:30pm EDT

Beijing, London, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York, via live links/webcast

New York site: Lerner Hall, Columbia University, 115 St/Broadway


Webcast/event site:


The State of the Planet conference, held every two years, brings together insights on critical issues from the world’s most influential thinkers and leaders. This year, the Earth Institute, The Economist and Ericsson join forces to bring the conversation to the global community. With broadband access enabled by Ericsson, live events in five cities will be brought together in real time, moderated by Economist journalists. Viewers at home can participate via interactive online tools and discussion boards.

Four major topics are on the table: the science and politics of climate change; healing the world economy in an environmentally sustainable way; the ongoing challenge of ending extreme poverty; and how we can build and strengthen international systems able to deal with continuing crises that span borders.

Speakers include:  UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon; President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa of Mexico; Prince Albert II of Monaco; Sanjeev Chadha, CEO of Pepsico India; Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme; Xu Jintao, head of the environmental economics program, Peking University; and many others. Moderator: Al Jazeera journalist Riz Khan. Hosts of the event are: Earth Institute director Jeffrey D. Sachs; Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg; and Matthew Bishop, American business editor and New York bureau chief of The Economist.

New York press registration/info: Kevin Krajick 212-854-9729


Nairobi: Nick Nuttall

New Delhi: Abhijit Sinha



March 25, 2010

8:30 a.m. EDT     Video Introduction

Welcome and Introduction by Event Hosts:

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, The Earth Institute
  • Hans Vestberg, Ericsson
  • Matthew Bishop, The Economist

Introduction of Global Sites:  Riz Khan, Al Jazeera English (Master of Ceremonies).

8:55 a.m. EDT SESSION I:  CLIMATE CHANGE – What Would It Take to Complete the Climate Deal?

In recent months, the world saw failed negotiations in Copenhagen, attacks on the validity of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and calls from politicians to open criminal investigations into climate science.  In this context, discussion is likely to go beyond “completion” of a climate deal to delve into the true state of our knowledge; how the world perceives it; and whether, and how, the world can move forward toward real action on climate change.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist

  • Wallace S. Broecker, Newberry Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University
  • Mark Cane, G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences and Professor of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, Columbia University
  • Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University


Event Site Host: Brookings Institution, Tshingua University

Moderator: James Miles, China Correspondent, The Economist


  • Xiao Geng, Director, Brookings Tsinghua Center for Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution (speaking from Beijing)
  • Xu Jintao, Professor of Natural Resource Economics; Head of the Environmental Economics Program in China, Peking University
  • Jiang Kejun, Research Professor and Director, Energy Systems Analysis and Market Analysis Division, Energy Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission
  • Qi Ye, Professor of Environmental Policy and Management; Director; Climate Policy Institute, Tsinghua University

Monaco – HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

New Delhi – Event Site Host: The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

ModeratorSimon Cox, Correspondent, The Economist


  • Nitin Desai, Former UN Under-Secretary-General; Distinguished Fellow, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) (TBC)

10:30 a.m. EDT   Break


10:45 a.m. EDT SESSION II:  POVERTY – How Do We Achieve the Millennium Development Goals?

Only five years remain until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s agreed-upon targets to end extreme poverty and fight hunger and disease. This year is pivotal. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to attend a summit in New York September 20-22, to boost progress toward the MDGs and agree on a plan of action to achieve them. The prospect of falling short of the goals due to lack of commitment is real, but achieving the MDGs remains feasible with adequate commitment, policies, resources and effort.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

ModeratorMatthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist


  • HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development
  • Glenn Denning, Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University
  • Hans Vestberg, President and CEO, Ericsson

Nairobi (Special Focus: Is Green Growth the Answer for Africa?)

Event Site Host: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Moderator: Jonathan Ledgard, Correspondent, The Economist


  • James Mwangi , Group Managing Director and CEO, Equity Bank
  • Sylvia Mwichuli Mudasia, Director of Africa Communications, UN Millennium Campaign
  • Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); UN Under-Secretary-General


12:15 p.m. EDT  Lunch

1:30 p.m. EDT     Keynote Address

President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Mexico (speaking from Mexico City)


1:58 p.m. EDT     SESSION III:  ECONOMIC RECOVERY – What Does a Green Recovery Look Like?

This session will deal with two colliding questions. First: How do we haul the world out of the current economic recession? Second: Given that economic activity helps drive environmental degradation, how do we make a recovery environmentally sustainable? Discussion may start with shorter-term questions of money and finance, but will quickly move on to longer-term ones on how the world economy fits in with the usage or conservation of  natural resources; systems of energy generation, old and new; and the survival or fall of natural ecosystems.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Riz Khan, Host of the Riz Khan Show, Al Jazeera English

  • Sanjeev Chadha, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo India
  • Geoffrey Heal, Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility and Professor of Economics and Finance, Columbia University
  • Peter  Wierenga, Executive Vice President and CEO,  Philips Research


Event Site Host: The Economist

Moderator: John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist, London


3:55 p.m. EDT     SESSION IV:  How Can an International System Be Built To Deal with Transnational Issues?

4:00 p.m. EDT     Keynote Address

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

The challenges of sustainable development—whether heading off climate change, fighting extreme poverty, stabilizing populations, or ensuring adequate water supplies for human use and crops—must all harness actions from a wide array of institutions. Gaining cooperation among the many stakeholders involved is the toughest challenge of all. In the countdown to achieving the MDGs by 2015, and in the midst of a global economic crisis, the need to strengthen global cooperation has become an emergency rather than simply a matter of urgency. Strengthening global partnerships in the areas of aid, trade, debt relief, and access to affordable medicines and new technologies is critical to prevent a decline in development.

New York

Event Site Host: The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: Riz Khan, Host of the Riz Khan Show, Al Jazeera English


  • Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist, New York
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Rajiv Shah, Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (TBC)
  • Ann Veneman, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


5:17 p.m. EDT     Wrap-Up: Jeffrey D. Sachs, Hans Vestberg and Matthew Bishop



Kevin Krajick, The Earth Institute

Dayna De Simone, The Economist

Ericsson Corporate Public & Media Relations

Phone: +46 10 719 69 92

The Earth Institute, Columbia University mobilizes the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. Through interdisciplinary research among more than 500 scientists in diverse fields, the Institute is adding to the knowledge necessary for addressing the challenges of the 21st century and beyond. With over two dozen associated degree curricula and a vibrant fellowship program, the Earth Institute is educating new leaders to become professionals and scholars in the growing field of sustainable development. We work alongside governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals to devise innovative strategies to protect the future of our planet.

The Economist, edited in London since 1843, is a weekly international news and business publication offering clear reporting, commentary and analysis on world politics, business, finance, science, technology, culture, society, media and the arts.  The Economist has a North American circulation of 813,000, a global circulation of more than 1.4 million and 4 million monthly unique visitors at The Economist online.  Because of its international editorial perspective, it is read by more of the world’s political and business leaders than any other magazine.

Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally. Over 1,000 networks in more than 175 countries utilize its network equipment, and 40 percent of all mobile calls are made through its systems. It is one of the few companies worldwide that can offer end-to-end solutions for all major mobile communication standards. Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology and sustainable business solutions. More than 80,000 employees around the world generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876, with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASD


Posted on on May 6th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

Maldives Join the Climate Neutral Network with a Pledge to Become World’s First Carbon Neutral Nation
Nairobi, 4 May 2009 – The Republic of Maldives, one of the countries most affected by climate change, has joined the Climate Neutral Network led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

This follows the announcement by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed earlier this year to make the Indian Ocean island nation the world’s first carbon neutral country in just 10 years’ time, by 2019.

This ambitious objective will be achieved by fully switching to renewable sources of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines, investments in other new technologies, and sharing of best practices.

President Nasheed declared that “the Maldives will no longer be a net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions”.

“Climate change isn’t a vague and abstract danger but a real threat to our survival. But climate change not only threatens the Maldives, it threatens us all”, he added.

No part of the Maldives’ 1,200 tropical coral islets rises more than six feet (1.8 meters) above sea level, leaving the 400,000 inhabitants at great risk of rising sea levels and storm surges.

As part of coping with the effects of climate change, the Maldives Government focuses on coastal zone protection, land use management and protection of critical infrastructure.

The Maldives has become the seventh country to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a UNEP initiative launched in February 2008 to promote global transition to low-carbon economies and societies which also includes cities, regions, companies and organizations.

The other six nations that have pledged to move towards climate neutrality and joined the CN Net are Costa Rica, Iceland, Monaco, New Zealand, Niue and Norway.

Welcoming the Republic of Maldives on board the CN Net, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stated that: “Climate neutrality is not just a developed nations’ concern, nor is it their prerogative. Developing nations such as Maldives can indeed leapfrog by embracing the low-carbon development model, which will assist in greening their economies and weathering both climatic and economic storms.”

“When the most climate change vulnerable nations display leadership in addressing the cause of the problem which they had very little to contribute to, there is no excuse for others not to act. The global community of nations can and must express its commitment to protecting the planet and powering green growth by sealing an ambitious climate deal at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen”, he concluded.

For more information, contact:

At the Government of the Republic of Maldives: Ahmed Saleem, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Transport and Environment, Tel: 3331695, Fax: 3331694, or e-mail:  saleem at, internet:


Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254-20-762-3084, Mobile: +254-733-632755, or when traveling: +41-79-596-5737, or e-mail:  nick.nuttall at

Or: Xenya Cherny Scanlon, Information Officer, Climate Neutral Network, on Tel: +254- 20-762-4387, Mobile: +254-721-847-563, or e-mail:  xenya.scanlon at; internet:

Jim Sniffen
Programme Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210
 info at


Posted on on February 21st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

 From the own UN_NEWS Wire:


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to environment ministers from around the world to usher in a “new generation” of solutions to climate change.

“You can help us meet the crucial challenge of mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge,” he said in a video message to more than 100 ministers in Monaco at the start of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum sponsored by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

This meeting, focusing on the theme “Mobilizing Finance for the Climate Challenge,” is the largest gathering of environment ministers since last December’s historic UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, where 187 countries agreed to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

Today, Mr. Ban called on the participants at the three-day Monaco conference – also includes business leaders, economists, scientists and local government officials, among others – to press ahead with forging a post-Kyoto agreement.

The negotiations process is scheduled to wrap up next year at a major summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Achieving a deal there is my priority, and that of the entire UN family,” said the Secretary-General, who has made tackling climate change a top priority. “We must sustain the momentum, including through practical actions now.”


More and more companies are embracing environmentally-friendly policies and investors are pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into cleaner and renewable energies, according to a new publication released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

While the impacts of climate change range from the melting of permafrost and glaciers to extreme weather events, UNEP’s Year Book 2008 shows that it is also causing a shift in the mind-sets, policies and actions of leaders of governments, companies and the UN itself.

“Increasingly, combating climate change is being perceived as an opportunity rather than a burden and a path to a new kind of prosperity as opposed to a brake on profits and employment,” according to the new report. The emerging ‘green’ economy is also credited with driving invention and innovation on a scale not seen since perhaps the industrial revolution.

The Year Book was presented today in Monaco at the opening of the largest gathering of environment ministers since the landmark UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia last December which ended with nearly 200 countries agreeing in Bali to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations to tackle the problem of global warming.

UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which is focusing on the theme “Mobilizing Finance for the Climate Challenge,” brings together ministers as well as representatives of business, organized labour, science and civil society.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars are now flowing into renewable and clean energy technologies and trillions more dollars are waiting in the wings looking to governments for a new and decisive climate regime post 2012 alongside the creative market mechanisms necessary to achieve this,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told the Forum.

“Formidable hurdles remain as to whether these funds will ultimately seek out new, climate-friendly investments for the future or whether they will seek the lowest common denominator by flowing into the polluting technologies of the past,” he said.

He added that “designing an attractive, creative and equitable investment landscape which rewards those willing to invest in tomorrow’s economy today is the challenge before ministers here in Monaco and the challenge for the international community over the next two years.”

Despite a great deal of activity, the Year Book notes that many challenges remain to truly embed new and innovative ideas in the global economy in the years to come. Subsidies favouring fossil fuels over cleaner energies and tariff and trade regimes that make cleaner technologies more expensive are just some of the barriers that need to be overcome.


Posted on on February 20th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

      From:          sniffenj at
Subject:       Breaking Down the Barriers to a Green Economy — UNEP Launches Year Book 2008
Date:       February 20, 2008 9:07:52 AM EST


Breaking Down the Barriers to a Green Economy – UNEP Launches Year Book 2008.

10th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, Monaco, 20-22 February, 2008.

MONACO, 20 February 2008–An emerging “Green Economy” is glimpsed in the
latest Year Book from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as
growing numbers of companies embrace environmental policies and investors
pump hundreds of billions of dollars into cleaner and renewable energies.

Climate change, as documented in the Year Book, is increasingly changing
the global environment from the melting of permafrost and glaciers to
extreme weather events.

But it is also beginning to change the mind-sets, policies and actions of
corporate heads, financiers and entrepreneurs as well as leaders of
organized labour, Governments and the United Nations itself.

Increasingly, combating climate change is being perceived as an opportunity
rather than a burden and a path to a new kind of prosperity as opposed to a
brake on profits and employment, the new report shows.

The UNEP Year Book 2008 says the emerging “Green Economy” is also driving
invention, innovation and the imagination of engineers on a scale perhaps
not witnessed since the industrial revolution of more than two centuries


It includes the growing interest in novel “geo-engineering” projects such
as giant carbon dioxide (CO2) collectors that absorb greenhouse gases from
the air rather like trees do during photosynthesis.

“Based on technology used in fish tank filters and developed by scientists
from Columbia University’s Earth Institute, this method called ‘air
capture’…can collect the CO2 at the location of the ideal geological
deposits for storage”, says the report.

Meanwhile, scientists in Iceland and elsewhere are looking at injecting CO2
into that country’s abundant basalt rocks where it is claimed the pollutant
reacts to form inert limestone.

Similar “sequestration rocks” exist in geological formations across much of
the world and may provide a safe and long-term disposal option for the main
greenhouse gas emissions.


Elsewhere, scientists are helping to unravel both the uncertainties and the
opportunities posed by the enormous quantities of methane trapped in the
sea bed and in Arctic permafrost.

As a greenhouse gas methane is 25 times more potent than CO2 so the
possibility of dramatic increases in methane emissions from these deposits
is a global warming “wildcard” – a growing source of concern.

At the same time methane hydrates are potentially large stockpiles of
clean-burning fuel, if ways can be found of mining them safely and


Despite a great deal of activity and action, formidable challenges remain
if all these fledgling transformations are to be sustained and embedded in
the global economy over the coming years and decades.

Barriers include subsidies that favour fossil fuels over cleaner energies;
tariff and trade regimes that make cleaner technologies more expensive; and
the risk-averse lending patterns of banks and other financial institutions
when it comes to solar and wind power loans for poorer communities, the new
report says.

The Year Book’s findings were presented today at the opening of the largest
gathering of Environment Ministers since the UN’s Climate Convention
meeting in Indonesia late last year which gave birth to the Bali Road Map.

The Road Map is the climate negotiation agreement scheduled to be completed
by the Climate Convention’s meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 in order to
deliver a post-2012 climate regime.

The Ministers, joined by senior figures from the worlds of business,
organized labour, science and civil society, are attending UNEP’s Governing
Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum under the theme “Mobilizing
Finance for the Climate Challenge”.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director,
said: “Hundreds of billions of dollars are now flowing into renewable and
clean energy technologies and trillions more dollars are waiting in the
wings looking to Governments for a new and decisive climate regime
post-2012 alongside the creative market mechanisms necessary to achieve

“Formidable hurdles remain as to whether these funds will ultimately seek
out new, climate-friendly investments for the future or whether they will
seek the lowest common denominator by flowing into the polluting
technologies of the past”, he said.

“Designing an attractive, creative and equitable investment landscape which
rewards those willing to invest in tomorrow’s economy today is the
challenge before Ministers here in Monaco and the challenge for the
international community over the next two years in the run up to
Copenhagen”, said Mr. Steiner.

“However, I am optimistic that we can shift gears to a ‘Green Economy’. If
humans can go to the Moon; submarines sent under the Arctic; liver and
heart transplants perfected; the mysteries of the human genome deciphered
and tiny nano-machines designed then managing a transition to a low-carbon
society must be within humanity’s grasp and intellect”, he added.

Some Key Findings:
The findings here are based on the UNEP Year Book 2008 with some additional
supporting facts and figures from documents prepared by UNEP for the

Responsible Investing Takes Off:
The UNEP Year Book, an annual report requested by Ministers, underlines
some of the elements of a “Green Economy” which are already falling into

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting including environmental
concerns is now found among corporations in over 90 countries with the
number of such statements mushrooming from virtually zero in the early
1990s to well over 2,000 now.

* The Investor Network on Climate Change, launched in November 2003, now
has some 50 institutional investors with assets of over $3 trillion.

* The Principles for Responsible Investment, jointly facilitated by UNEP’s
Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact in 2006, now has 275
institutions with $13 trillion of assets.

Many companies now perceive that “going green” also improves their bottom
line. The Year Book 2008 underlines a study by the investment bank Goldman

A survey of companies in six sectors—ranging from mining and energy to food
and media—indicates that those with pioneering environmental, social and
governance strategies are out-performing the general stock market by 25 per

Over 70 per cent out perform their peers in similar sectors, the Year Book
2008 notes.

Meanwhile, a survey of some 150 companies with CSR strategies in the United
States as well as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, underlines
corporations’ growing environmental priorities.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions and boosting energy efficiency ranked
number one among 54 per cent of those questioned, followed by recycling, 52
per cent and waste reduction, 27 per cent.

Bottom of the list are “making shipping and transport more efficient and
eco-friendly”, 8 per cent; environmental education and research, 7 per
cent; and supporting employees’ use of alternative transportation, 6 per

Industrial Emission Reductions Remain Mixed:
Meanwhile, some of the globe’s most carbon-intensive industries are leading
the way in publicly disclosing their carbon footprint under an eight
year-old initiative called the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Disclosure is seen as one powerful route towards companies taking
responsibility and acting to reduce their emissions.

The Project, aimed also at empowering shareholders to better understand the
current and future economic risks facing the companies they support,
estimates that:

* Close to 80 per cent of the Financial Times 500 corporations are
disclosing their carbon performance.

* Over three quarters of those who are disclosing such information are now
also implementing greenhouse gas reductions via direct emissions reductions
or via the emerging carbon markets. This is up from nearly half the year

Interestingly, the highest rate of achievement in terms of carbon
disclosure is among the carbon-intensive industries such as metals, mining
and steel sectors alongside oil and gas and the power sector.

However, the Year Book 2008 indicates that despite these promising steps,
more needs to be achieved.

A survey by Innovest, a research company whose findings are in the report,
shows that some sectors are making in-roads into greenhouse gas emissions.

These include electric power companies in North America; international
automobile manufacturers and metals and mining companies.

But other sectors appear to be either treading water or seeing emissions
continue to rise including oil and gas and chemicals.

Carbon Markets:
The best known carbon markets are those established under the Kyoto
Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

These include International Emissions Trading; Joint Implementation and the
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The CDM allows industrialized countries to offset some of their domestic
emissions via cleaner and renewable energy schemes alongside afforestation
and reforestation projects in developing countries.

As of November 2007, over 850 projects had been registered in close to 50
countries worth just over $1 billion in what are known as certified
emission reductions.

A further $1.4 billion are in the pipeline and the CDM could, if fully
exploited, eventually trigger investment flows for some $100 billion from
North to South.

A recent survey of the CDM, published in the Year Book, indicates that
close to 30 per cent of such projects are currently aimed at tackling the
refrigerant by-product HFC-23 followed by:

* Reductions in the nitrous oxide gas adipic acid, 10 per cent
* Waste methane from landfills into electricity, 11 per cent
* Biomass fuels, 7 per cent
* Wind power, installation of combined gas turbines and hydro-power, 6 per
cent each
* Emissions reductions from oil-fields and coal mining, 4 per cent each.

The Year Book also chronicles the rise of voluntary emission reduction
markets such as the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Over the Counter

The Chicago Exchange now has over 330 companies, cities, states and other
participants despite the decision of the United States not to ratify the
Kyoto Protocol. And while it is deemed a voluntary exchange, those involved
are required to sign legally-binding contracts.

Since 2003, the volume of carbon traded has risen from zero to around 20
million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2006. The Exchange is also
involved in a wider suite of offsets when compared with the formal
Kyoto-inspired markets.

For example, participants in the Chicago Exchange can invest in reducing
emissions from livestock and animal wastes including biogas; agricultural
soil carbon sequestration and grass planting; urban tree planting and
forest conservation projects.

The voluntary Over the Counter offsets market is also evolving after
suffering a measure of criticism and concern that some projects were
flawed, counter-productive or even environmentally and socially-damaging.

“Schemes are emerging to guarantee to purchasers that carbon offsets
represent genuine emission reductions, without harmful environmental side
effects”, says the Year Book.

The Voluntary Carbon Standard was introduced in November 2007 and is
endorsed by the International Organization for Standards under its ISO
14064 and ISO 14065 series.

The latest figures indicates that the total voluntary carbon market was, in
2006, worth around $90 million with most projects in North America and
dominated by forestry schemes, followed by Asia where the lion’s share of
projects are for renewable energies.

This compares with close to $30 billion from the formal Kyoto markets and
mechanisms in the same year.

Payments for Ecosystem Services:
The formal and voluntary carbon markets are triggering new market
mechanisms for including the carbon-removing value of forests alongside
other benefits such as water management, biodiversity conservation and the
preservation of traditional livelihoods.

Some countries and communities are already pursuing these multiple goals
under the voluntary markets by finding buyers interested in more than just

The Year Book cites the case of the Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda and the
organization Bosque Sustentable of Mexico. In 2006, they completed a sale
of land to the United Nations Foundation which was keen to reduce its
carbon footprint via a project that will also alleviate poverty.

A similar sale is the final stages to the World Land Trust, a UK-based
organization who will be selling the Sierra Gorda Carbon and Environmental
Offsets to a range of European buyers.

These developments are also underlined by a project funded by the
Government of the Netherlands in Tanzania called Kyoto: Think Global, Act

The project has involved training people on hand-held Geographic
Information Systems in order to assist local forest communities estimate
the amount of carbon being sequestered by their trees.

Each village forest was found to be sequestering 1,300 tonnes of carbon per
year—equivalent to an income of $6,500 per village per year at the then
prevailing market price for carbon.

By bundling in the added value of water and biodiversity conservation, the
actual incomes could be even higher.

The chance to realize such incomes is becoming a growing possibility. Late
last year, the World Bank announced the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
to conserve standing forests and to begin avoiding the estimated 20 per
cent of global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

A further development emerged at the Bali Climate Convention meeting in
December 2007 when Norway announced $2.7 billion of funding for Reduced
Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).

Adapting Insurance to Vulnerability:
Creative market mechanisms are also emerging to try and deal with
adaptation to climate change.

Extreme weather events are on the rise and are likely to become more
prevalent in a climate constrained world. Yet many of those at risk have
little access to formal insurance markets.

The Year Book cites a new study by Munich Re, one of the world’s leading
re-insurance companies. This estimates that cover for catastrophic events
such as hurricanes and storm surges, is virtually non-existent for billions
of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Of the 2.5 billion people world-wide who have less than $2 a day at their
disposal, it has been estimated that only 10 million are able to purchase
insurance”, says the report.

Some developments are underway however, including micro-insurance. In
Africa, pilot projects that pay out to farmers when rainfall drops below a
key threshold, are being tested.

* For example, the UN’s World Food Programme has partnered with the
re-insurer AXA to develop weather derivatives that pay out to Ethiopian
farmers in the event of severe drought.

* Swiss Re, a member of the UNEP Finance Initiative, has launched a Climate
Adaptation Development Programme to provide financial protection to up to
400,000 people in 10 countries in Africa from drought.

The UNEP Year Book 2008 concludes that “for new developments to reach the
scale and scope that is needed, Governments must play a stronger
stimulation and facilitation role”.

Some of the measures that Governments might wish to consider include:

* Removing fossil fuel subsidies could reduce C02 emissions by 5-6 per cent
annually. Currently, fossil fuel subsidies amount up to $200 billion a year
versus support for low-carbon technologies of an estimated $33 billion

Research and Development (R+D):
* Boosting research and development. The International Energy Agency
estimates that R+D for low-emission innovations such as renewables and
energy savings declined by 50 per cent between 1980 and 2004.

* In order to achieve a C02 stabilization target of 550 parts per million,
support for innovation needs to rise from just over $30 billion to $90
billion by 2015 and to $160 billion by 2025, according to some experts.

Energy Savings:
* Increase global targets for energy efficiency improvements to 2.5 per
cent annually.

* These should be supported by policies including stronger energy savings
building codes for new and existing structures; penalties or disincentives
for builders to choose the cheapest, least energy efficient designs,
materials and gadgets; policies that promote mass transit especially rail
and international minimum performance standards for industrial and
household appliances.

* Other measures include the promotion of utility pricing that favours
energy efficiency; promotes combined heat and power and improves energy
savings in existing power plants and electricity transmission

* Policies that increase the uptake of renewables may include “feed-in
laws” that guarantee a fixed price for each unit of renewable electricity
generated; regulations that boost access to the grid; incentives for second
generation biofuels and ones that address other barriers including resource
mapping—UNEP/GEF’s Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment is a good
example of the latter.

* Government agencies and donors need to develop and deploy new forms of
“end-user” credit schemes to assist consumers to purchase climate
mitigation technologies and systems.

* New approaches are needed to assist small- to medium-sized enterprises
innovate including enterprise development services and seed capital.

* Attention needs to be paid to new financial and regulatory solutions that
address the lack of local currency financing in least developed
economies—this is effectively shutting out such economies from
low-C02-emitting infrastructure developments.

* Harnessing the “green procurement” potential of local authorities through
financial incentives that stimulate voluntary low-carbon investments.

* Public investments are needed to mobilize finance for adaptation given
that market mechanisms are in their infancy.

* Other actions for adaptation include regulations to limit the
vulnerability of new investments and infrastructure such as bans on
building in flood-prone areas and new, labour-intensive programmes to
“climate proof” rural areas that improve resilience of local populations,
address poverty, boost incomes and increase the skills base.


Notes to Editors:
The 10th Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial
Environment Forum will take place between 20 and 22 February in Monaco. See

The theme is Globalization and the Environment–Mobilizing Finance to Meet
the Climate Challenge.

The UNEP Year Book 2008 can be found at; it can be purchased
at Earthprint and is available in all six official UN
languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish)

This press release is also based on a UNEP report to ministers that can be
found under Official Documents; see….

The meeting was preceded on 19 February by the 9th Global Civil Society
Forum; see…

The Host Country Monaco’s web site is available at….

Three press conferences are currently scheduled:

{But from experience, as UNEP is part of the UN they may not allow to the press conferences those that are not accredited journalists with the UN – you see – this is how the UN Department of Communications and Public Information (the UN DPI) works at counter-purpose to the top brass of the UN – something we were not able to shake off – and this being something that will have to be corrected if the UN wants to be a central stage on the global warming/climate change issue and obviously this comment applies also on other issues as well.}

20 February-Findings from the UNEP Year Book 2008 and findings from “Green
Jobs Initiative”.

21 February—Launch of a new Climate Neutrality Initiative involving
countries, corporations and cities

22 February—Launch of a new report on the “Threats Climate Change Pose to
the World’s Fisheries and Oceans”

Side events—Nine news-worthy and informative side-events are scheduled
Wednesday, 20 February
1- High-level Roundtable on Climate Change and Trade (World Trade
Organization and UNEP)
2- UNEP Scientific Initiatives: Atmospheric Brown Cloud and Agricultural
3- UNEP experience in designing financial mechanisms for climate change

Thursday, 21 February
1- Launch of the Global Strategy for Follow up to the Millennium Ecosystem
2- Harnessing GEF catalytic financing for advancing global environmental
3- Supporting local authorities – combining the event “Financing for the
sustainable building sector” with “The UN, regions and local authorities: a
new alliance in response to climate change”

Friday 22 February
1- Green Jobs
2- Oceans, Coasts and Climate Change (with the UN Foundation)
3- Private–Public Bank Dialogue “UNEP Finance Initiative”.


For more information, please contact:   Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and
Head of Media, on Mobile when traveling: +41-79-596-5737, Nairobi Phone:
+254-20-762-3084, Mobile in Kenya: +254-733-632755, Email:
 nick.nuttall at; and Robert Bisset, UNEP Spokesperson for Europe, on
tel: +33-6-2272-5842 or Email  robert.bisset at

Mr. François Chantrait, Directeur. Centre de Presse, 10 Quai Antoine 1er,
98000 – Monaco, Phone: +377-98-98-22-08, Email: at

Jim Sniffen
Information Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210
 info at