UNEP Unveils the Climate Neutral
Network to Catalyze a Transition to a Low Carbon
Are You Going Neutral on Global
Warming?-13 Countries, Cities and Companies Say
10th Special Session of the
Global Ministerial Environment
Monaco/Nairobi, 21 February
2008-Four countries, four cities and five
corporations have become the pioneering founders of a
bold new initiative to address climate change and the
urgent need to de-carbonize the global economy.
The participants are the first to join the Climate
Neutral Network (CN Net), launched today by the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with
the UN's Environment Management Group, as one inspiring
solution to the challenge of rising greenhouse
The Network, a web-based project, is seeking to
federate the small but growing wave of nations, local
authorities and companies who are pledging to
significantly reduce emissions en route to zero emission
economies, communities and businesses.
Over the coming months, intergovernmental bodies,
organizations, civil society groups and eventually
individuals will be invited to take part.
The aim is a truly global information exchange
network open to all sectors of society from Presidents,
Prime Ministers and Princes to people from Pittsburgh
and Sao Paulo to Poznan and Apia.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP
Executive Director, said today: "Climate neutrality is
an idea whose time has come, driven by the urgent need
to address climate change but also the abundant economic
opportunities emerging for those willing to embrace a
transition to a Green Economy".
"This new initiative supports the formal negotiations
under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Here governments need to navigate the Bali Road Map to a
successful conclusion in Copenhagen in 2009. The CN Net
can assist in building confidence through demonstrable
action at the national and local level on the art of the
possible," he said.
"The CN Net is also in for the long haul and equally
aimed at mobilizing a broad-based response demonstrating
that a transition to a low, even zero carbon future, can
be a reality if inspiring and practical actions can be
federated around the world," said Mr Steiner.
The first four countries to partner are Costa Rica,
Iceland, New Zealand and Norway. They, along with the
initial cities and companies, represent a diversity of
challenges and opportunities which have the potential to
be replicated by others in whole or in part.
"For Norway it is emissions from oil and gas that
dominate whereas for New Zealand, agriculture represents
50 per cent of its current greenhouse gases," said Mr
"Iceland's central challenge is perhaps transport and
industry including fishing and fish processing. I am
especially delighted that Costa Rica is at the forefront
of the initiative. Its commitment demonstrates that the
economic benefits of reducing dependency on fossil fuels
and action on deforestation and degradation are of
central interest to developing and developed countries
alike," he said.
Costa Rica aims to be climate
neutral by 2021 when it celebrates 200 years of
The strategy will build on Costa Rica's decision to
tax fossil fuels in 1996 with 3.5 per cent of the money
raised allocated to the National Forestry Financing
These are part of a 'payment for environmental
services' programme that pays landowners who manage
forests for their carbon sequestration and storage
alongside management for water production, biodiversity
and scenic beauty.
In 2007 Costa Rica planted more than five million
trees or 1.25 per person making it the highest per
capita planting in the world. Various industries are
supporting the initiative including a C-neutral plan by
Costa Rica's banana sector.
Other elements of the strategy include increasing the
percentage of renewable energy generation to well over
90 per cent and action on energy efficiency including
energy saving appliances.
Iceland has drawn up a plan to
reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75 per
cent by 2050. The country's electricity production is
already among the greenest on the globe.
Currently 99 per cent of electricity generation and
75 per cent of total energy production is coming from
geothermal and hydro-power. Iceland's biggest challenge
comes from transport including vehicles and its fishing
fleet whose emissions have risen since 1990.
The country is planning to extend discount fees to
people buying environmentally-friendly vehicles such as
ones powered by methane, hydrogen, electricity or hybrid
Iceland is also looking to equip the country's
fishing fleet with eco-friendly fuel systems including
fuel cells. Progress is also under way to substitute
ammonia for HCFCs ? an ozone damaging and greenhouse gas
? in the fleet's refrigeration equipment.
Tapping methane from landfills and better management
and restoration of soils, wetlands and forests in order
to 'sequestrate' carbon from the air and minimize
releases from the land are also part of Iceland's
New Zealand is aspiring to climate
neutrality through a wide range of domestic initiatives
including a trading scheme covering all sectors of the
economy and all six greenhouse gases regulated under the
The country has set itself the target of generating
90 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by
2025, and halving per capita transport emissions by 2040
by introducing electric cars and a requirement to use
Meanwhile six government agencies will be aiming to
achieve full neutrality by 2012. Where emissions cannot
be cut they will be offset through forest regeneration
projects on tribal lands.
New Zealand, which will host World Environment Day
2008 under the theme 'Kick the C02 Habit", is paying
particular attention to emissions from agriculture. Some
40,000 farms account for 50 per cent of the country's
greenhouse gases versus around 12 per cent from
agriculture in most developed countries.
Norway aims to become climate
neutral by 2030, advancing by around 20 years a
previously announced deadline.
The country has embarked on a vigorous energy
efficiency and energy savings policy and is perfecting
carbon capture and storage at its offshore oil
Norway recently joined the European Emissions Trading
Scheme and has approved over $730 million to invest in
offsets via the Kyoto Protocol's Joint Implementation
and Clean Development Mechanism.
It has announced plans to invest $2.7 billion in
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and
Degradation-global greenhouse gas emissions from
deforestation are estimated to be around 20 per cent of
the total from all sources.
During the period 2008-2012, Norway estimates that it
will over-fulfill its Kyoto Protocol commitments by five
Four cities are also today
announcing they have joined the CN Net. They are
Arendal, Norway; Rizhao, China; Vancouver, Canada and
Arendal took a decision on climate
neutrality in 2007. It is currently assessing its
greenhouse gas footprint and will have a final estimate
in May 2008. The city's initial target is stabilization
in 2012 and a 25 per cent emission reduction by
City-wide action, including energy efficiency
measures in buildings, will be supplemented by the
purchasing of carbon offsets via a scheme run by the
Norwegian State Pollution Control body. This may
commence as early as this year.
Rizhao is implementing a transition
to a low carbon society via a variety of innovative
measures including boosting solar power in homes and
schools up to harvesting methane as a fuel from
Close to 100 per cent of urban housing now has solar
heaters and 30 per cent of rural homes. Compared to
2000, the amount of energy used per unit of GDP has
fallen by almost a third and C02 emissions by almost
Vancouver has adopted targets to
reduce community greenhouse gas emissions to 33% below
current levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by
2050. In addition, Vancouver adopted the target of
greenhouse gas neutral buildings for all new
construction by 2030.
The city has also set a target of being carbon
neutral in its own civic operations by 2012 by
retro-fitting public buildings to save energy, adopting
more efficient vehicles, including those powered by
alternative fuels, and capturing methane gas from its
landfill and converting the energy to heat and
Växjö has decided
to become a 'Fossil Fuel Free" City.
In 1996, there was a unanimous
political decision to reduce CO2 emissions per
inhabitant by at least 50% by the year 2010, compared to
1993. In 2006, the reduction was 30%. For the year 2025,
the goal is 70% and the long term goal is of course to
stop using fossil fuels. Today, over 50% of the city's
energy supply comes from renewables.
Five companies have become the
first to join the CN Net. They are Co-Operative
Financial Services, UK; Interface Inc, United States;
Natura, Brazil; Nedbank, South Africa and Senoko Power,
Co-operative Financial Services's
(CFS) 25-storey headquarters in the North of
England is the largest solar installation in the UK with
7,000 photovoltaic panels. In addition, 99 per cent of
the CFS's electricity is sourced from 'good quality'
renewable energy supplies.
The company has also developed a range of innovative
products for customers including car insurance and
mortgages that include offsets covering a fifth of a
vehicle and a household's emissions.
Interface Inc, a commercial
interiors company, has committed to climate neutrality
by 2020 under the Clinton Global Initiative. Employee
and company travel is offset through several schemes
including Cool C02mmute and Trees for Travel.
Seven of its manufacturing facilities are run using
renewable energy including its LaGrange plant in Georgia
that is fueled by methane from a landfill site. The
company is committed to greening its supply chain and
offers a range of climate neutral products including
Natura, a Brazilian multinational
cosmetics company, has pinpointed potential emissions
savings of 33 per cent from its business supply chain.
The company has committed to replace petroleum-based
products in its cosmetic in favour of natural minerals
and plant materials.
As early as 1997, Natura converted its distribution
fleet in the greater Sao Paulo area to natural gas.
Emissions that cannot be cut will be offset via native
species forestry projects and renewable energy.
Nedbank is working to reduce its own
emissions and those of its 24,000 employees through a
range of initiatives including public awareness schemes
for environmentally-friendly living.
The company is a signatory to South Africa's Energy
Efficiency Accord; is the only African bank to have
signed up to the Equator Principles and is a leading
member of the Carbon Disclosure Project that encourages
companies to disclose their carbon footprint as a
stepping stone to greater emissions reductions.
Senoko Power is Singapore's largest
power company. In 1998, over 80 per cent of its power
plants were powered by fuel oil or diesel. Today over 90
per cent of electricity is generated by natural gas and
since 1990 the 'carbon intensity' has fallen by close to
40 per cent.
Part of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy
includes building climate awareness in the community
including in schools and via a National Weather Study
Project. Senoko is the first power company in Singapore
to meet the environmental standard ISO 14001.
Quotes from some of the CN Net's
Roberto Dobles, Environment and Energy
Minister, Costa Rica
"Costa Rica seeks to be climate
neutral in 2021, unilaterally, because even though our
emissions are small, we believe there is a common yet
differentiated responsibility. The successful economies
of the future will be those that are decarbonized and
"Costa Rica is developing the National Strategy on
Climate Change to act responsibly with present and
future generations, in a view to reduce emissions and
adapt our country to climate change. Costa Rica is
developing a National Strategy on Climate Change to
generate new competitive capabilities in a global
environment heavily impacted by climate change.
The country is beginning to share the vision that a
climate neutral economy is also a competitive one, since
costs can be reduced and climate quality factors
Thorunn Sveinbjarnardottir, Environment
"Climate change can have dire
consequences for a large part of humanity in the coming
decades. We must, however, be able to frame the
challenge in a positive way, and to see it as a task of
doing things in a better way, a cleaner way.
Iceland has effectively de-carbonized its energy
production sector, and hopes to do the same in the
coming decades with other sectors of the economy. UNEP's
Climate Neutral Network initiative allows countries to
illustrate best examples in various fields, and to stake
out an ambitious profile in climate affairs. Who stays
ahead in this friendly race towards carbon neutrality is
not most important; if we all manage to beef up our
efforts the real winners will be the future inhabitants
of Planet Earth."
David Parker, Minister for Climate Change,
"The development of the Climate
Neutral Network signifies a major step forward in
creating a coordinated global response to climate
change. I am proud that New Zealand is a founding member
of the Climate Neutral Network. As a signatory we are
leading the way in actively laying out strategies to
become carbon neutral.
The creation of the network
recognizes that global economic growth and well-being
sit alongside a clean and healthy environment. It also
recognizes that climate change is an issue of the
highest concern to the United Nations."
Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and
International Development, Norway
"The Climate Neutral Network will
be an important contribution to the development and
promotion of carbon neutral economies. It will
facilitate the role of marked-based solutions and
economic regulatory measures to combat climate change."
Torill Rollstad Larsen, Mayor of
"The UN city of Arendal is paying
strong attention to the threats from Climate Change and
trying to live up to the notion 'think globally and act
locally'. We are currently embarking on an ambitious
program to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from
Arendal's own activities drastically by 2012. We will
further become climate neutral from 2008 by offsetting
remaining emissions. We also work with major events in
the city like the Hove rock festival, the World Speed
Boating Championship and the Canal Street jazz festival
to be climate neutral this year. We very much look
forward to sharing ideas and experience with other
colleagues in UNEP's Climate Neutral Network."
Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver
"The City of Vancouver is proud to
be recognized by the Climate Neutral Network as a world
leader acting to significantly reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Along with our focus on EcoDensity and making
Vancouver green, livable and affordable, we follow
approaches where we can have the greatest impact:
improving our own operations, following integrated and
sustainable land-use and transportation planning,
encouraging renewable district energy systems, and
requiring the highest standards of energy performance
Anders Franzén, Development manager,
"In Växjö, Sweden we took an early
responsibility to become climate neutral by a decision
1996 to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions that make us
a fossil fuel free city. By different measures we have
reached a considerable reduction and are now emitting
less than world average. We like to share our program,
vision and experience world wide. One good way can be
through the Climate Neutral Network."
David Anderson, Chief Executive of
"By using green energy, pursuing
energy efficiency and offsetting all our remaining CO 2
emissions we are doing everything to reduce our impact
on the environment. However, we cannot ignore the legacy
we have left over the years. That is why we are going
beyond carbon neutral and offsetting 110% of our
emissions each year."
Daniel T. Hendrix, Chief Executive Officer,
"Interface is excited to join
UNEP's Climate Neutral Network and share ideas and
strategies on achieving climate neutrality. It will take
the collaborative work of many to solve global climate
change problems and we want to do everything we can to
inspire and enable others to join us in our mission to
be a climate neutral enterprise."
Eduardo Luppi, Vice-President for Innovation,
"To Natura, initiatives like the
Climate Neutral Network are essential to stimulate the
exchange of ideas in a way that countries and companies
commit themselves more and more to the neutralization
and, mainly, the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Participation in this network is very important for
Natura to share experiences on its Carbon Neutral
Program and to exchange best practices on environmental
Selby Baqwa, Group
Executive for Governance, Compliance and Sustainability,
"Having worked with both UNEP and
the UN Global Compact over the last few years, we
strongly support the collaborative approach to dealing
with one of the greatest challenges facing the world
today, that of climate change, and look forward to
working with the Climate Neutral Network.
Nedbank is committed to a variety of energy
efficiency projects, supporting clean energy and
creating awareness around how to minimize the individual
effect on global warming of each of our staff members
and clients through their carbon footprints".
Roy Adair, President &
CEO of Senoko Power Ltd
"UNEP's launch of the climate
neutral network is an excellent step to raise public
awareness on climate change mitigation. Through this
platform, the public, organizations, and people sectors
will be able to share solutions and strategies to combat
climate change. As a power generation company, we at
Senoko Power are honored to be a part of this global
In Singapore, we are committed to minimizing our
impact on the environment. We have significantly reduced
our carbon intensity by as much as 40% compared to 1990s
by adopting the latest energy-efficient combined cycle
plant technology, while also shifting fuel consumption
to mostly natural gas.
In addition, we have committed more than S$1.8
million (US$ 1.25 million) for the sponsorship of the
National Weather Study Project (NWSP) between 2005 and
2007. The NWSP was launched to raise awareness on
climate change among students from 240 schools and
junior colleges in Singapore.
Through these initiatives, we
continue to serve as an agent of change not only for the
power generation industry but also for the public".
Notes to Editors
The aims and objectives of the Climate Neutral
Network, the pledges and strategies of the participants
and details on how to join are at www.unep.org/climateneutral
The 10th Special Session of UNEP's
Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum
will take place between 20 and 22 February in Monaco. www.unep.org/gc/gcss-x/
The theme is Globalization and
the Environment-Mobilizing Finance to Meet the Climate
Host Country web site is at http://www.unep2008.gouv.mc/pnue/wwwnew.nsf/HomeGb
UNEP resources on climate change
are at www.unep.org/themes/climatechange/
UN Environment Management Group is
World Environment Day 2008 www.unep.org/wed/2008/english/
For More Information Please Contact
Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and
Head of Media, on Phone:+ 254-20 7623084; Mobile in
Kenya: + 254 (0) 733 632755
Mobile when traveling: +41 79 596
57 37; Email: email@example.com
and Robert Bisset, UNEP
Spokesperson for Europe, on tel: +33 6 2272 5842 or
Mr. François Chantrait, Directeur.
Centre de Presse
10 Quai Antoine 1er, 98000 ?
MONACO, Phone: + 377 98 98 22 08