Our Planet:Kick the Habit - Towards a low carbon economy
The magazine of the United Nations Environment Programme - May 2008
KICK THE HABIT
Towards a low carbon economy
OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY
... reflects on the environmental
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Helen Clark...
challenges of our era ahead of
World Environment Day.
climate change: a global issue
- page 5
... talks to Our Planet about the prospects
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the
for a new global agreement on combating
Federal Republic of Germany....
unique challenge - page 6
Our Planet, the magazine of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Dr. Wan Gang, Minister of Science ... describes important programmes for helping
PO Box 30552 and Technology of the People’s the world triumph over the ecological havoc of
Republic of China... climate change.
Tel: (254 20)762 234
Fax: (254 20)7623 927
crucial science - page 10
To view current and past issues of this
publication online, please visit Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, Minister for ... describes the decarbonisation
www.unep.org/ourplanet the Environment, Iceland... of her country and calls
for a drive to develop
ISSN 0 - 7394
Director of Publication: Naomi Poulton
cooling with heating - page 12
Editor: Geoffrey Lean
Coordinator: David Simpson
Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Director
Assistant Coordinator: Anne-France White ... appeals for developed and
Special Contributor: Nick Nuttall General of the Environmental Protection developing nations to join in
Distribution Manager: Manyahleshal Kebede Authority, Ethiopia... cutting carbon emissions to save
Design: Amina Darani
life on Earth.
Producedy by: UNEP Division of
Communications and Public Information
salvaging the biosphere - page 14
Printed by: Naturaprint
Distributed by: SMI Books
... describes how one formerly oil-intensive
Ray C. Anderson, Founder and
The contents of this magazine do not necessarily company is set to achieve zero impact on the
Chairman of Interface Inc...
reflect the views or policies of UNEP or the environment by 2020 by harnessing the power
editors, nor are they an official record. The of the possible.
designations employed and the presentation
do not imply the expressions of any opinion
mission zero - page 16
whatsoever on the part of UNEP concerning the
legal status of any country, territory or city or its
Vinod Khosla, Founder of ... explains how the power of ideas
authority or concerning the delimitation of its
Khosla Ventures... and entrepreneurship will solve the
frontiers or boundaries.
world’s energy issues, while tackling
* All dollar ($) amounts refer to US dollars.
inventing the future - page 20
Rob Fyfe, Chief Executive Officer of ... describes first steps in cutting the carbon
Air New Zealand... emitted by airlines.
also green sky thinking - page 22
Meenakshi Raman, Chair, Friends of the ... argues for fundamental changes,
page 3 reflections particularly in developed countries,
Earth International ...
page 4 people to stabilise the climate.
page 8 verbatim and numbers
living simply - page 24
page 9 books
... shares her unorthodox advice on reducing
Rock star KT Tunstall ...
page 8 awards and events your carbon footprint.
page 9 www
page 26 products
step by step - page 27
2 OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY
Dr. BAlgiS OSMAn-ElAShA, the winner of on environment and development in Bangladesh, strong supporter of the Kyoto Protocol — was
the Champions of the Earth award for Africa, Dr. Rahman has helped to raise awareness of the instrumental in raising awareness and calling for
hazards of global warming throughout Asia. policy action on global warming. As the president
of the UN Foundation and Better World Fund,
One of his Serene highness PRinCE AlBERt ii’s Mr. Wirth has established the environment as a
first acts as sovereign of Monaco was to sign the key priority, and is mobilizing resources to address
Kyoto Protocol — an eloquent indication of his crucial issues from biodiversity to climate change
longstanding commitment to the environment. and renewable energy. Mr. Wirth was also a
Prince Albert II, the 2008 Champion of the steadfast advocate on environmental issues during
Earth for Europe, has been a prominent voice his time as a member of the US Senate, when he
on environmental issues since the early 990s. authored the Colorado Wilderness Bill as well as
Prince Albert’s involvement in raising awareness other successful legislation on energy, conservation
on climate change includes leading an expedition and environmental protection.
to the North Pole in 2006 to draw attention to and the region. The 2008 Champion of the Earth
h.E. liz thOMPSOn, the Champion of the Earth
the consequences of global warming. The Prince for West Asia has also orchestrated conservation
for Latin America and the Caribbean, has become efforts for the Socotra archipelago, a site of global
is a senior scientist from Sudan who is at the one of the recognized leaders on environmental importance for biodiversity, and established a state
forefront of global research on climate change. issues in Small Island Developing States. agency for the development of Yemeni islands with
A leading author of the Intergovernmental Panel During her time as Minister of Energy and the a focus on the conservation of marine resources.
on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, she has produced Environment of Barbados, she enacted a range of
groundbreaking work on global warming in Africa, progressive policies for sustainable development By setting a carbon neutral goal for New Zealand,
with an emphasis on northern and eastern Africa. and environmental protection. She also became a Prime Minister hElEn ClARk is blazing new
Dr. Osman-Elasha’s work is of vital relevance key voice raising awareness of global warming in trails in the fight against climate change. helen
given the strong links between climate change Barbados and has played a role in environmental Clark’s policy initiatives to make her country
and conflict in Sudan. The award also recognizes awareness and protection across the Caribbean greener have earned her the UNEP Special
Dr. Osman-Elasha’s efforts to educate Sudanese Prize in this year’s Champions of the Earth
university students about climate change, awards. The Prime Minister’s policies promote
thus raising awareness among the country’s renewable energy and energy efficiency across
new generation. key sectors of the economy, with initiatives
Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which he created including the New Zealand Emissions Trading
The 2008 Champion of the Earth for Asia and in 2006, works to protect the environment and Scheme and the Energy Efficiency and
the Pacific comes from Bangladesh, a country promote sustainable development. Prince Albert is Conservation Strategy. helen Clark’s government
highly vulnerable to climate change and flooding. also a patron of the Billion Tree Campaign, which is also achieving substantial advances on
Dr Atiq RAhMAn, Executive Director of the successfully led to the planting of more than a environmental protection, from forestry and
billion trees across the planet in 2007. agriculture to improving public awareness
and boosting private sector involvement in
For the last 30 years, tiMOthy E. WiRth — the
2008 Champion of the Earth for North America
— has been an advocate for the environment in
the United States. During his time as US Under region. She has encouraged Small Island
Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Mr. Wirth — a Development States to diversify their economies,
undertake sustainability assessments, and promote
community-based programmes that have positive
h.E. ABDul-qADER BA-JAMMAl has had a truly
pioneering influence on environmental protection
in Yemen — a country which faces acute
Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies is an challenges from water scarcity to desertification.
eloquent advocate for sustainable development. he During his time as Minister and then Prime
has transformed the NGO into a leading think-tank Minister, he established Yemen’s Ministry of sustainability. Aptly enough, New Zealand will
on sustainable development issues in South Asia. Water and Environment and Environment be hosting this year’s World Environment Day on
As one of the most highly respected and referenced Protection Authority and implemented a series of 5 June with the slogan ‘Kick the habit! Towards a
specialists in his field, with extensive publications groundbreaking environmental policies in Yemen Low Carbon Economy’.
4 OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY
Why did you decide, from the start of your Chancellorship, to put a high priority and does not — as is occasionally claimed — endanger economic progress,
on addressing climate change? How important in this was your background as a particularly in emerging economies and developing countries.
scientist and your experience as Environment Minister in the 1990s?
I am convinced that the agreement must build on a shared vision of future
Climate change is a key issue for the future that confronts each and every climate protection endeavours, and contain clear targets for reductions by
one of us. Not in ten or twenty years’ time, but right now. How will climate industrial countries and verifiable contributions by emerging economies.
change alter our personal environment? Is our home safe? Can we take any To this end, we must stipulate how climate protection measures by the
precautions? What energy sources should we choose? More and more people developing countries should be credited under this international agreement.
in the world are asking themselves these questions. Industrial countries must help developing countries in their efforts — for
instance via cooperation in the field of technology.
Climate change is also an ethical challenge. We must allow future generations
the things we claim for ourselves. They too must have the chance of an Has the world taken adequate steps to address adaptation to climate change?
environment worth living in. What needs to be done?
Climate change has long been a personal concern of mine. Certainly my Only if we have a clear idea of how far we want to reduce greenhouse gas
experience as Federal Environment Minister left its mark. The World Climate emissions can we estimate how much of an effort will be needed to adapt.
Conference, which I chaired in Berlin in 1995, and the negotiations in Kyoto in It is already clear, however, that the least developed countries, in particular,
1997 were decisive points for me. The Kyoto Protocol was the correct first step will be hard hit by climate change. We are already familiar with many of the
towards international climate protection. We must make sure further steps effects of climate change: more extreme weather conditions, new health
follow — in particular, a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol in 2009. risks, problems with the cultivation of agricultural products or shortages of
How great, in your view, is the threat of dangerous climate change and how
urgently does action need to be taken to combat it? In Bali we succeeded in setting up an adaptation fund for the developing
countries. It is intended to help them take preventive measures against the
I am convinced we will need to make crucial decisions very soon indeed on worst effects of climate change. The future climate protection agreement will
the course to be taken. By the middle of this century we must have reduced need to contain further financial instruments, because experts estimate that
global greenhouse gas emissions by at least half compared with the 1990 many billions of euros might be needed each year for adaptation.
level. Doing so will pay off in economic terms too. We know that investment in
sensible climate protection is worthwhile. The cost of doing nothing is greater What has Germany done to combat global warming? What more do you plan to
than the cost of investment in climate protection. But the longer we wait, the do, and how will it be achieved?
more expensive it will be.
In Germany we have cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 18 per cent
From the security aspect as well, there is a need to change our approach now. since 1990. We want to continue to play a leading role in climate protection.
The consequences of climate change become more and more of a security So on 5 December 2007 the Federal Government adopted the first part of an
problem when the repercussions become life-threatening for many people. integrated energy and climate programme. The programme is an ambitious
For instance, I am greatly worried by the danger of global migratory flows one and includes, in particular, measures to expand co-generation of heat
owing to water shortages. UNEP estimates that in 20 years’ time 1.8 billion and power and renewable energies in the electricity sector, the promotion of
people could be at risk of absolute water shortages. renewable energies for heating and measures to improve the energy efficiency
of buildings. A total of €2.6 billion is available for this in 2008. Thanks to this
What is your assessment of the outcome of the Bali negotiations? What now programme, Germany is establishing an important platform from which to
needs to be done to build on it? cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent (as compared to 1990 levels)
Bali took us a good way forward on some key issues: we have a comprehensive
negotiating mandate for a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol and What do you believe to be the chances that humanity will succeed in avoiding
a clear timetable up to 2009. All states are involved — industrial countries, dangerous climate change?
emerging economies and developing countries. Now it is a matter of taking
the negotiations forward rapidly and in a concentrated manner. Tackling climate change poses a unique challenge. We can only meet it if
all states work together. That is why climate policy also opens a window for
What are the chances of reaching a new agreement, measuring up to the scale of international cooperation. In technical and economic terms, many of the
the challenge, by the end of 2009? What elements should it contain? requirements for reducing greenhouse gases are already in place. Examples of
this include efficiency technologies such as heat insulation and energy-saving
We have a good basis from which to start, because the international bulbs, or renewable energies which are becoming more and more affordable.
community has made it clear that it is willing to face up to the challenge. Now Such innovations are already contributing to economic growth and thus to
the aim must be to decide on concrete measures to limit climate change. the creation of new jobs.
We must lay down who has to make what contribution towards reducing
greenhouse gases, towards the better spread of climate-friendly technologies, In other areas, however, there is still a great deal to be done. We must rethink
towards adapting to climate change and, not least, towards the financing of the way we produce energy and goods. We need a new way of living, with
necessary measures. new economic opportunities, which enhances our quality of life while using
up fewer resources. If we pursue the principle of sustainable development in
It is important for the success of the negotiations that all states understand both the industrial and the developing countries, then we can prevent climate
this: combating climate change contributes to sustainable development change from becoming a danger threatening life all over the world.
OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY 7
kick the habit: the un guide to climate neutrality how to go Carbon neutral: The Earth’s
A Practical guide to treading More
This new UNEP book — launched lightly upon the Earth an alarming rate.
on World Environment Day Mark Brassington
While many books
— shows how various levels of (Oxford : how To
society can work towards climate Books, May 2008)
on the expected
neutrality. Written and reviewed This book offers
by experts from many disciplines instructions on
and various countries, the book how to change
is aimed at a broad audience, your lifestyle to
of this loss,
with solutions for individuals, become more
small and large businesses, NGOs, carbon neutral,
is the first to examine the full range of potential
international organizations, cities based on the
threats that diminishing biodiversity poses to
and countries. With case studies, principle that
human health. Edited and written by two harvard
illustrations, maps and graphics every step matters
Medical School physicians, with contributions
the book is intended as a valuable — from low-energy light bulbs to electric
and reviews by more than 00 leading scientists,
reference publication and entry cars and a 50KW wind turbine. The author has
the book presents a sobering view of how
point for anyone wanting to find doggedly set about trying to make his own house
human medicines, biomedical research, the
out more about going climate neutral. A web version of the book will be launched carbon neutral, searching through many sources,
emergence and spread of infectious diseases, and
following the print publication, helping to make this guide easily accessible as well as including books and websites. having tried a
the production of food, both on land and in the
climate neutral. variety of approaches, including the more unusual
oceans, depend on biodiversity. Sustaining Life
ones such as putting vegetable oil in his car, and
was supported by UNEP, the World Conservation
ting and the possible futures he uses this broad knowledge as the basis for the
Union, the UN Development Programme and the
This children’s book, released for World Environment advice in his book. The chapters include sections
Convention on Biological Diversity.
Ting and the Possible Futures
Day, brings to life the frightening but real possibilities on heating, electricity, water, transport, food
of an out-of-control climate crisis — and the and shopping.
Earth: the Sequel: the Race to
positive and achievable steps we can all take to
Reinvent Energy and Stop global
save our climate. Ting and her friends travel to two green Building Remodeling
Ting and the Possible Futures
United Nations Environment Programme
P.O. Box 30552 Nairobi, 00100 Kenya
Tel: (254 20) 7621234
Fax: (254 20) 7623927
978-92-807-2881-1 E-mail: email@example.com
different futures using a time machine. The first
UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME
United Nations Environment Programme
future Ting explores is one of drought, submerged Fred Krupp, Miriam
Eric Corey Freed
coastal cities, and refugee shantytowns. In the second possible future, Ting sees a huge horn (W. W. Norton,
change in attitude as well as landscape because people acted in time and averted March 2008)
the worst effects of climate change. Ting sees creative sources of energy, the power of Fred Krupp, the
planting trees and urban gardens, and a transport system that relies on trains, trams, President of the
addition to the
bikes, and walking. Environmental
Defense Fund, and
series is a step-
Africa: Atlas of our changing environment journalist Miriam
by-step guide to
This 350-page atlas chronicles the dramatic environmental change taking place in horn, explore
each of Africa’s 53 countries. Through a combination of ground photographs, current breakthroughs
and historical satellite images, and narrative based on extensive scientific evidence, it in solar, wind and biomass technologies in the
Over its 36 pages, the book introduces every
illustrates the ways in which human activities impact Africa’s environment. Side-by- fight against climate change. The book offers
facet of green building and renovating, from
side displays of before-and-after satellite images show at a single glance the changes a business-centred prescription for alleviating
selecting materials to reducing energy and
wrought over time — including forest loss, urban growth, shrinking lakes and climate change, coupling the market force of
water use. It includes sections on the lifecycle
receding glaciers. The Atlas documents the changes and their causes to communicate capitalism with technological innovation and
of building materials, choosing green building
the urgency of addressing them to policy makers and the general public. entrepreneurial inventiveness. The authors argue
methods and sustainable systems, as well as
in favour of strict federal carbon caps, which
information on asbestos and lead-paint hazards
green breakthroughs would induce innovators to explore new ways to
and on how to avoid costly mistakes. Finally, it
control carbon dioxide emissions. The book notes
This booklet, distributed to Ministers and senior officials
lists 0 green things to do on every construction
the global and historical successes of cap and
at UNEP’s Governing Council in February 2008, describes
project and 0 things you can do right away in
trade mechanisms, such as the Clean Air Act of
effective policies and laws that have been used to solve
your home in order to go green. To quote the
990 — designed specifically to control sulphur
environmental problems. Regional and country success
book’s back cover, this is “The fun and easy way to
dioxide (which causes acid rain), the Clean Air
stories from around the world include energy and
plan and build your dream green home”.
Act cut emissions 30 per cent more than the law
climate change solutions, the management of various
kinds of wastes, the preservation and restoration of required by providing coal plant operators with
Sustaining life: how human health
ecosystems, and the sustainable use of biodiversity a financial incentive to modernize. The book
Depends on Biodiversity
and fisheries. The book shows how innovative policies balances science with profiles of individuals who
and laws can reduce damage, increase efficiency and Eric Chivian and Aaron Bernstein (Oxford are blending business and science in an attempt
sustainability, and ensure environmental, social and financial benefits. University Press, June 2008) to save the planet.
OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY 9
science by Wan Gang
Global climate change is not just an environmental issue but, even more
importantly, a development one. As a developing country, and a signatory to
the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, China has always taken
an active part in the global campaign on climate protection, undertaken
international obligations within its capacity and contributed to global
Protecting the environment is a time-honoured tradition, deeply embedded
in Chinese culture. The philosophy of “harmony between man and
nature” has guided the life and work of its people for thousands of years.
The advanced agricultural civilization of ancient China testifies to the
important achievements the nation has made in learning about the climate
and properly using and preserving the environment.
China has always placed climate change and other environmental issues
high on its agenda. It established a National Coordination Committee on
Climate Change as early as 1990, participated in a series of domestic and
international campaigns, and made important contributions to global
environmental protection. Since 2006, it has stepped up national efforts
as a key component of the Outline of the National Medium and Long-term
Programme for Science and Technology Development. The Eleventh
Five-Year Plan and Medium and Long-term Plan for Forestry Development
published in 2007 set the target of raising forest coverage to 20 per cent and
Outline of Science and Technology Programmes for Social Development,
23 per cent respectively by 2010 and 2020. In June 2007, the National Leading
the Outline of Science and Technology for Sustainable Development and the
Group on Climate Change, headed by Premier Wen Jiabao, was established.
Science and Technology Actions on Climate Change in 1995, 2002 and 2007
China’s National Climate Change Programme was also promulgated,
respectively, identifying the goals, tasks and supportive measures of China’s
setting the goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by
efforts to tackle climate change, save energy and reduce emissions.
20 per cent from its 2005 level by 2010, and proposing a series of national
campaigns to deal with climate change. Other efforts include publishing
Since 1991, China has been fully upgrading its ability to do basic climate
the National Assessment Report on Climate Change and the Handbook on
change research and run research and development programmes on energy
Nationwide Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction, and launching
conservation and emissions reduction — such as the National Key Science
the Public Campaign on Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction.
and Technology Programme, the High-Tech Research and Development
According to incomplete statistics, China has already introduced more than
Programme, the Basic Research Programme, the Innovation Project of the
60 regulations in this area.
Chinese Academy of Sciences and National Natural Science Foundation
projects. Policy incentives have been introduced to engage the public
Scientific advance is essential for protecting the climate and tackling climate
and the business community in nearly 1,000 climate change projects
change. China is introducing policies that set directions and programmes
(covering energy conservation, emissions reduction, low-carbon economy
that turn words into deeds. The Law on Science and Technology Progress,
and renewable energy), with a total research and development investment
enforced in 1993, legally guarantees the implementation of climate
of over RMB 20 billion. The country has taken an active part in global
change policies. The Ministry of Science and Technology promulgated the
0 OUR PLANET TOWARDS A LOW CARBON ECONOMY