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6 Jun, 2008

Small Steps Are Best — World Environment Day Message

World Environment Day, commemorated on 5 June, is intended by the United Nations to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and remedial action. This year’s slogan was “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.”Events were organised to highlight events and initiatives that promote low carbon economies and life-styles, such as improved energy efficiency, alternative energy sources, forest conservation and eco-friendly consumption. The main international celebrations were held in New Zealand, with Wellington as the host city. This edition of Travel Impact Newswire makes a small contribution to the effort by reporting on just a tiny fraction of the day’s activities.

In this dispatch:















Wellington/Nairobi, 5 June 2008 – Adopting a climate-friendly lifestyle needn’t require drastic changes or major sacrifices. People in the developed world, as well as some rapidly developing countries and cities – from Manchester and Manhattan to Moscow and Mumbai – can start right away to “Kick the C02 Habit”, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) says. Some quite simple measures can more than halve the daily emissions of an individual, with even bigger cuts possible if sectors like power suppliers and automobile makers as well as aviation and appliance manufacturers contributed more to the greening of global lifestyles.

For example studies indicate that if every airline passenger reduced to below 20Kg the weight of goods and items carried, and bought what they needed on arrival at a duty-free lounge, this could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by two million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year. Other low-carbon lifestyle choices at home and when traveling include:

-Backing campaigns to encourage airlines to give free coach and rail miles instead of free air miles in order to promote switches to more environmentally-friendly forms of transport.

-Waking up with a traditional wind-up alarm clock rather than the beep of an electronic one – this can save someone almost 48 grams (g) of CO2 each day.

-Choosing to dry clothes on a washing line versus a tumble dryer – a daily carbon diet of 2.3 Kg of CO2.

-Replacing a 45-minute workout on a treadmill with a jog in a nearby park. This saves nearly 1 Kg of the main greenhouse gas.


These are the findings from two reports launched on World Environment Day by UNEP under the theme “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy”. One of the reports, a kind of Rough Guide to low carbon living, is entitled “Kick the Habit: The UN Guide to Climate Neutrality”.

The other, compiled by experts in collaboration with UNEP and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is entitled “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector”. It focuses on the challenges and opportunities facing the world’s biggest industry including those linked with flying – both long and short haul.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “Greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise across the globe with transport including aviation one of the fastest growing sources. Yet there are countless management, policy and technological opportunities for dramatically changing this trajectory through more intelligent choices by governments, industry and the global public”.

“Some of these choices are big – from smart taxes to encourage offshore wind farms as opposed to more coal-fired power stations to national policies that favour cleaner and greener forms of mobility up to ones that promote energy efficiency rather than energy consumption,” he said.

“Others are small, such as perhaps thinking about which appliances we buy, how we travel and where we source our energy. But multiplied across the world and acted upon by 6.7 billion people, the public have the power to change the future – have the power to personally and collectively influence economies to ‘Kick the CO2 Habit’,” he said.

New Zealand’s Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said: “Sustainability is at the core of New Zealand’s national identity. We take pride in our clean, green image, and we have set ambitious goals in our efforts to move toward carbon neutrality.”

Halving your carbon footprint – every little counts

The UN Guide suggests there are many small ‘no regrets’ choices that together could reduce daily emissions by someone in Australasia, Europe and North America – the major contributors to global warming historically – from say 38 Kg to 14 Kg. The suggestions, requiring little or no change in comfort, may also be relevant in part to some developing country countries, cities, sectors and people whose carbon footprint is sharply on the rise.

Just under half of personal emissions come from things under individuals’ control, such as how much we drive and fly and heat and power our homes. Of the remaining 50 per cent, about half comes indirectly from powering the places where we work, 10 per cent more from maintaining infrastructure and government and about 20 per cent during the production of goods that people buy including food.

How did you start your low carbon day? After switching off your climate neutral wind-up clock and pulling on your zero emission-dried clothes, what about brushing your teeth and having breakfast? Consider the following:

-Opting for non-electric toothbrush will avoid nearly 48 g of CO2 emissions;

-Heating bread rolls in a toaster versus an oven for 15 minutes saves nearly 170 g of CO2;

-Switching from regular 60-Watt light bulbs to energy-saving ones will produce four times less greenhouse gas emissions;

-Taking the train rather than the car for a daily office commute of as little as 8 km will save a big 1.7 Kg of CO2;

-Shutting down your computer and flat screen both during lunch break and after working hours will cut CO2 emissions generated by these appliances by one-third; and

-Investing in a water-saving shower head will not only save 10 liters of water per minute, but will also slash CO2 emissions resulting from a three-minute hot shower by half.

Green Economy Makes Economic Sense

And what about when you are at work, how energy saving is your home? Heating, cooling and lighting our homes and using household appliances uses up over ten per cent of global energy supplied.

Meanwhile buildings account for about 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions – perhaps even more – according to UNEP’s Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative.

Yet the average household in a country like the United Kingdom could save around two tonnes of CO2 annually by making its home energy-efficient by for example improving insulation, heating systems and lighting.

Try turning down the thermostat. The Guide suggests that lowering the temperature of a 90 sq m apartment by just a couple of degrees would save six per cent in energy and energy bills.

And there is the fridge. A 150-litre refrigerator with a freezer that is A++ rated emits over 130g less in CO2 than a comparable A- rated one.

The Guide says that householders to companies often underestimate the savings that can be simply and easily achieved.

In one survey of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), nearly one-quarter of those studied believed their business could save only between one and four per cent on energy bills, although the real average figure was 10 per cent.

The UK’s Carbon Trust estimates that the widespread adoption of advanced metering by British SMEs would result in annual cost savings of US$600 million and potential carbon savings of over 12 per cent.

Travel and Transport – a Rising Challenge

On the flip side, having a ‘carbon binge’ can undo a lot of good work, says the Guide. For instance, a return transatlantic flight will make you responsible for the same amount of emissions as running a car for a year.

For frequent fliers – whether jet-setting business people or bargain-hunting holidaymakers – air journeys are by far their biggest contribution to warming the planet.

Over short distances air travel produces around three times more CO2 per passenger than rail, while the industry as a whole accounts for around 2-3 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Coach or bus may be an even better option for intercity travel since some of the new high-speed rail services have an appreciable carbon footprint themselves.

The joint UNEP and UNWTO report suggests other ways in which aviation and tourism might contribute to a transition to a low carbon economy.

Apart from cuts in hand luggage and duty free allowances on board, along with the promotion of coach and rail miles over free air miles, experts propose other measures. These include:

-Encouraging tour operators to book direct flights rather than ones with detours or stopovers.

-Encouraging airlines to cooperative more closely to boost passenger load factors to 80 per cent – currently the average load factor in the European Union is 65 per cent.

-A substantial increase in air fares for business travellers to reflect the extra space they take which could be used for more passengers and thus more climate-friendly flights.

-Measures to reduce the age of the world’s airline fleet. In Sweden, the average age of a plane is just over ten years whereas in the United States one-third of the fleet is on average 25 years old. Modern airliners can reduce the emission per passenger km by up to 30 per cent.

Some airlines are already collaborating with rail companies on bonus ‘miles’, including Continental Airlines with the US train company Amtrak and Air France with tgvair, a subsidiary of the French high speed train company.

Making climate neutrality a reality

The UN Guide underlines how many companies, cities, organizations and indeed whole countries are going that extra mile by embarking on strategies to achieve even zero emission businesses, communities and economies.

A great deal of this transition to a Green Economy is being federated and empowered under the banner of UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) which was launched in February 2008. New Zealand, one of the CN Net founding participants and host of this year’s World Environment Day, aims to source 90 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and to halve per capita transport emissions by 2040 by using electric cars and biofuels.

The country is also pioneering ways of reducing emissions from livestock in an economy where half of greenhouse gases come from agriculture. During the week surrounding World Environment Day, several New Zealand companies and organizations have followed the government’s suit by joining CN Net.

The idea of climate neutrality is also catching on worldwide. The CN Net includes participants from across the developing world, such as the solar-powered Chinese city of Rizhao to the entire Central American nation of Costa Rica, which is striving to achieve climate neutrality in time for its 200 years independence celebrations in 2021. Furthermore, groups as diverse as the British football club Ipswich Town or the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse are now aiming to reduce their greenhouse has emissions and offset the rest.

The football club, for example, worked out that it produced 3,200 tonnes of CO2 every season and successfully offset this by asking supporters to make specific pledges to save energy. Credit Suisse, in turn, has been making a gradual switch to renewable power supplies in order to reduce the three-quarters of its total emissions coming from energy use to run its offices.

“It is clear that we are glimpsing a Green Economy emerging across communities and countries, across the world. Driving this transition is the sobering science on the impacts of climate change if we fail to act, but also the abundant economic opportunities if economies become more resource efficient. Companies and consumers are demanding and acting to realize change and some countries are starting to deliver it,” said Mr Steiner.

“It is now up to governments everywhere to step up to the bar and ensure that a Green Economy becomes a global, long lasting phenomenon. That level of ambition will be put to the litmus test in just 18 months when nations must agree on a new and fully formed climate convention treaty in Copenhagen in late 2009,” said Mr Steiner.

2008 WED online is at: http://www.unep.org/wed/2008/English/

To order the book ‘Kick the Habit: The UN Guide to Climate Neutrality’, go to www.earthprint.com.

The report ‘Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector’ is at http://www.unep.fr/scp/publications/pdf/DTIx1047xPA-ClimateChange.pdf



Madrid / Wellington, New Zealand 5 June 2008 – The UN World Tourism Organization has issued its 2008 Report on “Climate Change and Tourism, Responding to Global Challenges” developed in cooperation with the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report suggests ways to develop practical tools that can be used by tourism policy-makers and managers to foster the sustainable growth of the industry.

The technical part of the report analyzes the relations between tourism and climate change, the impact of climate change at destinations, the adaptation options and strategies as well as the implications for tourism demand patterns. The economic section contains the first detailed assessment ever made of GHG emissions from tourism related activities, together with an analysis of mitigation policies and measures.

According to UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman, “The report underscores the threats and the opportunities. It confirms the fact that tourism contributes some 5% of greenhouse gas – in line with its global economic impact and way below its development contribution in poor countries. It identifies institutional change directions for transport, accommodation and all tourism service providers, as well as the users – business and leisure. Last year’s Davos Declaration Process provided the broad directions for all the tourism stakeholders. Now it’s all about implementation. We will increase our collaboration within the UN family and our efforts to bring the public and private sector’s full capacity to bear on this issue. Innovation is the big opportunity.”

Lipman added, “UNWTO is pleased to announce a collaborative arrangement with ICAO, whereby UNWTO will promote application of a newly-launched ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator, a tool and guidance for calculating the carbon dioxide from air travel. The Calculator is unbiased, transparent and was vetted by the international aviation community.”

Tourism is recognised as an economic growth engine for rich and poor nations, as a force for social and cultural cohesion, as a vehicle for environmental stewardship – particularly in emerging and least developed markets. However, with some 900 million international arrivals last year and 1.6 billion forecast for 2020 the challenge is to consolidate and focus the benefits, while continuously reducing the carbon footprint.

To reduce its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intelligently and respond expeditiously to the impacts on its own operations, the travel & tourism industry will need to:

* mitigate GHG emissions from the sector, derived especially from transport and accommodation activities;

* adapt tourism businesses and destinations to changing climate conditions;

* apply existing and new technologies to improve energy efficiency; and

* secure financial resources to assist regions and countries in need.

Moreover, “Tourism – Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change” will be the theme of World Tourism Day – 27 September highlighting innovation and public/private sector collaboration. Go to http://www.unwto.org/sustainable for a summary of “Climate Change and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges”.



Indian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr Rajendra Pachauri has called on businesses worldwide to support his ‘Lighting a Million Lives (LaML)’ Campaign which strives to replace millions of kerosene lanterns with solar lanterns in villages across India. Accepting the ‘Global Business Leadership Award’ conferred by the Indian International Film Academy at a Global Business Forum in Bangkok, Dr Pachauri said it was one of the many simple ways the private sector could get involved in the battle against global warming.

He said that more than 78 million households (or roughly 390 million lives) in India lack access to electricity, causing life to come to a standstill after dusk. Inadequate lighting is an impediment to progress and development opportunities. The campaign is managed by Dr Pachauri’s Environmental Research Institute (TERI). Dr Pachauri invited like-minded corporations and other organizations to sponsor the campaign and be its patron. The sponsorship packages include the cost of solar lanterns and solar torches, capacity building and training, and campaign outreach.

Dr Pachauri accepted the award from Indian film industry icon Amitabh Bachchan. Later, Dr Pachauri and Bachchan, accompanied by Bachchan’s son Abhishek and daughter in law Aishwarya, both well known stars in their own right, planted trees in Lumpini Park, located in the heart of Bangkok.

Dr Pachauri was earlier due to have been the keynote speaker at the PATA CEO Challenge in Bangkok this past April, but pulled out, citing health reasons. However, he looked in perfectly good health at the IIFA awards ceremony, and in fact admitted to be specially making the stop in Bangkok on his way back from New Zealand. He also rued the fact that his own hectic travel could be seen as an indirect contributor to global warming, noting that it would take him seven lifetimes to neutralise the impact through carbon offset schemes.



DUBAI, 5 June 2008 – Emirates Hotels & Resorts’ 4,000 acre Australian luxury conservation resort, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, has reached its first milestone with the completion of the first of 40 villas, and the planting of the first 1,000 native trees on site. Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, visited Australia recently to inspect the site; where he met with many of the 180 workers during his visit, most of whom live in the local area.

The resort’s major tree planting programme coincides also with the completion of the phase one removal of invasive, non-indigenous flora. Replacing noxious plants and weeds with indigenous plants will stablise sensitive local river banks and erosion areas, and bolster the natural re-seeding of valuable plants that form a critical source of food, shelter and breeding locations for the wildlife on the reserve.

The project involves a comprehensive regeneration and conservation programme which will include, over time, the development of a feral-proof fence, the planting of over 10,000 native trees and the reintroduction of the native spotted-quoll, amongst other endangered and locally extinct native Australian animals.

Solar panels and rainfall water-capture tanks are being installed. The resort will ultimately have over 100 solar panels that will meet over 75% of all its hot water needs, significantly reducing the resort’s energy consumption, and therefore its resources footprint.

Emirates commenced its conservation-based tourism approach 12 years ago with the creation of the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa that forms part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR). The Reserve makes up 4.7% of Dubai’s total land area, with wildlife and habitat research programmes actively supported by Emirates, having provided almost AED 10 million to the DDCR over the past five years.

Due to open in late 2009, the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is set within the Australian Great Dividing Range, and surrounded by three National Parks which make up one of the planet’s largest proclaimed World Heritage Areas. The secluded resort will occupy just 2% of the 4,000 acres reserve.



United Arab Emirates, June 9, 2008 — Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai today presented the world’s most prestigious environment awards, the Zayed International Prize for the Environment carrying a total prize money of US$ 1 million in Dubai.

The first prize for Global leadership in environment was awarded to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway. Dr. Brundtland is a Norwegian politician, diplomat and physician and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She is a former Prime Minister of Norway and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization. She now serves as a Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

The second Zayed Prize for Scientific/ technological achievements in environment was awarded to two professors; Jane Lubchenco from the United States of America and V. Ramanathan from India.

Prof. Jane Lubchenco is a world leader in environmental sciences. She discovered fundamental ecological and evolutionary relationships among animals and plants in complex coastal systems. She has studied the effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies and how biotic and abiotic local interactions can have a strong influence on the large-scale properties of ecosystems. Her recent work has shown how coastal oceanographic features can affect local community structure and dynamics.

Prof. V. Ramanathan is among the most distinguished climatologists in the world. He identified the famous chlorofluorocarbons, stratospheric ozone and other pollutants as significant factors in the anthropogenic greenhouse effect (manmade factors leading to global warming). He also demonstrated the positive amplifying effect of water vapor absorption on global warming, the global cooling effects of clouds on climate.

The third prize for Environmental action leading to positive change in society was awarded to two Non–Governmental Organizations — Environment Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) in Senegal and Tierramérica in Latin America.

Environment Development Action in the Third World was established in the Senegal in 1972. For more than 30 years it has demonstrated success in improving the environment and people’s lives throughout the Continent of Africa. It has successfully transferred leadership through three generations of excellent leaders.

Tierramérica is a specialized information service on Environment and Development, produced by the international news agency, Inter Press Service (IPS). It is sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and The World Bank (WB). The Tierramérica Administrative Board includes the UNEP, UNDP, WB and IPS.

Founded in 1999 by Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Zayed International Prize for Environment recognises and encourages environmental achievers supporting and promoting the implementation of Agenda 21, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation for Sustainable Development, in line with the vision and philosophy of the late Shaikh Zayed.

‘The Zayed International Prize for Environment is now recognised internationally as one of the most important contributions of the UAE towards global efforts to promote sustainable development. It reflects the great concern of its leaders and people about the environmental issues at all levels,’ said Dr Mohammed Ahmed bin Fahad, Director General of Dubai Police Academy and Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Zayed Prize.

The Zayed Prize, open to both individuals and organisations, is presented every two years in three categories: Global leadership in environment (carrying a total prize $500,000); scientific/technological achievements in environment (carrying a prize purse of $300,000); and environmental action for a positive change in society (this carries a total prize purse of $200,000).



Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett on 4 June announced a $45,000 grant for the development of a national cycling training scheme, to encourage more people to choose two wheeled transportation over four. Presenting the ‘Local Government Award for Initiative to Encourage and Promote Cycling’ at the National Bicycling Achievement Awards in Canberra, Mr Garrett said the funds would be used to develop the Austcycle scheme with the support of the Bicycle Federation of Australia, the Amy Gillett Foundation and Cycling Australia.

“Choosing to ride a bike as an alternative to taking the car has the twin benefit of being good for your own health as well as good for the health of our environment. 300 grams of greenhouse gas emissions is saved, per kilometre, for every vehicle that is taken off our roads, potentially totalling an average of more than four tonnes of emissions per vehicle every year.

“However, one of the great barriers to people choosing to ride a bike is a lack of confidence and skill. This new scheme, including the development of a national training curriculum, trainer accreditation and a consistent and recognised standard of cycle training across Australia, will help address that problem and increase levels of cycling in the community.”

Mr Garrett said through programs like TravelSmart, the Government was keen to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking as an alternative to car travel and hoped this new scheme would help see more people adopt two-wheeled transportation in future.


4 June 2008 — Almost 2,000 square kms of lush tropical habitat on Cape York will be protected from today in Australia’s 25th Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) – the Kaanju Ngaachi Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers IPA. Environment Minister, Peter Garrett congratulated the community for their tireless conservation work, noting the progress made in the 15 years since the Keating Government first championed the idea of Indigenous Protected Areas. Kaanju Ngaachi’s forests are among the most diverse and unspoiled in the world and its rivers contain a remarkable abundance of freshwater fish species.

“In the next year alone the Rudd Labor Government will invest up to $660,000 to help Kaanju Ngaachi’s Aboriginal owners care for this extraordinary stretch of land. The support will create at least three Indigenous ranger jobs straight away, with more jobs to come,” Mr Garrett said. “The funding will help rangers use their knowledge and expertise to control weeds and feral animals, monitor water quality and look after fragile lagoon environments, survey and map cultural sites and train up the younger generation to care for country. This important work benefits all Australians and delivers tangible employment benefits for the people here, with spin-offs in health, education and social cohesion.”

For more information: www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/ipa or www.kaanjungaachi.com.au



Copenhagen, 5 June 2008 — VisitDenmark and the Green Meetings Industry Council have launched a new “Meeting the Future” initiative on World Environment Day aimed at consolidating the sustainability efforts being done around the world by the meetings industry.

As host nation for the next UN climate change conference (COP 15) in December 2009, VisitDenmark, the official tourism organisation of Denmark, has joined forces with the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) to unite the great efforts of Meetings Industry professionals worldwide and make meetings more sustainable in the future.

These days, the biggest challenge of the Global Meetings Industry – transportation providers, destination management corporations, agencies, hotel chains, meeting venues, trade associations etc. – is to incorporate elements of sustainability within its industry. To date, the Meetings Industry has had no single approach to ensuring this happening. Many major players are approaching the subject from different angles, but with little cohesion and/or a single point of direction.

“Meeting the Future” is an initiative developed to create a unified, integrated and cohesive global response to climate change from the meetings industry. At the Green Meetings Industry Council’s annual conference in Vancouver on 22 February 2008 – the two organisations, met up with a range of major players within the Meetings Industry and agreed to address the issues raised by VisitDenmark and create some tangible solutions to address the challenge. The key objectives will be to bring together the meetings industry leadership to discuss, create and agree a unified global response to climate change within all sectors of the meetings industry and to produce an industry positioning paper that can be presented at the UN conference.

Following the Vancouver conference, VisitDenmark appointed a “Meeting the Future” Steering committee including representatives from, amongst others, MCI, Reed Travel Exhibitions and Meeting Strategies Worldwide who have been busy preparing a 1st draft of the industry statement. The final result will be presented at the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (COP15) held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.

To ensure that “Meeting the Future” initiative truly reflects the needs of the whole Meetings Industry, the Steering Committee wishes to extend participation in this scheme to a much wider audience by inviting Meetings Industry organisations and associations worldwide for their participation and engagement. Invitations to engage in this process will be going out shortly.



Rabat: 05/06/2008 — Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), addressed the Islamic world on the occasion of the World Environment Day. He pointed out that taking up environmental challenges at all levels is a religious duty and a common moral and political responsibility. He underscored the necessity to give due attention to the quality of air, energy and the impact of climate changes through promoting joint researches and programmes; to exchange experiences on the means to control air pollution and reduce its effects by devising appropriate strategies for urban planning inspired from Islamic architecture; to provide easy access to energy for rural and urban populations; and to enhance clean and environment-friendly uses of renewable energy as well as the use of modern technologies.

Dr. Altwaijri stressed the necessity to spread education in the protection of the environment on a larger scale, and to disseminate awareness about the environment via educational and media institutions as well as places of worship. He added that education in the protection of the environment is deeply-rooted in Islamic principles as cleanliness is akin to faith and the cleanliness of the environment is part and parcel of individual cleanliness. He called upon Member States to intensify cooperation in the field of environment protection, develop creative initiatives and hold competitions.



>From Worldwatch Institute: Pope Benedict’s papacy is arguably the “greenest” ever: the Vatican aims to be the first “carbon-neutral” state, and solar panels have gone up on the city’s main auditorium. But Pope Benedict and the wider Catholic community could play a much stronger role on two major sustainability factors. Consumption and population should be raised to the level of theological and spiritual attention they deserve. Read:

<> Pope Benedict: Laying the Groundwork for a Sustainable Civilization? [http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5707]

<> Inspiring Progress: Religions’ Contributions to Sustainable Development [http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4404]



June 05, 2008 — Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India said on the occasion of World Environment Day that though India’s output of Greenhouse Gases is vastly different and far less than that of developing countries, as a responsible member of the world community, India gives high-level and focused attention to climate change. She said the harshest impact is being felt by the poorest in the world who have had hardly any share in causing this problem. Global discussions on climate change must, therefore, bear in mind that the process of burden sharing should be fair and in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

She expressed the hope that new and advanced technologies will play a key role in achieving the objective of picking right choice to reduce carbon emission. Developing countries naturally expect a robust arrangement for the transfer of technology and financial support from developed countries, she added.

The President congratulated Dr. Kamal Singh, Vice Chancellor of Sant Gadge Baba Amrawati University of Maharashtra, Mr Jagadish Babla of Uttaranchal and Dr. Amrita Patel of Gujarat, who were selected for the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar for their contribution in protecting and conserving environment. She also conveyed her good wishes to Ms. Shefalika, the Young Environmentalist of the year.

The Sant Gadge Baba Amrawati University, Maharashtra, has undertaken extensive afforestation programmes since 1986. This includes avenue plantation, agro forestry, farm forestry, timber, fodder, medicinal plants as well as beautifying parks & gardens. The afforestation programme of the University covers an area of 285.66 ha. in which six lakh plants have been planted. The University is also working on soil conservation, vermi-composting and rainwater harvesting projects.

Mr. Jagdish Babla has planted about 320,000 trees with the help of children and youth in Dehradun District’s hilly waste land since last three decades in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. He also created a dense forest in 27 acres of land in Dhoran village valley during 1984 -1988. Mr. Babla has organized camps in villages, padyatras involving children and youth, seminars, workshops, kavi sammelans and other cultural programmes and has also published various articles for creating environmental awareness among the common people.

Dr. Amrita Patel set up the National Tree Growers Co-operative Federation in 1988. She was also instrumental in setting up of the Foundation for Ecological Security in 2001. The Foundation for Ecological Security has grown to secure the co-operation of 992 villages across seven states, situated in nine locations and spread across five different agro-ecosystems in a period of five years. Altogether about 75,200 hectares of revenue wastelands and forestlands have been brought under ecologically enlightened community governance and about 33,000 hectares brought under improved vegetative cover.

These awardees received a silver trophy, a citation and Rs.5 lakhs, Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs respectively.

The Vice President of India, Mr Mohd Hamid Ansari presented the Earth Eco-Warrior Awards-2008 to eminent conservationists at a function organized by Earth Matters Foundation. He said that instead of celebrating once a year, Environment Day should be celebrated every day of the year.



Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh urged people to grow more trees and clean up towns in a message to mark World Environment Day on June 5. “Climate change is a problem for many countries, especially developing countries. It is hard for poor people, who don’t understand the effects of climate change, to adjust. Climate change may increase poverty and affect sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”

Mr Bouasone said this year has been designated National Sanitation Year in order to help make cities green and clean by encouraging people to reduce the use of plastic bags and to recycle materials whenever possible. “One million new trees will be planted each year in cities around Laos until 2020. This is government policy, along with support for improved garbage collection,” Mr Bouasone said. “By planting more trees we will help to improve people’s living conditions, increase forest cover to 70 percent of total land area by 2020, and preserve our rivers.”



MANILA, (3 June 2008) – Energy experts, policymakers, financiers, and project developers from across Asia-Pacific called for massive new investments in clean energy amid spiraling costs for oil and coal and the growing threat of climate change. More than 500 experts are meeting in Manila this week to scale up investments in clean energy solutions that enhance energy security and address global warming.

“The challenges we face today, soaring fuel and commodity prices, threats from climate change, and growing problems of poor people having limited access to energy, all point to the need to take action,” Ms. Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, said Tuesday at the opening of the three-day Asia Clean Energy Forum, which is taking place at ADB’s headquarters in Manila.

The region is estimated to need up to $6.4 trillion in new energy infrastructure by 2030 and unless there is a move away from the dependence on oil and coal, countries will continue to be vulnerable to price hikes in these commodities and will further contribute to climate change. The worldwide clean energy sector is already attracting significant investments – about $148 billion last year – but much of that is being used in Europe and other developed regions, while relatively little is reaching Asia because of a lack of supportive government policies and legislation.

Ms. Schäfer-Preuss announced at the conference that the ADB this week had already achieved its annual target of $1 billion in investments in clean energy for Asia and the Pacific, and expected to surpass it by 50% by the end of 2008.

Another focus at the energy conference is the need for a new approach in many Asian cities to urban transport. Transport patterns need to change, with greater reliance on alternatives to cars and trucks such as railways and other public transport systems. One of the key speakers at the forum was Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá and the architect of a bus rapid transit system that has revolutionized urban transport in the Colombian capital.

Visit http://www.adb.org/Documents/events/2008/ACEF/default.asp for more information on the forum.

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