CN Net to Federate Zero-Emission Communities

Four countries, four cities, and five corporations have become the pioneering founders of a 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 Feb. 21 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 gases.

The Network, a Web-based project, is seeking to federate the small but growing wave of nations, local authorities, and companies that 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, "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 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 that 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 percent of its current greenhouse gases," said Steiner.

"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.

The cities that have joined the CN Net are Arendal, Norway; Rizhao, China; Vancouver, Canada and Växjö, Sweden.

The five companies that have joined the CN Net  are Co-Operative Financial Services, United Kingdom; Interface Inc., United States; Natura, Brazil; Nedbank, South Africa; and Senoko Power, Singapore.

"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 initiative," said Roy Adair, president and chief executive office of Senoko Power Ltd.

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.

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