UNEP Chief to Support Greening of the Games

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), will attend the Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony as part of his organization's continuing support for the Greening of the Games.

UNEP has been working with the Beijing Olympic Committee for the last three years in order to help make the Summer Games environmentally friendly.

The Chinese government has spent US$17 billion on a large-scale green drive ahead of the Games, including a series of long-term environmental improvements for the city. As part of this, the city has introduced tougher standards for vehicle emissions and phased out ozone-depleting substances. The authorities have expanded Beijing's public transport network with three new subway lines and the introduction of some 3,800 compressed natural gas buses.

The Olympic venues themselves also have many green features: 20 percent of their energy comes from clean wind sources, solar power features prominently in the Olympic Village, and the Bird's Nest stadium has an advanced rainwater recycling system.

During his visit to the city, Steiner will see first-hand some of the environmental improvements implemented around Beijing for the Games. He will visit several of the green facilities built for the Olympics including Beijing's newly-inaugurated subway lines and the Solar Wall, 2,000 square meters of solar panels.

In the second half of 2008, UNEP will produce a Post-Games Environmental Report in order to assess the successes and challenges of the environmental measures taken by Beijing for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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