Australians to highlight carbon neutrality on national day – UN

23 January 2009

For some of Australia’s best-known cities, companies and organizations that are part of a United Nations low-carbon initiative, this year’s Australia Day will be celebrated, not by barbecues or beach parties, but by going ‘green.’

Australian cities, public campaigns, corporations and others have taken on the challenge of lowering carbon emissions by joining the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) which seeks to spur global action to achieve climate neutrality.

“Combating climate change is the challenge of this generation,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director. “But it is also perhaps one of the greatest opportunities for transforming economies, triggering innovation, sparking human creativity and generating jobs now and in the future.”

Australian CN Net participants include the cities of Sydney and Brisbane, as well as a music festival and a carbon management company.

In 2007, Sydney, the largest in the country, became Australia’s first carbon neutral local government, implementing such initiatives as energy-efficient street lighting and creating a network of bicycle paths.

Brisbane, the nation’s third most populous city, is seeking to become carbon neutral by 2026, through such schemes as promoting the use of solar hot water systems and pioneering Australia’s first public bicycle hire scheme.

In a related development, Japan, a key UN partner in tackling environmental issues, successfully launched a satellite today to monitor greenhouse gases from space.

The satellite, known as IBUKI in Japanese, is the first to observe the gases. Using a high-precision sensor, it can measure the concentration of gases throughout almost the earth’s entire surface, including areas where data has never been collected.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) signed an agreement with the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) to collaborate on issues such as disaster risk reduction and the environment.

 

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