Source: unic.org

5 October - In the run up to next month's major climate change conference in Cancún, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will release one case study daily for 30 days to prove that solutions to combat global warming – ranging from planting trees to creating mass markets for solar water heaters – are available, accessible and replicable.

Known as “30 Ways in 30 Days,” the scheme was launched today in Mexico City at a summit co-hosted by UNEP, the UN Global Compact, and the non-governmental organizations World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Global Initiatives.

“Across the globe, community-based programmes and entrepreneurial endeavour are challenging the status quo through innovation and creativity,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Such programmes deliver a variety of benefits such as public health improvements, reduced environmental impacts, and speeding up the shift to low-carbon, green growth, he added.

“The challenge now is to accelerate and scale-up these worldwide transitions,” Mr. Steiner stressed.

Under the Copenhagen Accord reached last December, commitments and pledges were made on emissions up to 2020, but these are widely seen to be insufficient to meet the 2 degree warming limit.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found that to stave off the worst effects of climate change, industrialized countries must slash emissions by 25 to 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, and that global emissions must be halved by 2050.

The first case study from the “30 Ways in 30 Days” scheme is “Solar Loans for Solar Homes.”

More than 60 per cent of Indian households have no access to reliable electricity and depend on kerosene for light and on burning dung and wood for heat.

UNEP's Indian Solar Programme worked with two of the country's largest banking groups in 2003 to provide low-interest loans for household photovoltaic systems, which convert solar radiation into electricity.

The award-winning programme reimbursed banks for the difference between their normal lending rates and influenced national policy, with the Indian Government sidelining its capital subsidy approach to solar power in favour of interest subsidies.

Yesterday, the top UN climate change official called on nations to accelerate efforts to find common ground to reach a concrete outcome in Cancún.

“Governments have restored their own trust in the process, but they must ensure that the rest of the world believes in a future of ever-increasing government commitment to combat climate change,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Some 3,000 participants from more than 170 countries are in Tianjin, China, for a negotiating session which began yesterday ahead of the next conference of parties in Cancún kicking off on 29 November.

“Governments need to agree on what is doable in Cancún and how it will be achievable in a politically-balanced manner,” Ms. Figueres stressed.