United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Around the world in 80 `Eco` days


After covering more than 25,000 kilometres across four continents, participants in the Zero Emissions Race received a warm welcome in Cancún, Mexico at the UN Climate Change Conference, having powered their way from Geneva in less than 80 days using renewable energy.

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner greeted environmentalist and adventurer Louis Palmer, the organizer of the marathon journey, saying this proved that green technologies to promote and catalyse low carbon transport, are available and reliable.

After their pit stop in Cancun, the teams from Australia, Germany and Switzerland will take to the road once more, with the electric vehicles aiming to arrive at the finishing line in Geneva by 22 January 2011.

'We have been following the Zero Emissions Race with interest and excitement since its inception. I am delighted to see that the same innovation and spirit which inspired the dreams of adventurers over 130 years ago, are still very much evidence as we cross another threshold, this time towards a resource-efficient Green Economy frontier,'said Mr Steiner.

The transport sector is responsible for approximately one quarter of all energy-related CO2 emissions, a figure set to rise to one third by 2050. Within that sector, it is estimated that in 40 years, the number of vehicles in the world will have tripled, with over 80 per cent of that growth occurring in developing countries.

Mr. Steiner added: 'There is an urgent need to find a way to reconcile legitimate aspirations for mobility and an ambitious reduction in CO2 from cars. The technology underpinning electric cars, amongst others, needs to be harnessed, and markets and industries incentivized to support production and use of this kind of clean energy.'

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