European Electric Vehicle Rally in Geneva “Stamps” 1.5 Degrees at UN Gates

European Electric Vehicle Rally in Geneva “Stamps” 1.5 Degrees at UN Gates

PRESS RELEASE
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  • Cars form giant ‘1.5’ to support the goal of the 2015 United Nations Paris Agreement to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees
  • Emissions avoided by each rally car highlights need for market incentives to price carbon and promote more low-emissions electric mobility
Geneva – 17 June, 2016: Europe’s largest electric vehicle rally, bringing 75 teams from 13 nations, entered its finishing phase at Geneva today on the Place des Nations, part of a 1,300km traverse from Bremerhaven, Germany with a simple objective: zero emissions for 1.5 degrees.
European Electric Car Rally Finishing Phase at United Nations for 1.5 Degrees Europe’s largest electric vehicle rally passes through Geneva as a part of its finishing phases in Switzerland on the Place des Nations on 17 June 2016, after travelling 1,300km from Bremerhaven, Germany. There will be an opportunity for an aerial photograph of the more than 70 teams of electric cars participating in the rally in the formation of 1.5 degrees Celsius (hashtag: #1o5C), the goal of limiting global warming at the centre of the new United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change. The 1.5 degrees symbol will be formed on the Place des Nations, in front of the United Nations at Geneva. Organisers will be facilitating access to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) building for the purpose of the aerial photograph. In addition, a 4.5m x 4.5m black cube will be installed on the Place des Nations symbolising the emission avoided by each car participating in the rally. The occasion will be marked by statements from United Nations representatives, representatives from the electric vehicle rally (World Advanced Vehicle Expedition), and of the State of Geneva.
2016 WAVE Rally on the Place des Nations in front of the UN European headquarters, Geneva; image: UN/Pierre Virot (June 2016) CC
Michael Moller, Director-General of United Nations Office at Geneva said the world’s leaders agreed to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change, he said: “And I expect that parking so many electric cars in the formation of ‘1.5’ at the gates of the UN in Geneva will help to remind the world of this commitment.”
Louis Palmer, founder of the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) and UNEP Champion of the Earth said the WAVE rally is the advance ripple of a gathering tide that is transforming the world’s automobile industry. “There is no reason why every car cannot already be electric, zero emissions and renewably powered,” he said. “Electric vehicles are here, they are here to stay, they are fun, attractive and the obvious choice. They are the future.”
Elayne Whyte, the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United Nations representing the Climate Vulnerable Forum, said the Paris Agreement has the greatest potential for improving the enjoyment of fundamental human rights. “Keeping warming to a minimum–to below 1.5 degrees–won’t simply deliver safety and prosperity, it will also deliver justice,” she said, commenting that in Costa Rica “we are making efforts for the reduction of emissions in critical sectors such as transport, our Government is implementing economic and fiscal incentives, such the program for the purchase of efficient vehicles (PAVE) which are part of the Project Law of incentives and promotion for electric transportation.”
Philippe Ramet of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations, said an agenda of solutions emerged from the climate change negotiations in Paris. “What we have here today is a clear demonstration of real action the was inspired by the Paris Agreement.”
Wolfgang Jamann, Secretary-General and CEO of CARE International, a partner of the #1o5C campaign, highlighted its work with the poorest and most vulnerable communities that are also the hardest hit by climate change impacts. “The 1.5 degrees limit is a Paris Agreement message of hope, and we call on governments to urgently translate that hope into action for a future free of poverty and harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
Wael Hmaidan, Director of Climate Action Network International, a group of some 900 civil society organizations said the world was changing fast, including the transportation sector. “The fossil fuel car will soon be obsolete, as the numbers of the electric car exponentially increase,” he said “the world needs to be running on 100% renewable electric transportation before 2050, if we want to protect vulnerable communities from impacts of climate change.”
Amid the electric cars, a black cube represented the carbon emissions that would have entered the atmosphere from each car during the two days of the rally had the vehicles not been electric.
Cleantech21, a sustainability-focused Swiss foundation participated in the event. Cleantech21 CEO Nick Beglinger said when there is no price on carbon, market distortions will result and the 1.5 target will not be reached. “Leading economists and businesses understand that putting a price on carbon as part of the national regulatory frameworks of Paris Agreement signatory nations will be both the most efficient and the most market-friendly way to seriously address climate change.”
Several organizations partnered to organize the public campaign: The World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE), both the UN Environment and Development Programmes (UNEP and UNDP), the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty (WACAP) CARE International, the Climate Action Network (CAN), and the Cleantech21 Foundation.
Photo caption: 1o5C car formation at the Place des Nations, Geneva (June 2016); Source: CVF/UNDP; Photo Licence: CC

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