U.N. building to cut air conditioning

July 30, 2008 at 8:20 AM
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NEW YORK, July 30 (UPI) -- The U.N. headquarters in New York will be warming up as part of an initiative to battle climate change, U.N. officials say.

Under a directive from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, air conditioning in the 50-year-old, glass-walled Secretariat will be dialed down in a nod toward environmentalism, and in return, suit-and-tie requirements will be jettisoned in favor of national dress, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.

The landmark, 39-story building on New York's East River is notorious for its draftiness and Ban, who calls himself the "environmental secretary-general," has instituted an "in-house climate change initiative" to save energy costs. Called Cool U.N., the initiative will result in the building becoming 5 degrees warmer and the air conditioning being turned off on weekends.

"The secretary-general is doing everything he can to mobilize unprecedented international action on climate change," Robert Orr, an adviser to Ban, told the Times. "Successful negotiations are necessary, but individual and institutional behavior must also change all over the world if we are to address the climate crisis, and the secretary-general felt that this was one way the U.N. could lead by example."

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