Europe’s largest electric vehicle rally, which brought 75 teams from 13 nations, entered its finishing phase at Geneva, Switzerland over the weekend on the Place des Nations, part of a 1,300km traverse from Bremerhaven, Germany with a simple objective: zero emissions for 1.5 degrees.
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, recognising 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.”
1.5C car formation at the Place des Nations, Geneva
2016 WAVE Rally on the Place des Nations in front of the UN European headquarters in Geneva
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 programme 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.
Luc Barthassat, Conseiller d’état chargé du département de l’environnement, des transports et de l’agriculture
Maria Luisa Silva, Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva