The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is contributing to a plan by the Chinese authorities to make the Beijing Olympics environmentally friendly, with the opening of the Games little more than a week away. The UNDP is providing four electric buses for use during the Games, which will be part of a fleet of 50 that will ferry athletes between the Olympic Village and the sports venues. “Apart from helping to achieve low-carbon approaches to Olympic venue operation, we seek to use the Olympics as a platform for raising awareness of the general public on the options for sustainable public transport in China,” Subinay Nandy, UNDP Country Director, said. The transport sector in China, which relies almost entirely on oil, is projected to account for a large part of the country’s demand for oil over the next 20 years and will be the source of much of the nation’s emissions. According to official statistics, it is predicted that by 2010 the percentage of emissions from large cities will represent 64 per cent of total emissions in China. UNDP says that moving to low-carbon urban transport is therefore a key challenge for both domestic energy security and global climate change. The electric buses to be used during the Games will be the first running on an advanced lithium ion electric battery which, when compared to other batteries, are smaller and can run longer with repetitive use. Each bus can carry 80 passengers and reach 80 kilometres per hour. With batteries fully charged, the buses can travel 130 kilometres without recharging. Following the two weeks of the Olympics, the four buses will join the general public transport system of Beijing. 31 July 2008The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is contributing to a plan by the Chinese authorities to make the Beijing Olympics environmentally friendly, with the opening of the Games little more than a week away.