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United Nations faces a sweaty August

Cue the "hot air" jokes.

The United Nations plans to go casual for the month of August in a bid to cut back on electricity use. The idea, inspired by a similar initiative in Japan called "Cool Biz," is that you can turn down the air conditioning when everybody isn't wearing wool and stuffy ties:

The campaign calls for raising the thermostats in most parts of the U.N. Secretariat building from 22.2 C to 25 C [77] and from 21.1 C to 23.9 C [75 F] in the world body's conference rooms.

The initiative would save some 2 million tons of steam during the month of August, or the equivalent of 300 tons of carbon dioxide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, [a U.N. spokesman] said.

I love this quip from David Malone, a former Canadian ambassador:

If the rise in the temperature could cut back on the interminable negotiations running late into the evening for often disappointing results, then the outcome of the initiative would be a very good one."

If it works, the U.N. plans to ask its employees to bundle up in the winter. Now if they can just take care of that smoking problem...

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