The world's smallest state aims to become the first net zero emitter. (photo via Wikipedia)
This week, the Vatican did its part to make the move to renewable energy, as workers began installing the first of 2,400 solar panels on the roof of the papal audience hall in Vatican City. The Vatican's new solar roof, reportedly worth nearly $1.5 million, should need only minimal maintenance for the next 25 years.
Last year, the Vatican announced its intention to become the world's first carbon-neutral state. "Those who destroy the environment are also big sinners", says Italian Cardinal Deacon Renato Raffaele Martino. "It's a big insult to God."
A Green Pope?
Benedict XVI has proven to be a surprisingly environmentally-aware Pontiff, calling for action against climate change and even suggesting that polluting be considered a major sin. A year ago, the Vatican announced the creation of the "Vatican Climate Forest," a carbon-offset project in Hungary which would purportedly absorb as much carbon dioxide as the Vatican emits.
Green-Collar Business Lends a Hand
Both the solar panels and the carbon-offset forest are the result of partnerships between the Vatican and green businesses, and both were given to the Vatican as donations. The solar panels were donated by a German company called SolarWorld.
According to MSNBC, SolarWorld's CEO decided to give the photovoltaic cells as a gift to the German-born Pope Benedict. The Hungarian forest was the first project of Klimafa, whose parent company is Planktos International.