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Two young climate ambassadors from New Zealand cycling 10,000 km through Europe to raise awareness about climate action were in Barcelona last month for a major event designed to galvanize climate action.

At Innovate4Climate, a climate finance and markets event in Barcelona, they learned what companies and organisations have been doing to tackle climate change and gave an interview on Facebook Live.

After visiting Barcelona in Spain (and before that Madrid and Zaragoza), the two cyclists will bike through France to Paris and then through countries including Germany, Austria and Italy. Their trip will culminate in Bonn in November when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat will host this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP 23) in the city, in conjunction with the Government of Germany and the incoming Fijian COP23 Presidency.

During their journey, they will also showcase projects related to the UN's Climate Neutral Now and Momentum for Change initiatives.

Inka and Fabian hope their project, dubbed Europe on Four Wheels, will inspire people to make a change and show how easy it is to make a difference. While they acknowledge that not everyone can cycle 10,000 kilometres, they encourage people to do small things – for example to cycle to school or to work – to do their part for climate action.

Here are the two introducing themselves:

 Support for the UN's Climate Neutral Now Initiative

The carbon emissions from flights of the cyclists to Europe from their home in New Zealand, totaling about 6 tonnes, have been offset by helping fund a project in Thailand via the UN's Climate Neutral Now initiative.

The Climate Neutral Now initiative enables individuals, companies and governments to measure their carbon footprints, reduce emissions where possible and offset the rest with UN-certified emission reductions, while at the same time investing in sustainable development projects in developing countries.

As climate ambassadors, Inka and Fabian are visiting NGOs and Climate Neutral Now participants along their route, as well as Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities. These are practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change. Momentum for Change is an initiative spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat.

So far they have cycled from Porto in Portugal to Barcelona via Madrid and Zaragoza and have given talks to school and university students along the way. They told students about all aspects of their journey so far – from a year ago when they were thinking about taking a gap year right up to their experiences cycling through Portugal and Spain. They received lots of questions about their trip, about climate change and about what action people can take in their daily lives to make a difference.

“Every single person we have met has encouraged us and been very interested in our initiative,” said Inka. “We feel like we have already made a bit of a difference by just making people think about climate change a little more.”

In Madrid, Inka and Fabian met with Gonzalo Sáenz de Miera Cárdenas, Director of Energy Prospective at the Spanish electric company Iberdrola. They spoke to him about issues surrounding climate change and learnt that Iberdrola is educating its employees on the subject through a special programme. Company staff were all very positive – and envious! - about the pair's long-distance bike journey.

At Innovate4Climate, the UNFCCC secretariat’s Niclas Svenningsen met with the two intrepid cyclists to discuss their efforts and their plans to come to Bonn.

Follow Inka and Fabian’s climate neutral journey on Instagram, Facebook or visit their blog. They are using the hashtag #Bike4Climate

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