The United Nations has decided to help save the world from global warming by increasing the temperature in its headquarters by five degrees – from a comfortable 72 to a toasty 77.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to save energy, cut CO2 emissions and alleviate climate change with his new “In-House Climate Change Initiative,” the Washington Times reports. The plan calls for a month-long experiment called “Cool U.N.” that will permit testing of energy use and utility expenses in the outdated U.N. headquarters in New York.

The idea could elicit a heated response from 4,500 staff members who work between 39 stories of glass walls – in a building that receives full sun on the East River.

“It will be like Addis Ababa,” one staff member who appreciates air conditioning told the Times. “The air conditioning didn’t work too well there, either.”

Former U.N. ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury called the “Cool U.N.” plan “tokenism.” He said the extra warmth might help diplomats have empathy for less fortunate parts of the world.

“Some of us grow up in a natural environment,” Chowdhury said of his humid home in Bangladesh. “We do not have the benefits of air conditioning. It is important to understand the realities of living in various parts of the world.”

Ki-moon is telling diplomats to wear national garments so they will feel more comfortable, and he says he will do the same. Suit jackets and ties will be optional, the secretary-general’s office said.

“Look for a cool, calm, casual S.G.,” said an e-mail from his office.

The headquarters’ air conditioning will be turned off on weekends, which could mean staffers can expect steamy Mondays in the hot month of August. Ban Ki-moon’s office said the secretary-general is doing his best to mobilize action on climate change.


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