Learning English - Words in the News
26 November, 2008 - Published 15:34 GMT
Vatican goes green
Solar panels being fitted on to the roof of one of the Vatican's main buildings

The Vatican is going green today. It's activating a new solar energy system to power several key buildings. Pope Benedict has already made numerous appeals for the protection of the environment. From Rome Duncan Kennedy reports:

Listen to the story

The first building to get the green go-ahead is the famous Nervi Hall, next to St Peter's Basilica, where the Pope holds general audiences. 2,400 solar panels have been fixed to its roof.

The new system will provide the energy needs of the Hall and several surrounding buildings all year round. It'll also allow the 108 acre site of the Vatican City to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by about 225 tons a year. The panels are not visible from below, and officials say the famous Vatican Cityskyline, including St Peter's, will remain untouched.

The Vatican plans to install more renewable energy sources to provide 20% of its needs by 2020, roughly in line withEuropean Union goals.

Pope Benedict is a keen environmentalist. The Vatican has hosted a scientific conference to discuss global warming and climate change. Last year the Pope urged the human race to listen to the voice of the earth or risk destroying the planet.

Duncan Kennedy, BBC News, Rome

Listen to the words

to get the green go-ahead
to receive the approval to become/turn environmentally friendly and stop causing harm to the natural surroundings

solar panels
devices that change energy from the sun into electricity

fixed to
attached to, permanently placed/positioned on

to cut
to reduce, to make smaller

carbon dioxide emissions
the production of a heavy colourless and odourless atmospheric gas, known chemically as CO2, which in large amounts can cause harm to the atmosphere

The panels are not visible
you cannot see the panels

the panoramic view of a place, especially a city, with all its buildings, bridges, domes and other structures

the same, as it is now

roughly in line with
almost the same as, not far from

a keen environmentalist
someone who is very interested in the environment and tries hard to protect it from being damaged


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