It takes a lot of energy to hold a UN climate conference — and lots more for delegates, activists, journalists and others to get there. That means a lot of carbon emissions. Reuters reports: “Despite efforts by the Danish government to reduce the conference’s carbon footprint, around 5,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be created by the summit and a further 40,500 tonnes created by attendees’ flights to Copenhagen.” According to the same report, the this is the equivalent of the amount of CO2 generated in a year by 2,300 Americans or 660,000 Ethiopians.
UPDATE: Of course it’s impossible to have a carbon-free UN conference. Some day, virtual interaction and teleconferencing might be a replacement for face-to-face negoations, but not yet. Still, by any measure, the carbon use for this conference was excessive. As the Telegraph reported, conference attendees rented over 1,200 limos, only a handful of which were hybrids or electrics. The Copenhagen airport also reported an extra 140 private jets at the peak of the conference. This exceeded the airport’s hanger capacity, so many of these planes had to fly to other regional airports to park. If convention delegates and other attendees were really interested in sending a message, much of this excess would have been avoided. […]