Some Thoughts on Climate Change Conferences

By hipydeus & Mariana Barrosa

The 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference ended on the 9th of December. 25 000 delegates from 200 nations came together in Durban to discuss climate change and try to get some papers signed and to save the world, or so they said. They even had a cool slogan: “Working Together – Saving Tomorrow Today”. But did they? Did they work together? Did they save our tomorrow?

  Credit: Wikipedia

Unfortunately no important papers seem to have been signed and certainly they didn’t save the world. Not yet, but they say they will try again in 2020. Maybe.

For such a big event with such little results, the price our poor planet paid was quite high. We just have to take a look at the reports on the carbon footprint of the previous climate change summits, which had less participants that this one, to know. You would think that people apparently so concerned about the well-being of our planet would have learned by now. But no! No Sir, let’s do an even bigger thing this time!

  Credit: Reuters

Let’s see the numbers for the Copenhagen conference, in 2009.

The total cost of the conference is estimated at just around € 150 million. CO2 emissions during the conference, where 16,500 participants met (well below the 25000 from this year), were about 46,000 tons. To make the picture clearer in your head, that much C02 would fill up 10,000 Olympic swimming pools. You get it now?

For these emissions we take into account accommodation, local transport, electricity and heating of the conference center, paper, security, transport of goods and services as well as energy used by computers, kitchens, photocopiers and printers inside the conference center.

But the biggest part is caused by the flights to and from the conference by the thousands of attendees. And lets not forget the 1200 limousines and 140 private planes that were used.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa, it is estimated that the Durban summit will emit approximately 76.919 tons of CO2 equivalent to the atmosphere. Wow, that’s even more swimming pools than in 2009!

  Credit: Wikipedia

My point is: do we really need to get all this people in one place for a conference? Do we need to spend all this money? Is it really worth it?

How many trees could we replant with that money, how many rivers could we clean, how many clean energy projects could we support, how many people could we feed? For me that would be a much better result than the promise of an agreement in 2020. But that’s just me.

  Credit: Wikipedia

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