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Offsetting the Copenhagen footprint

December 2, 2009

This from a UNFCCC press release:
Offsetting the carbon footprint for Copenhagen

An estimated 15,000 people representing Governments, NGOs, IGOs, along with over 2,000 journalists will travel to Copenhagen from all over the world for the conference. The main objective of the organizers is to minimize greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible. Whatever cannot be avoided is to be offset. In addition, every delegate can make a difference by, for example, choosing the most sustainable form of international and local transport.

Greenhouse gas emissions fall into two parts: international travel, which forms by far the largest part; and secondly, local emissions of the host country covering such things as energy consumed and waste generated at the conference venue, hotel accommodation and local transportation. An initial estimate of overall emissions put the figure at 40,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Danish Government has identified sustainability as one of its top priorities for the Conference, and has publicized a number of steps:

* The Conference organizers at the Bella Center are to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 leading up to COP 15 by implementing a range of energy saving measures
* Hotel owners have been encouraged to expand the number of environmentally friendly, certified hotel rooms
* Delegates are encouraged to use the public transport system to reach the Bella Center, drink tap water to avoid bottle waste, and minimize paper waste
* There will be no gifts or conference bags for delegates. Instead, money saved has been invested in 11 scholarships for students from around the world, who will attend a fully financed two-year MA education in Denmark.

To ensure the conference will be climate neutral, the Danish Government, in partnership with the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, has decided to replace outdated brick kilns in Dhaka. The heavily polluting, existing kilns will be replaced by 20 new energy efficient ones, which the Danish Energy Agency calculates will cut more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and improve air quality in one of the world’s most polluted cities. The Danish government has set aside 0.7 million euros as part of this year’s state budget for this purpose. Details can be found here.

Well, that’s alright then.

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