Sunday, November 25, 2007

UN Climate Change Hypocrisy

Does all the talk about golbal warming and carbon foot prints put yu flying to your ideal holiday destination? Do you think about changing you behavious to "save the planet" because all those serious people tell you to?

Hat tip to Climate Skeptic for pointing out this story in The Razor et al

You may be aware that a lot of the claims about climate change and its consequences are driven by the UN and it is sponsoring a 2 week conference on the subject of Climate Change from Dec 3rd to 14th the Bali Convention Centre Check it out; it’s a fairly impressive place. By now you might be thinking this is a long way to go and after a little more thought you might also start idly wondering about the carbon footprint of this gig. After all that’s what is quoted to make us feel that we have to change our ways, especially if those ways include flying off on our holidays.

The Razor gives an interesting perspective on the Climate Change conference and its carbon footprint - to save you some time I will paraphrase the findings.

The UN is based in New York and the conference is being held in Bali, which means that the delegates are going to have to fly there. How many delegates will that be you might wonder? Well, obviously an important conference such as this requires a lot of very earnest people to discuss ways of save us and I’m sure all 10,000 will have a very important role. (No, that’s not a typo it really is Ten Thousand). Now you can see why the need such a big resort as Bali as it has a huge convention centre.

The Razor makes a few guestimations of where these people will be travelling from as, obviously, they aren’t all flying from New York and comes up with this assumption which I use later in the post:

• 4,000 participants from New York - that’s where UN headquarters is.
• 1,000 from Los Angeles - for press, Hollywood UN groupies, and UN personnel stationed at west coast consulates.
• 3,000 from Rome - for European NGO, UN and official contingents
• 1,000 from Hong Kong - that will cover participants and press from Japan, China and SE Asia
• 1,000 from Delhi - which will cover South Asia, the Middle East and Africa

Applying these assumptions he the uses this wonderful site to calculate the carbon footprint of the delegates’ flights. If you want to check out his numbers don’t forget all these important delegates get to fly business class so they can arrive fresh and ready to sort out this important subject. But to save you time I will give you another, simpler, overview:

I am going to make some broad assumptions to illustrate a point - the distance between NY and Bali is about 16,500 km, and assuming the delegates fly by jumbo jet with 100% occupancy, a return flight for one person results in:

• c.1,400kg of fuel being burned, which causes
• c.4,400 kg of CO2 to be produced, with a warming affect of
• c.13,200 kg of CO2 Equivalent

Or put even simpler, the return flight of one delegate from New York to is the equivalent of burning 36 x 60W bulbs continuously for 1 year. For all the delegates and using the assumptions above the carbon foot print comes out at an equivalent of c.378,000 x 60W light bulbs burning continuously for 1 year.

Now, let’s say an English family of 4 go on holiday to Cyprus, about mid way between European and International holiday destinations, on our same inefficient Jumbo. They will have the equivalent carbon footprint of 70 x 60W light bulbs glowing for a year. This means our family of four could have about 5,400 family holidays on Cyprus for the same carbon footprint as the UN climate change delegates.

As this lady says ( ): “I'll believe it's a crisis when the people who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis.” Although she is a lot politer and restrained than me.

You might also want to check out what this lady has to say on the subject as well.

And don’t forget we haven’t considered the carbon footprint from all the air conditioning, flying in the extra food and cars being used to transport the delegate round the sites.

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