Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

COP28’s gigantic carbon footprint as 400k attend climate change conference

At least 400,000 people, the biggest attendance on record, are expected to jet to Dubai for the two week event called COP28.

Richard Black, senior associate from green think tank Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “Given the number of people expected here, yes this probably will have the highest carbon footprint of any COP to date.

“But the size of that footprint is absolutely dwarfed by the emission cuts that a deal can produce.

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“If all the agreements made at the Glasgow summit two years ago are realised, that would save 70,000 times more carbon than the summit itself produced.”

He added: “The ball is really at the feet of the UAE – they’ve chosen to host the biggest COP in history, now they need to make it have the biggest impact of any COP in history.”

The UAE has pledged to offset emissions from the event but will not provide details of exactly how this will be done until after the conference finishes on December 12.

Gareth Redmond-King, head of international programmes at the ECIU, said: “Given the scale of COP28, it may well have a bigger carbon footprint than any previous COP.

“But COP hosts are expected to commit to minimise and sustainably offset the emissions of the summit. However, given the scale of commitments and momentum to clean transition that COPs have generated in recent years, since the Paris Agreement in 2015, it’s worth looking at the prize in comparison to the price.

“Looking at a COP where we do have the numbers, the carbon reduction commitments made in Glasgow at COP26 were some 72,000 times greater than the carbon expended in running the summit itself. With time running out to limit temperature rises to 1.5°C, that price to prize ratio is pretty good.”

A Cop28 spokesman said: “COP28 will demonstrate its sustainability ambition by delivering a carbon conscious and sustainable event. We have adopted an avoid, reduce, and replace strategy, and will offset residual emissions using high-integrity carbon credits.”

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