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Climate talks run into carbon conundrum

The world climate forum is using every trick in the green book to reduce its own contribution to global warming.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2007 14:05 IST

Bicycles, a solar taxi, recycled garbage and even tie-less meetings to help reduce air-conditioning costs -- you name it, the world climate forum is using every trick in the green book to reduce its own contribution to global warming.

But even these and other thoughtful tricks to scale back greenhouse gas emissions will not help the December 3-14 marathon on climate change avoid a horrible fact: it's going to generate carbon. Lots of it.

According to the organisers, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali will result in an average "carbon footprint" of 4.7 tonnes per person of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas.

If 10,000 delegates, campaigners and journalists attend the conference, the footprint will be around 47,000 tonnes of CO2, including travel to and from the event and activities during it.

Using an online calculator on the websites of (www.Carboncalculator.Co.Uk) and (www.Atmosfair.De), that works out to the equivalent emissions from driving 100,000 cars up to 3,300 kilometres each.

The figure is very big, mainly because of the use of fossil-fuel-thirsty air travel to haul participants from distant North America and Europe.

Then there is the voracious energy cost of cooling the sprawling conference facilities - clustered in several hotels in the town of Nusa Dua - to filter out Bali's sultry tropical heat.