Every Picture Tells a Story: It Takes a Lot of CO2 to Run a Climate Summit

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Nov 15, 2021
The recent international climate summit involved 40,000 individuals coming to Glasgow from around the world. The Brits have calculated the carbon footprint of the meeting on carbon footprints.
Courtesy of geralt on Pixabay

A few highlights:

  • 102,500 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents were produced by the conference.
  • The 12-day conference used 2.6 tons of CO2 per participant, one-tenth the annual carbon footprint of an American. To be fair, when annualized, those COP (Conference of the Parties) participants used three times as much as we do.

  • The British government will purchase carbon credits to offset the excess CO2. But as the Washington Post reports, how much they pay will not be said, “which goes against the pledge that certification of carbon neutrality be as transparent as possible.”
  • Offsets pay for climate improvement programs such as hydropower or improved cookstove fuels in India. Per ton, credits range from $3 for renewable energy projects to $10 for “nature-based solutions.” For the mathematically curious, it is estimated that carbon offsets will cost about $20 per participant, and again per the Washington Post, “Considering that a mediocre hotel in Glasgow was asking $300 or $400 a night, it seems like a steal.”
  • Air travel was the primary source of excess CO2. As reported, Leonardo DiCaprio sacrificed and flew commercial to the conference. Accommodations were the second greatest source of CO2.
  • Organizers said that a portion of the excess CO2 was due to counting carbon dioxide emissions from the “Green Zone” set up for social and educational events associated with the COP26. You can find a list of what you missed here.


Source: COP26 in Glasgow may have a record carbon footprint, despite low-flush loos and veggie haggis Washington Post


Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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