The COP26 conference set a record for CO2 emissions, with air travel the main culprit

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  • According to a report by professional services firm Arup, the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, UK this year is projected to have a carbon footprint that is almost double that of the previous global summit in 2019.
  • According to estimates, the two-week COP26 summit, which ends on Friday, will emit around 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of the total average annual emissions for Britain’s more than 8,000 residents.
  • About 60% of the summit’s emissions are estimated to come from international flights, while other large contributors include accommodation, event policing and transportation to and from the venues.

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The United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, UK this year is projected to have a carbon footprint that is almost double that of the previous global summit in 2019, according to a report By Arup, a professional services firm based in London.

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The two-week COP26 climate summit, which ends on Friday, will emit around 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to the total average annual emissions for more than 8,000 UK residents.

About 60% of the summit’s emissions are estimated to come from international flights, while other large contributors include housing for delegates and participants, policing and security for the event, transportation to and from venues, and local energy, water and waste management.

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The event is the most carbon-intensive UN climate conference ever held. The 2019 COP25 in Madrid, by comparison, emitted an estimated 51,101 tonnes of carbon dioxide and the 2015 COP21 in Paris emitted an estimated 43,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

World leaders made several climate pledges throughout the summit, including phasing out coal, cutting methane emissions and ending deforestation. Still, environmental activists have accused government ministers and corporations of so-called greenwashing and argued that commitments are not enough to address the scale of the climate crisis.

“The meeting in Glasgow is not considered a demonstration of a sustainable lifestyle, and should not be judged in those terms,” ​​Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said in a statement.

“But aviation’s huge failure to reach any meaningful agreement on how to limit carbon emissions – at a conference where 60% of their emissions came from aviation, backed by media outrage over elite private jet hypocrisy — really highlights the lack of equity in these negotiations,” Parr said.

The British government has vowed to deliver a climate-neutral conference and said it would implement a carbon offsetting strategy, including buying carbon credits and funding projects to replace electricity generated through fossil fuels with renewable energy.

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