The 12-day UN climate change summit in Peru has generated more carbon dioxide than an entire African country. The talks, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, generated more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2, as more than 12,500 politicians, green activists, diplomats and journalists jetted in to Lima.
The emissions give these talks the largest ever carbon footprint for a United Nations climate summit, and is greater than the emissions produced whole countries such as Malawi, Fiji, Sierra Leone or Barbados over the same period.
The UN made the admission as delegates struggled to negotiate any meaningful, binding measures to reduce carbon emissions. Although talks were supposed to finish Friday, they are expected to run into the weekend as the nations fail to reach agreement on crucial measures.
Jorge Alvarez, coordinator for the UN Development Programme, said the carbon emissions were so high because plans to run the summit on green energy did not work out. The conference has instead been powered by diesel generators.
Britain has sent a team of 45 negotiators to the summit, including Energy Secretary Ed Davey and officials from three government departments.
The whole conference venue has also been constructed from scratch, with temporary structures being built on fields to size of 11 football pitches. Although Japan had promised to donate 121 electric and hybrid cars for delegates, they were nowhere to be seen. Instead, 300 buses were used to transport delegates.
In fact, thanks to the emissions from setting up and running the venue, the thousands of flights to the summit make up only 30 percent of the estimated total.
Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Forum told the Mail: “UN climate meetings are the most lucrative and most attractive perks for the tens of thousands of green bureaucrats and climate activists who are travelling around the world while telling others to curtail their carbon footprint.
“It’s a wandering circus of champagne greens to the most outstanding beauty spots and most luxurious hotels on earth.”