UN climate summit to emit more CO2 than 8,200 American homes do in a year

By Michael Bastasch

This year’s United Nations climate summit will have a carbon footprint equivalent to the yearly electricity usage of more than 8,200 American households, according to the international body’s own figures.

The U.N. estimates the summit, called COP24, will emit 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide — the very greenhouse gas U.N. officials are trying to keep from accumulating in the atmosphere.

Wikimedia Commons/Infrogmation

The summit will emit as much carbon dioxide as more than 8,200 American homes. It’s also equivalent to 728 tankers trucks worth of gasoline.

Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures, that’s the equivalent of more than 11,700 cars driving for one year or 728 tanker trucks worth of gasoline. That amount of CO2 emissions is also the same as 8,243 American homes for an entire year, according to EPA.

However, that’s a low-ball estimate because it only includes the emissions from the conference itself, and not emissions associated with the thousands of people who flew to the meeting in Katowice, Poland. More than a few summit-goers, including celebrities, likely flew private jets.

When those emissions are factored in, COP24’s carbon footprint is likely much higher, according to environmental economist Richard Tol.

“[It is] probably unusually high as Katowice would require multiple stops for anyone who’s not from Europe,” Tol told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The high carbon footprint only contributes to the U.N.’s hypocritical image. Indeed, a former U.N. environment director was forced to resign in November over his extensive, costly travel while warning the world of the need to cut emissions to stem global warming.

U.N. officials spent the past few months hyping COP24 as one of the last chances humanity has to avoid catastrophic global warming. A U.N. report issued in October suggested a $27,000 per ton carbon tax might be needed by the end of the century to stem warming.

Tol also estimated COP24’s cost to top $130 million, but Tol considers that to be an underestimate because whole new facilities, basically a town, had to be built to accommodate tens of thousands of people.

“There’s 30,000 people in Katowice — 1,300 person-years. I’d put that at $130 million,” Tol said via email. “That’s an underestimate, as they build a new town.”

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend COP24, which kicked off Monday, in Poland. For 60 days, U.N. officials, diplomats, environmentalists and journalists will eat up electricity and fuel traversing thousands of square meters of temporary structures set up to house the summit.

The summit’s goal is to further the implementation of the Paris climate accord, which went into effect in 2016. British natural historian and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough kicked off the summit with dire predictions of catastrophe is nothing is done to stop global warming.

However, Attenborough, like thousands of others, no doubt emitted lots of carbon dioxide getting to Katowice, which is in the heart of Poland’s coal country.

The U.N. has long been criticized for the high carbon footprints and costs of its meetings. The U.N.’s 2015 climate summit likely resulted in 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions, mostly from associated air travel.

To deal with this hypocritical image, the U.N. has taken to offsetting the emissions from its summits by sponsoring forestry projects. For COP24, the U.N. will pay the Polish State Forests agency to plant 6 million trees.

Carbon “offsets,” however, are somewhat controversial because they allow people to pay for theoretical emissions reductions by funding green energy projects or reforestation.

The U.N. is also offering free lanyards to COP24 participants who buy offsets for non-conference-related emissions, which may include air travel based on how the U.N. calculates summit emissions.

“Many will put that on their expense account, so this is cheap virtue,” Tol said.

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Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Mac and Wikimedia Commons/Infrogmation

5 thoughts on “UN climate summit to emit more CO2 than 8,200 American homes do in a year

  1. And now you BTV mayor Whineberger calling for a carbon tax, hoping to garner other mayors to join the cause. Here you have him living in a bubble while the rest of VT withers away. Has he noticed how it’s going in France? These politicians live in fantasy land.

    Enjoy that.

    • R,
      Weinberger is a sly one.

      He is proposing a REGIONAL carbon tax.

      Almost all of New England is Democrat

      Almost all NE states would vote for a regional carbon tax.

      Bingo, Vermont has a carbon tax, and the RE folks are in the seventh heaven of subsidy lalaland.

      Vermont’s CO2 increased from 1990 to 2015, despite several $billion spent on RE

      That shows the RE programs have been ineffective, poorly designed, generous to investors while screwing the taxpayer and ratepayer

      • Correct, but you can count on the live free or die state to come to the rescue. They won’t go for it and as the black swan they will either keep the region from doing so, or take advantage of the other states stupidity. IF it wasn’t for NH taxes would be MUCH higher in VT.

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