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COP26 may be the ‘highest emitting United Nations environmental summit so far’


Delegates at COP26. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

According to estimates from professional services firm Arup, the COP26 climate summit held in Glasgow, U.K. over the last two weeks will emit “about 102,500 tons of carbon dioxide,” or the “equivalent of total average annual emissions for more than 8,000 U.K. residents,” CNBC reports. In fact, this year’s conference is expected to have a carbon footprint roughly double that of the global summit in 2019.

Even with the “reusable coffee cups, the low-flush loos, the paperless draft documents,” and the “locally-sourced vegetarian haggis,” writes The Washington Post, COP26 may be the “highest emitting United Nations environmental summit so far.”

A majority of emissions — 60 percent — are projected to come from international flights, though other “large contributors include accommodations, policing for the event and transportation to and from venues,” per CNBC.

Of course, it’s “hard to see” how so many delegates could have arrived in the U.K. by a method other than air travel, notes the Post, but … “there’s always coach.” Notably, U.K Prime Minster Boris Johnson caught some flack after returning the 400 miles to London from Glasgow via charterted Airbus A321 jet.

Also important to note when considering emissions is that this year’s COP was bigger than before, with almost “40,000 registered participants, including delegates, observers and media,” writes the Post. The British government, who hosted the conference, said that, for the first time, emissions were calculated as including not just the conference site, but a space across the river for “civil society events.” To offset emissions, the Brits are said to be purchasing carbon credits.

The final emissions tally will not be known until later. Read more at The Washington Post.

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