Street art trolls Paris climate conference as report says event itself to emit ‘300,000 tons of CO2’

Over 600 ‘Brandalism’ art installations have called out sponsors of the UN conference on climate change in Paris, accusing companies and politicians of being part of the problem. Reports estimate the summit will create up to 300,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Paris has been swept up in an environmental street art protest organized by the Brandalism project, with 80 artists from 19 countries participating.


It comes as France is hosting a global climate change summit, with as many as 150 world leaders arriving for the 21st session of World Climate Change Conference (COP21), which opened in Paris on Monday.

READ MORE: Climate change summit: World leaders gather in Paris to mull over global risks & challenges 

A lot of the art is in the form of billboards spread across the city. The point is to reveal how various sponsors donate money to the conference to improve their public image, but refuse to offer any solutions.


One example is a fake ad for Volkswagen that reads: “We’re sorry that we got caught,” referring to the auto maker’s recent emissions scandal. 

READ MORE: Paris on high alert as 150 world leaders arrive for UN climate change summit

Another calls out AirFrance: “Tackling climate change? Of course not. We’re an airline. We’re sponsoring the UN climate conference so we look like we’re part of the solution and to make sure our profits aren’t affected.”


Other art installations question the conference itself, stating: “Profit first, environment second,” “New & improved green wash – for cleaning up dirty profits,” “Same bull**it, different conference.”


According to Brandalism, the goal of the campaign is to expose the hypocrisy of the conference, which gives big firms the opportunity to sponsor the Paris talks while still continuing to negatively affect the environment via greenhouse gas emissions.

“By sponsoring the climate talks, major polluters such as Air France and GDF-Suez-Engie can promote themselves as part of the solution – when actually they are part of the problem,” Joe Elan from Brandalism said in a press release.


“We are taking their spaces back because we want to challenge the role advertising plays in promoting unsustainable consumerism,” Elan added. “Because the advertising industry force feeds our desires for products created from fossil fuels, they are intimately connected to causing climate change. As is the case with the Climate talks and their corporate sponsored events, outdoor advertising ensures that those with the most amount of money are able to ensure that their voices get heard above all else.”


Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition this summer also showcased a lot of the Brandalism pieces.  

‘300,000 tons of CO2’: COP21’s price for environment?

The climate conference has also been attacked for not being green enough. Reports by Wired and revealed that the UN climate conference itself will be responsible for emitting 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as an estimated 50,000 people make their way to Paris via planes, cars, and trains from various corners of the world.


The calculations estimate that the average distance per attendee will be about 9,000 miles round trip to Paris and back. It further assumes the consumption of a Boeing 747 into the equation, which is said to be a “happy medium between private jets and bullet trains.”

In this case, reports state that 27 million gallons of fuel will be used by travelers attending the talks. After taking all of that into account, and assuming that each gallon of fuel produces around 21 pounds of carbon dioxide, the total emitted by planes flying to and from Paris is projected to be around 575 million pounds (290,000 tons).


The conference, where participants try to come up with most effective plan for handling climate change, has been held annually since 1992. This year’s summit will last 12 days – from November 30 to December 11.

COP21 participants are expected to sign an agreement on practical ways of dealing with global warming by the end of the conference.

US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin were among those who delivered their speeches on Monday.

READ MORE: Russia’s efforts slowed down global warming for year – Putin