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12 Nov, 2021 13:58

COP26 climate change summit sets unexpected ecological record

COP26 climate change summit sets unexpected ecological record

A report commissioned for the UK government has shown that the COP26 meeting held in Glasgow has been twice as polluting as the previous climate summit, COP25, which was staged in Madrid.

The carbon footprint for the UN COP26 is expected to reach the equivalent of 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to an initial assessment report for the UK government. The figure is roughly equivalent to the amount of C02 emitted by 10,000 British households annually.    

The document, compiled by sustainability consultant Arup, notes that some 60% of the emissions are related to international air travel of some 39,000 delegates who have taken part in the environmental crisis talks. Other major sources of pollution are cited as accommodation for the delegates, ferrying of guests to and from the summit, and venue catering. 

The report authors add that COP26 is the largest summit held in the UK to date and the figures on carbon emission will provide an important measure to inform wider activities within the Carbon Management Plan. 

The last UN climate change summit in Madrid welcomed some 27,000 people and produced some 51,101 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Data suggest the COP summits have been gradually getting more polluting, with the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen producing around 26,000.  

The British government has said it will undertake projects within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to offset emissions. 

A number of critics have bemoaned the use of gas-guzzling luxury vehicles to ferry delegates back and forth to the conference venue. Others have labelled world leaders hypocritical for flying to Glasgow for the summit; some, it is understood, had come directly from the G20 meeting in Rome.

The BBC was told by aviation analytics company Cirium that some 76 flights involving private jets, or VIP flights, arrived at Glasgow and nearby airfields in the four days running up to the summit.

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