An estimated 15,000 people representing Governments, NGOs, IGOs, along with over 2,000 journalists
will travel to Copenhagen from all over the world for the conference. The main objective of the
organisers is to minimise greenhouse gas emissions as far as possible. Whatever cannot be avoided, is
to be offset. In addition, every delegate can make a difference by, for example, choosing the most
sustainable form of international and local transport.
Greenhouse gas emissions fall into two parts: international travel, which forms by far the largest
part; and secondly, local emissions of the host country covering such things as energy consumed and
waste generated at the conference venue, hotel accommodation and local transportation. An initial
estimate of overall emissions result in a figure of 40,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide. (i)
What steps is the Danish Government taking to minimise emissions?
The Danish Government has identified sustainability as one of its top priorities for the Conference.
To this end it has publicised a number of steps:
- The Conference site (The Bella Center) is to reach a 20% reduction in CO2 leading up to COP 15 by
implementing a range of energy saving measures.
- Hotel owners have been encouraged to expand the number of environmentally friendly, certified
- Delegates are encouraged to use the public transport system to reach the Bella Center, drink tap
water to avoid bottle waste, and minimise paper waste.
- There will be no gifts or conference bags for delegates. Instead, money saved has been invested
in 11 scholarships for students from around the world attending a fully financed two years MA
education in Denmark.
How does the Danish Government plan to offset emissions?
To ensure the conference will be climate neutral, the Danish Government, in partnership with
Bangladesh and the World Bank, has decided to replace outdated brick kilns in Dhaka. It will see the
heavily polluting, existing kilns replaced by 20 new energy efficient ones, which the Danish Energy
Agency calculates will cut more than 50,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and improve air quality
in one of the world’s most polluted cities. The Danish government has set aside 0.7 million
euro as part of this year’s state budget for this purpose. Details can be found here
What about UNFCCC scretariat eissions?
The secretariat uses renewable electricity for all power supply in the premises. A sustainable travel
policy is in place, with routes and modes of travel always being taken into consideration, and the
use of video-conferences are encouraged whenever possible. Governments are expected to officially
authorize the UN Climate Change Secretariat at COP15 in Copenhagen to begin systematically offsetting
emissions from travel as of 2010.
(i) The exact figure is 40,548 tCO2-eq, which is an estimate based on the calculations from the
Poznan Conference in December 2008 (COP-14) and extrapolated for 15,000 participants. Additionally,
the radiative forcing index (RFI) for long-haul air travel used was 2.7. This estimate will be
updated after the COP once the actual participation is known.