Monday, December 15, 2014

The Lima climate  junket: Do as I say, not as I do

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State delivered an impassioned plea to the summit on Thursday. “It was in Rio, as far back as 1992, when I heard the secretary-general declare, 'Every bit of evidence I’ve seen persuades me that we are on a course leading to tragedy,’ he said. 'This is 2014, 22 years later, and we’re still on a course leading to tragedy’.”

Ironically, the conference has remained overtly reliant on fossil fuels, in the form of diesel generators. The talks are taking place in a vast temporary village constructed on the site of the Peruvian military headquarters.

Organisers rejected powering the village with solar panels on the grounds they were too unreliable, while efforts to hook the site up to the national grid – which is half-fed by renewable energy – failed due to technical problems.

Experts say the Lima talks will have the biggest carbon footprint of any UN conference to date at more than 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

As well as the diesel generators, the footprint has been enlarged by the jet fuel burned by the estimated 11,000 people who flew in from abroad to attend – including roughly 4,000 from non-governmental organisations – as well as the emissions from the fleet of coaches that crawl through Lima’s gridlocked streets to shuttle delegates to and from the venue.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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