At least 400,000 people are expected to travel to Dubai for COP28 – nearly all of them by air – to discuss how to reduce carbon emissions. The Telegraph has more.
COP28 will have the biggest carbon footprint in the history of the annual climate summit because the UAE has invited record numbers of people, experts have said.
At least 400,000 people are expected to travel to Dubai for the two-week event, organisers claimed, the biggest attendance on record.
This includes 97,000 official delegates, more than double Cop26 in Glasgow, the previous biggest of the summits.
The Glasgow summit led to emissions that were equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of around 8,000 British residents, mostly stemming from transport to the conference itself.
“Given the number of people expected here, yes this probably will have the highest carbon footprint of any COP to date,” said Richard Black, senior associate of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think tank.
He added that the size of that footprint “is absolutely dwarfed by the emission cuts that a deal can produce” and put pressure on the UAE to deliver a good outcome.
“So the ball is really at the feet of the UAE – they’ve chosen to host the biggest Cop in history, now they need to make it have the biggest impact of any COP in history.”
Attendance at the annual summit has risen steadily in recent years, particularly as the presence of corporations and NGOs has grown.
Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, recently told The Telegraph the conference was “too big” and had become more like a trade fair.
Among this year’s attendees, Rishi Sunak, the King, Lord Cameron and US envoy John Kerry will all travel by private jet.
A spokesman for Cop28 said: “Everyone is welcome at COP28 because everyone is needed to deliver climate action.”
A sustainability report produced after last year’s COP in Egypt, during which the UAE had a record number of delegates, recommended reducing the number of accreditations.
The UN has also acknowledged the tricky optics of increasing travel to the event. In a guide for host countries titled “How to COP”, it says scrutiny has been focused on “the apparent irony of the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions generated by thousands of participants flying in from all around the globe to discuss how to reduce GHG emissions.”
It adds: “The conferences generate considerable GHG emissions. Host countries will need to take proactive steps to achieve carbon neutrality.”
The UAE has promised to offset emissions from the event, but will not provide details of exactly how this will be done until after the conclusion of the summit.
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Stop Press: King Charles gave the opening address at COP28. So much for staying out of politics. You can see details of his speech here.