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Dickinson to Durban » Climate Change » 58,250 Meal Later…

58,250 Meal Later…


My curiosity as to the “aftermath” of the conference is still peaked. After we spent (a few Dickinson undergraduate students in the grand size of the conference!) two weeks and I look back at the number of paper coffee cups I went through to stay caffeinated, I can’t imagine the total paper and plastic waste from this conference. I understand that a huge component of hosting the COP at the ICC in durban was the center’s planned “Green Programme,” which would effectively make the event carbon neutral. This ambitious goal from the start had me skeptical, even when I was in attendance at the conference seeing the huge garbage bins fill up day in and day out.

I found the article “Durban ICC Delivers a Top Quality COP17 / CMP7 Conference Experience” posted in the ICC website dated December 13. In it, several statistic about the consumption of services and goods peaked my interest and shed light on how much was utilized, but also how much was not consumed. Here I picked out a few interesting stats:

~8,600 kilograms of chicken legs eaten

~2,200 kG of beef consumed

~40,000 beverages drunk

~2,520 meeting over the two week event (that means a lot of paper handouts for those meetings!!)

On the other hand……”Statistics in this regard reveal that by avoiding waste disposal to landfill sites, a carbon emission saving of 40, 751-kilograms of Carbon Dioxide was achieved. Recycled material from the conference totaled 32, 030-kilograms.” Obviously, not all of the recyclable materials were in reality recycled, but these numbers look somewhat promising. If a carbon inventory of the conference were to occur today, over one month from its finish, I still would be lead to believe that this event was carbon neutral. Do I believe that the conference center worked hard to minimize the waste that they could? Yes, although I still think this event was resource heavy.

So from a purely human consumption and sustainability standpoint, the UNFCCC should be be making increasingly and farther reaching efforts to look at material usage during the next conference! Options could include greater numbers of vegetarian dishes made available to the delegates, as well as elimination of paper coffee cups and paper water cups, which frequently littered the halls. After all, if we can’t reduce our waste more considerably at a

Stacks of Paper Consumed while World Leaders are debating REDD policy? Irony, no?

, then where is this ideal waste minimization model to come from??–CMP7-Conference-Experience.aspx

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