As I sit in my house with my thermostat set at 68 degrees to save energy, I scroll through a bunch of web pages concerning the climate change conference, COP21, taking place now through Dec. 11 in Paris, France.
Since there will be more than 50,000 people travelling an average of 9,000 miles each from 195 countries worldwide, I wondered what the climate impact of all that travel would be, since, ironically, the conference is designed to come up with ideas on how to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.
Apparently I’m one of the few that sees the irony. However, I did come up with a couple of stories, one in the New York Daily News and another on the Wired website, that shows that all that travel will add a considerable amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Daily News estimates that total will be about 300,000 tons, while Wired sets that figure at 290,000 tons.
To put it in a different light, let’s just look at the carbon footprint of President Barack Obama’s jet trip. According to the Daily Caller website as reported in the Daily News, Air Force One consumed about 19,275 gallons of jet fuel, each of which puts 21 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, or 189 tons. This is about the same amount of combined emissions from 31 U.S. homes in a year.
So now you are thinking, here is where I go into a rant about how this is a wasteful, fanciful bit of travel that will, in the end, not produce anything but hot air.
While it would be easy to write that, so easy really since none of the past meetings that have been taking place since 1992 have produced anything meaningful, I’m hopeful that this time will be different.
You must remember that the amount of extra carbon dioxide produced by this conference amounts to only about 22 seconds of what is produced worldwide annually, which is about 80 quadrillion tons. If the conference produces an agreement that can keep the globe from warming by only 2 degrees by 2040 (we hit 1 degree warmer than historical standards this year), that 22 seconds will be meaningless.
There still are those who swear blaming humans for climate warming is ludicrous, but I’ve long been convinced by study after study that it is more than just a correlation and that we need to work in cooperation with all the other emitters to make a difference.
After all, who do you want to believe concerning a scientific topic? Scientists who have a history of putting men on the moon or decoding DNA, or politicians who, well I’ve said enough.
Opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Andy Rapp, Q-TV, Delta College, or PBS.