Thursday, December 06, 2007

They did the math for me!

Tuesday's analysis of the proposal by Israeli environmentalists to reduce carbon emissions during Hannukah involved a fair amount of unit-conversion math to show that the projected emission savings wouldn't amount to a hill of beans, as they say.

Well, this Bloomberg story is more like it: all the math is done for me!
Hot Air Emitted by Climate Summit Equals 20,000 Cars

By Alex Morales and Kim Chipman

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Government officials and activists flying to Bali, Indonesia, for the United Nations meeting on climate change will cause as much pollution as 20,000 cars in a year. The total of 40,700 tons of gas created by the conference is equivalent to the annual emissions of 20,350 mid-sized cars, each traveling 12,000 kilometers, according to

The delegates each will produce an average 4.07 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, to reach the resort island 950 kilometers (600 miles) from Jakarta, according to estimates e- mailed to Bloomberg by the UN agency holding the conference.

Some of the 187 nations participating in the two-week forum promised to offset their so-called carbon footprint by planting trees or buying emission credits. The symbolic actions won't help stop global warming, some scientists say.

As P. J. O'Rourke once put it, these folks get all tangled up in their Birkenstock straps falling all over themselves to promise to "offset" the harm that the conference will cause to the climate:
Indonesia will plant 79 million trees to offset the entire conference's emissions, Emil Salim, head of the host country's delegation, told reporters yesterday in Bali. The Asian nation is investigating how to develop its tree-planting activity to ensure a lasting offset, said Amanda Katili, special assistant to Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar.

"We have to know where the trees will be planted and make sure that they grow and not be cut down until they make enough carbon stock," Katili said in an interview.

The U.K.'s 40-person team will have their emissions neutralized through a central government fund, a spokeswoman for the country's environment department said.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and three of his staff are buying so-called carbon credits, each representing a reduction of a ton of carbon dioxide, on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, commission spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich said in a telephone interview.

$132 `Out of Pocket'

"I'm paying out of my own pocket, and some individuals will also offset," said Helfferich, adding she's spending about 90 euros ($132).

The environmental group WWF International, known in the U.S. as the World Wildlife Fund, is also making sure the visit to Bali by about 80 of its workers is carbon-neutral, according to Martin Hiller, a spokesman for the group's climate change program.

"Our flight emissions are equivalent to about half an hour's emissions from a normal coal-fired power station of about 600 megawatts," Hiller said in a telephone interview from Bali. "We're offsetting all our travel with emissions credits."

Sheesh! Enough, already! At least there's somebody with a lick of sense, and whaddaya know? She's from the USA!:
The U.S. won't compensate for the emissions of its delegates because "we feel the best use of taxpayer dollars is for technology advancement, not purchasing carbon offsets," said Kristen Hellmer, a spokeswoman for the delegation.

And what will these oodles and oodles of delegates be doing at the conference aside from apologizing for their carbon footprints?
The goal of the Bali meeting is a deadline for a new international treaty to limit emissions after the current accord, called the Kyoto Protocol, expires in 2012.


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