Greens Want Funds to Offset Summit Greenhouse Emissions

by William Yeatman on August 20, 2002

Several observers have noted the hypocrisy of tens of thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, and environmental activists traveling from all parts of the globe to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, where they will huff and puff about the evils of emitting carbon dioxide. In response, summiteers have come up with a plan to offset the carbon emissions that will result from the conference.

Conference organizers claim that the 290,000 tons (by some estimates) of carbon dioxide that will be produced as a result of the conference can be offset through some sort of compensation fund. Mary Metcalfe, of the Department for Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Land Affairs of South Africas Gauteng Province, announced, “We are measuring the carbon dioxide emissions of the summit. These emissions will be offset through investments in carbon reducing sustainable projects across South Africa. I urge all delegates to take responsibility for their own CO2 emissions. It is one small step towards a sustainable climate and will be an important contribution to innovative alternate energy projects in South Africa.”

According to Metcalfe, “Companies, individuals, and governments can sponsor this offset by making donations to a dedicated trust fund and, in so doing on this world stage, make one of the most important commitments in modern history to a sustainable future. There is a web site where delegates can calculate how much CO2 their trip will generate and offset it. Ten dollars will offset one metric tonne of CO2 emitted by the summit” (Electricity Daily, August 20, 2002). The summit begins in Johannesburg on August 26 and ends on September 4.

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