This week begins #COP21, the United Nations Climate Change “Conference of Parties,” destined to save us all from death by a thousand sunburns. Or possibly melted ice caps. Or more solid ice caps. Or snow. Or possibly no snow. Or something. They’ll figure it out and then they’ll tell you what to fear. No worries.
Anyway, this weekend, 150 separate world leaders flew in from all corners of the globe to attend the conference, which aims to keep global warming at “under 2 degress Celsius,” a significant feat considering that the Earth has, according to the same body, warmed 0.85 degrees since 1880, and also because the planet travels around a very large, superheated body that is continually evolving and changing throughout its life cycle, thus affecting weather patterns and climate temperature on Earth. Later this week, around 20,000 individual delegates from 195 countries will arrive in Paris for the talks, by train, plane, car, bus and bike, burning over 300,000 tons of CO2, their primary ozone-depleting concern, by the end of the week.
“Those people will arrive on trains, cars, but mostly airplanes. When flown at full capacity (and the airline industry being what it is, and the Paris meetings being what they are, there’s little reason to think the planes will be anything but packed), a Boeing 747 (a happy medium between private jets and bullet trains) gets about 16.5 miles per gallon of jet fuel. Between 50,000 attendees, that’s about 27 million gallons of the stuff.
When burned, every one of those 27 million gallons of jet fuel releases about 21 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Added up, all those planes flying to the Paris climate talks will release about 575 million pounds of CO2.”
That’s not counting the thousands of press, aides, bystanders and protesters set to take to Paris streets this week (as well as all the hot air they’ll release). And that’s just for the proletariat. The hoi polloi, including the 150 world leaders arriving today, will travel in style compared to regular conference attendees, comandeering fleets of limos, and tons of un-sustainabily-farmed French food, much as they did several years ago at the same conference in Copenhagen in 2009, when they demanded more than a thousand limos and wedges of caviar from a bevvy of endangered species, lest their environmental consciousness be required to go without adequate sustenance during their stay. And if January’s World Economic Forum is any indication, these same leaders will have significantly upped their game in the last six years; so many private jets arrived there for a “Climate Change discussion” that Zurich had to divert hundreds to surrounding airports.
The good news is, the Paris conference is being held at the Paris Le Bourget airport, of one of the world’s largest private jet airports, which you think would have been shut down by now if carbon emissions were really the kind of imminent concern the conference portrays them as (as the blogger points out). According to the website for Paris Le Bourget airport, the facility also boasts luxury rental cars for all those not immediately met by their limousine, none of which appear to be electric-only. But you needen’t worry about whether your chosen climate dignitary will miss the stretch: the #COP21 conference itself has already splashed out 151 million Euro “transport and renting and furnishing the conference venue.”
The “future of the planet is at stake!” But, of course, not at stake enough to curb gratuitous carbon consumption by the global elite. Just enough for the same to gather in one place to share their commitment to knowing what’s best for poor people.