One of the scientists at this year’s “global warming” conference in San Francisco is blasting his fellow researchers for their frequent-flying habit, which he says is heating up the planet even more.
Global conferences lead to ‘global warming’?
Over 10,000 experts attended the meeting of the American Geophysical Union, but their travel to the event released more than 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Lawrence Plug, who studies permafrost at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“The typical round-trip travel for an AGU attendee last year was almost 8,000 kilometers,” Plug said, according to the British journal Nature.
Plug and an undergraduate student estimate each expert released 0.16 kilograms of carbon dioxide for each kilometer traveled by air, making every delegate responsible for almost 1.3 tons of the so-called “greenhouse gas.”
Though just a tiny fraction of carbon-dioxide emissions from humans, each scientist’s contribution for the single meeting was said to equal one-sixteenth of the average American’s yearly emissions.
“Scientists traveling to meetings are a part of the market that drives the number of flights scheduled,” Plug said, reported Nature. “We should have more awareness than everyone else in the market. Personally, I think it makes me more culpable.”
While fellow experts agreed with Plug’s assertion, they said they’d still attend future conferences due to the invaluable nature of “face-to-face scientific exchange.”
“Maybe I’m not doing the right thing by weighing my convenience over the greater good,” said Peter Selkin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. “I think it’s a little better to drive if you have two people in a fuel-efficient car, but I don’t always have a whole day to do it.”
Ironically, Plug’s claims come on the heels of a summer report in which an international team of atmospheric scientists concluded pollution actually protects the planet from global warming.
To help mitigate the environmental damage from the air travel, Plug suggested preserving a portion of the Amazon rainforest each year. Others lobbied for “virtual conferencing,” where meetings could be held electronically, rather than in person.