Elites from from 196 nations created a giant carbon footprint on Monday to negotiate ways of combating global climate change.
Roughly 22,000 official and 33,000 unofficial attendees at the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, contributed “300,000 Tons of CO2” released into the air while in transit.
The technology magazine Wired teamed up with ClimateParis.org and carbon-Price.com on Monday to calculate the environmental cost of travel to the summit, which was attended by world leaders like President Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
“I come here personally as the leader of world’s biggest economy and second biggest emitter to say that America not only acknowledges its role in climate change but embraces doing something about it,” Obama said in his opening remarks. “One of the enemies we will be fighting at this conference is cynicism. The notion we cannot do anything about climate change. … Let’s show businesses and investors that the global economy is on a firm path to a low carbon future.”
“Never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few. The world is looking to you,” added U.N. climate chief Christina Figueres, USA Today reported.
Wired calculated that Obama and most of the other 55,000 attendees at Monday’s climate change conference burned 27 million gallons of jet fuel in total. The average person traveled 9,000 to be there.
“The marquee goal of Paris/COP21 is to keep average global temperatures from rising 2˚C. Or at least, it was. It’s pretty clear that currently, the combined commitments from the involved countries fall short of that,” the magazine concluded.
Diplomats will spend the next two weeks trying to find agreement on how to cut roughly 80 quadrillion pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere each year. The conference ends Dec. 11.