The Greening of a Carbon Neutral Conference
United Nations Conference Climate Change: The Greening of a Carbon Neutral Conference
In keeping with the Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainable development, it will ensure the United Nations Climate Change Conference will be a carbon neutral event. The Government of Canada is also taking steps to reduce the environmental impacts of the conference.
A Carbon Neutral Conference is an extension of a green meeting, which allows organizers to offset greenhouse gases (GHGs) resulting from a meeting which cannot be reduced through other means. Conference generated emissions are based on each participant’s long distance and local travel, as well as local accommodation and the conference venue. Using numbers from previous United Nations Climate Change Conferences, it is estimated that event attendance and accommodations will generate approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.
Emission reduction credits will be used to offset the GHG emissions generated in transporting delegates from 189 countries to this conference and hosting them for two weeks. These emission reduction credits will be taken off the market and retired on behalf of the United Nations Climate Change Conf marc jacobs erence.
In order to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference as a carbon neutral event, the Government of Canada will be working with the to retire approximately 10,000 tonnes of certified emission reduction credits from Canadian generated wind power. The wind power credits are in the form of Green Tags from the EcoLogo Program by TerraChoice and are being issued by Vision Quest, Canada’s largest producer of wind power. The Government of Canada is also taking steps to reduce the environmental impacts of the conference.
The Government of Canada is also working on going beyond carbon neutral by including the donation of offset credits from organizations such as the Hydro Quebec Partnership and the EXCEL Partnership.
Pursuant to the April 2005 Climate Change Plan, the Government is currently develop marc jacobs ing a domestic offset system in Canada that will issue government approved credits for qualifying emission reductions and carbon storage. Consultations on proposed qualifying rules were held in September, the rules will be finalized in the near future, and it is planned to have the system operational and in a position to receive applications from project developers early in 2006.
For similar events in the future, therefore, the Government of Canada will purchase domestic credits that have been issued through Canada’s domestic offset system. For international credits, only Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) verified credits will be purchased once available.
By hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference as a carbon neutral event, the Government of Canada is hoping to lead by example in the area of climate change mitigation, as well as helping to set a precedent for future international meetings. This is a leadership initiative and as such the Government of Canada will not be using any of these offset credits towards its Kyoto target. The Government of Canada is also committed to ensuring that all other United Nations Climate Change Conference related meetings held this year will be carbon neutral.
Carbon neutral conferencing has been supported by Environment Canada since 2002 and is an important component of greening government operations. In total, Environment Canada has purchased approximately 3,700 tonnes of carbon offsets for domestic and international events, including the last three Canadian COP delegations.
There are various environmental impacts associated with any large conference; therefore the Government of Canada is working to reduce the impacts associated with the United Nations Climate Chang marc jacobs e Conference through the adoption of a Green Meeting Strategy. The implementation of a green meeting strategy helps an organization ensure that a pollution prevention perspective is adopted from the outset when planning and executing an event.
The Government of Canada has been working to reduce waste, provide adequate recycling facilities, encourage energy conservation and provide sustainable transportation options for delegates during CoP 11/MoP 1. We have been working with the management of facilities including various hotels in Montreal, the Palais des congrs, the Guy Favreau Complex, the Montral Airport and others to encourage and in some cases assist them in greening their operations. This includes providing appropriate recycling facilities, encouraging energy conservation, minimizing waste and communicating to delegates to follow such guidelines.
Some specific green initiatives that have been implemented for the United Nations Climate Change Conference include:
Various measures have been put in place to encourage sustainable transportation options for delegates including: vehicles for official use are gas/electric hybrids and vehicles that run on 85 per cent ethanol. We will also be fuelling all gasoline vehicles with low level blended ethanol and all diesel vehicles with B5 biodiesel. anti idling, etc.)
The Montral airport, many hotels hosting delegates, the Biosphere and other COP venues have an anti idling policy to ensure that any taxis or other vehicles turn off their engines when at the venues.
Transit Passes for public transportation will be made available to both delegates and volunteers on demand.
The Palais des congrs will have 30 multi capture recycling centers set up as well as 500 blue bins for paper.
Excess food from operations at the Palais des congrs will be sent to local food shelters.
Consideration has been given to significantly reduce the amount of paper information included in the delegate kit bags, handed out to every delegate.
All paper handed out to delegates will be printed on at least 30 per cent recycled content paper.
Fair Trade coffee is available to delegates in the Cool Canada Caf and other locations within the Palais des congrs.
Wind powered computer certificates have been purchased through the to offset the electricity used to power the computers within the Palais des congrs and laptops used by delegates. This information will be made available to media and delegates.
Most hotels within the Montral area hosting COP delegates have been contacted with suggestions on how to help green their hotel.
A Green Meeting Guide and Carbon Neutral Conference Guide have been developed and will be shared with those delegates interested in hosting a green, carbon neutral meeting at future events.
The International Youth Summit at the Biosphere has an extensive greening plan, including: green catering requirements, such as bulk, local and organic food, that is mostly vegetarian and served in reusable containers has been negotiated and included in contracts and leftover food is donated to shelters or marc jacobs composted at the Biosphere. Recycling will be available in every room.
Though large events can present a significant challenge in order to reduce the amount of environmental impacts, the Government of Canada has been working with many cooperative organizations within the City of Montral to assist this effort. Ensuring that environment impacts are reduced from CoP 11 / MoP 1 presents an opportunity for the Government of Canada to display its commitment to climate change, and our own Kyoto commitments. Through the hosting of this conference, we hope to create a lasting impression on all delegates and set an example of the actions that Canada is taking to address climate change.