Wednesday, 2 December 2009

How Green are Our Copenhagen Delegates?

I see that Prince Charles is to 'attend' the Copenhagen conference on Climate Change. I say attend, he has been invited to make an address during the opening of the conference, in total he will be in the Danish capital for all of four hours.

Which asks the question how will he be getting to conference? Is this a flying visit in both the literal and figurative senses? Indeed how will anyone be getting there? Obviously some of the long haul delegates will have to fly, but with High Speed Rail links across Europe surely the Europeans should be making every effort to get there by using less CO2 and letting the train take the strain?

That is just what George Lyon Scotland's Lib Dem MEP and Simon Hughes representing the party at UK level are doing. Of the 38 UK delegates 19 of the 38 have so far confirmed that they will be flying. Why? Simon Hughes says his train ticket cost him £398, the cost so far claimed for travel with not all travel costs claimed by the delegation is £17,500 averaging £420. So no only is it costing the planet more in CO2 it is costing the taxpayer more as well.

Indeed it is estimated that the total CO2 cost of the conference will come to 41,000 tons, approximately the annual emissions of Morocco. Surely we should expect more of our own delegation. Indeed Eurostar give advise on how to get to Copenhagen by train. It is no more arduous that some trips made by Scottish MPs on a weekly basis for work. Yet somehow when we have a chance to do something practical as well as merely talking about it half our delegation at least are not looking into greener options.

As an aside I know that Prince Charles does his best to carbon offset his travel emissions, but how many of the other delegates will be doing so?

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