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      Location location location: A carbon footprint calculator for transparent travel to COP27

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            Addressing the large carbon footprint of conferences such as the UN Climate Change Convention Conference of the Parties (COP) will be important for maintaining public confidence in climate policy. Transparency is also a vital aspect of creating equitable outcomes in climate policies, as often those most likely to be affected or who are able to create change on the ground are often unable to attend in person because of the high financial costs as well as having a large carbon footprint. The selection of host locations for the regular meetings of the UN Climate Change Convention is based on a rotation in amongst the five UN regions, which for 2022 is Africa. Here, we present UCL’s own carbon footprint calculator and use it to weigh the benefits of certain modes of transport to the 2021 COP 26 in Glasgow, UK and the 2022 COP 27 to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The calculator demonstrates the well-known carbon-efficiency of coach and rail over flights, but shows that these benefits are only partly mitigated in the case of COP 27 due to insufficient transport links from Europe to the conference location. However, we also highlight some of the benefits of hosting a COP in the global South, particularly in the context of climate justice. Incorporating these principles into the calculator, we invite visitors to COP this year to carefully consider their options for carbon offsetting and how the tenets of climate justice could be integrated into the carbon accounting framework.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            8 September 2022
            [1 ] Department of Geography, North-West Wing, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
            [2 ] Department of Political Science, The School of Public Policy, University College London, The Rubin Building, 29/31 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU
            [3 ] Institute for Global Health, Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London, WC1N 1EH
            [4 ] Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7NF
            [5 ] UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0NN
            [6 ] Engineering for International Development Centre, Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 8 September 2022
            UCL Grand Challenges UCL Internal Grant

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the repository: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/climate-change/cop27-carbon-footprint-calculator
            Environmental change,Environmental management, Policy & Planning,Geography
            Climate Change,Carbon offsetting, COP,Carbon footprint,Climate,Travel, Climate Justice


            Date: 28 April 2023

            Handling Editor: Dr Stephen Blenkinsop

            Editorial decision: Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision with the following comments: 

            "Both reviewers highlight the need for a revision to the structure of the paper, particularly for a clearer articulation of the methodology, including a high-level overview e.g., a summary diagram. One reviewer also highlights some conclusions that are not supported by the main paper whilst the other reviewer makes an important point on the need for a clear articulation of why the carbon calculator presented is needed, along with some important points about the figures, particularly Figure 3. I would now like to recommend that you revise your manuscript according to the reviewers' comments."

            2023-04-28 09:46 UTC

            Date: 30 September 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr Stephen Blenkinsop

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2022-09-30 15:58 UTC

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