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      Navigating the Climate Conferences: Comparing the Carbon Footprint of Private Jet Travel and Other Modes of Transport to COP28

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            Abstract

            The annual Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings are pivotal events for collective action to combat climate change. This year, as world leaders, government officials and observers convene in Dubai, UAE, for COP28, climate justice will be a central theme. In light of these negotiations, we present an updated version of UCL’s carbon footprint calculator to compare different modes of transport from the UK to COP28 in Dubai. Analysing private jet data from the 2022 COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, we then investigate the carbon footprint of private jet travel to COP28. The carbon footprint calculator demonstrates the carbon inefficiency of air travel compared to alternative modes of transport to COP28. As the most polluting form of transport, the carbon footprint of private jets is disproportionately high. We find that for a journey from London to Dubai, private jet travel is 9 times more polluting than a commercial flight, 35 times more than train transport and 52 times more than coach travel. Given the primary objective of COP conferences to discuss and negotiate climate change policies and actions, the use of private jets by prominent individuals undermines the core mission of these discussions. The research calls for transparency, accountability and informed choices in travel decisions to align with climate change commitments. Additionally, we explore the significance of the chosen COP venue in promoting equity, the associated carbon footprint and the influence of the hosting nation on negotiations.

            Content

            Author and article information

            Journal
            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            16 October 2023
            Affiliations
            [1 ] Department of Geography, North-West Wing, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK;
            [2 ] Department of Political Science, The School of Public Policy, University College London, The Rubin Building, 29/31 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU, UK;
            [3 ] Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, University College London, 11-20 Shropshire House, Capper Street, WC1E 6JA, UK;
            [4 ] Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T7NF, UK;
            [5 ] Engineering for International Development Centre, Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, University College London, 1–19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 7HB, UK;
            Author notes
            Author information
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1131-8263
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4635-1944
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9867-8033
            https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9957-3463
            https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4886-0061
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4711-9389
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8657-6734
            https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1086-4190
            Article
            10.14324/111.444/000218.v1
            cf4d9d3c-42b8-4b31-a945-74f890001da2

            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.

            History
            : 16 October 2023
            Categories

            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the repository: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/climate-change/cop28/cop28-carbon-footprint-calculator
            Environmental change,Environmental management, Policy & Planning,Geography
            Carbon footprint,Climate change,COP,Private jet,Transport,Environmental policy and practice,Environmental justice and inequality/inequity

            Comments

            Date: 24 October 2023

            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.

            2023-10-24 09:13 UTC
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