PARIS - Today I am feeling a little greener. I've just offset the greenhouse gas emissions I produced while flying to the Paris climate talks from Singapore. My money went to an environmentally friendly project in Chile.
The French government has tried to make this landmark gathering, which aims to finally seal a global climate change agreement, as green as possible.
Hybrid buses ferry thousands of people each day to the venue and the government has handed out free travel passes on the Paris train and bus networks for the next two weeks.
Small electric buses take people to some of the more remote parts of the vast conference venue that normally hosts the Paris Airshow. And for those who dislike buses, there is a fleet of 200 electric cars that pick people up from hotels in central Paris.
UN climate conferences are normally pretty unfriendly to the environment. Thousands of people including country delegations, the media and non-governmental organisations fly in each year, and the cost and energy in providing lighting, heating or cooling and food is high.
The French government estimated the Paris venue would generate 21,000 tonnes of emissions during the construction and running of the two-week conference, as well as providing transport for the estimated 40,000 participants.
Those emissions have been offset, the government says, using carbon credits from UN-vetted green energy projects in poorer nations.
I bought six credits, equivalent to six tonnes of emissions, from a pig manure treatment project in Chile that treats pig poo and burns off the methane produced. It also treats waste water from the pig slurry. It cost me US$14.40 (S$20) in total via https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/
But you can choose from many different projects, such as wind farms in India to small hydropower plants in Brazil and elsewhere.
And you don't have to attend a big UN climate conference just to offset your emissions. There are plenty of green projects out there selling carbon offsets under the UN's emissions reduction scheme for as little as US$1 a tonne.
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