Purpose Conferences are an important element of scientific activity but can also be a major cause of environmental burden. With this in mind, we analysed the global warming emissions of the 2017 annual conference of the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA), in order to estimate the carbon footprint and identify potential ways to reduce it. Methods We used survey data from participants as well as literature sources to complete an attributional assessment of the greenhouse gas emissions per participant. A method to calculate the ‘ideal’ location is proposed, which can be used to identify ‘unreasonably’ distant conference locations. Results and discussion The average emissions per participant were found to be 952 kg CO , but with a large variability due to 2eq differences in travelled distance. Connecting flights were found to increase emissions up to 32% compared to direct flights, due to the increased number of take-offs and landings. Conclusions Results indicate that future studies should use distance-dependent flight emissions to increase the accuracy of the assessment. Some measures, such as meat-free menus, had a relatively minor contribution to emission reductions, but could be important as scientists advocating for the reduction of environmental burden should lead by
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2018
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