<a href="https://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/jumpycrawl#">Postcards from Copenhagen</a>

Postcards from Copenhagen

John Pickrell, on the ground at the Copenhagen Conference

Making Copenhagen carbon neutral

Cop15 plenary

More than 15,000 negotiators, observers and press have descended on Copenhagen to attend the UN summit, and all the emissions associated with them have to be offset.

Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

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According to a survey published this week, Copenhagen is Europe's greenest large city - a fact that is evidenced by the large proportion of people here that use bicycles to get around (despite the cold and wet climate) and the clean waters of the harbour.

Their environmental record is a fact Danes pride themselves on, and as such, have gone to considerable efforts to make the COP15 Climate Change Conference carbon neutral. This is no easy task to accomplish, however, with 15,000 delegates flying into town from all over the world and eating through resources at the sprawling Bella Centre venue.

In fact it’s estimated that the whole conference will generate around 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, much of it from aircraft emissions. The Danish government has put up US$1 million to offset these emissions by replacing heavily polluting brick kilns in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The project will see these kilns swapped for 20 new energy efficient versions that will use 50% less coal and save around 100,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, while also significantly improving the air quality of Dhaka. See a video about the project that you can download here on the site of the Danish Energy Agency.

For the people of Dhaka, it will also mean a noticeable reduction in the amount of toxic particulate matter in the air. "As it is, pollution from the existing brickworks is clearly visible," says Connie Hedegaard Danish Minister for the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

"Bangladesh is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change, and there’s an enormous need to help the country with technology and capital transfers. This climate project is one way to help," she says. "It will [also] ensure that the Climate Conference in Copenhagen becomes carbon neutral."

In addition to the carbon offsetting, two thirds of the food at the Bella Centre is organic, plastic bottles are banned and free bicycles have been laid on for the use of delegates. Attendees are also being encouraged to use public transport, print in black and white, recycle, wash their hands with cold water, switch their computers off instead of leaving them on standby and to choose vegetarian dishes over meat ones.

One thing that has concerned G are the vast numbers of printed documents, pamphlets and press releases that seem to be stacked on every surface in the venue... but I guess you can’t have everything.