Friday, November 30, 2012

Saving Resources with PaperSmart

Ironically, UN climate change conferences have been historically known to generate tons of pollution, both as an event that requires local resource consumption and heavy emissions from international travel as tens of thousands of stakeholders flood the region. COP 15 emissions reached a massive 72,374 tons of C02 as Copenhagen hosted an undeniably influential conference. Paper usage was an unquestionable contributing factor to the waste generated as environmentally conscious minds gathered to use heaps of paper outlining agendas, participant lists, and summarizing information documents. As a refreshing change of pace, COP18 in Qatar has implemented the PaperSmart initiative, which effectively reduces paper waste by an impressive 96%. The first two days of this paper conservation policy proved successful, as it’s already saved an equivalent of 90 trees! By the end of the conference, which can usually be noted by not only environmental foresight but also by a considerably negative environmental footprint, the PaperSmart program is on track to save 4,875,000 sheets of paper during the 2-week climate conference.  In a city with both the highest GDP per capita and the highest carbon footprint per capita, the insight to reduce waste and protect forest resources should be seen as a success for COP 18 and the UNFCCC future. Let’s hope this positive step to reduce the overall environmental impact of conferences continues. Kudos, Doha!

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