UN backs video conferences over flights abroad

17-07-2008

UN backs video conferences over flights abroad
A leading United Nations scientist has encouraged businesses to fly abroad less for meetings and to conduct them instead via video conferencing.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said fewer trips abroad would help to reduce carbon emissions and climate change.

His comments were made - via a video conference link - to the all party parliamentary sustainable aviation group during its event on the carbon footprint of business travel.

Dr Pachauri said he endorses video conferencing "as an important substitute for business and conference related travel in the fight against climate change".

"The transport sector contributes substantially to emissions of greenhouse gases, and in some parts of the world it represents 40 per cent of total emissions," he added.

"One important contributor to this source is the growth in civil aviation across the globe. A focused effort to shift business travel for conferences and meetings of all types to video-based communication would be of great benefit in reducing and controlling the growth of emissions from aviation."

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, chair of the sustainable aviation group, commented: "There's no doubt that the latest video conferencing technology can play a significant role in controlling and reducing the carbon footprint of business travel.

"As Dr Pachauri has said, changing behaviour is vital."

Jeff Gazzard, board member of Aviation Environment Federation (AEF), added: "The government's entire 'predict and provide' policy of unrestrained aviation growth is incompatible with our carbon reduction targets.

"And many businesses around the world are too busy flying towards a climate crisis at 500 miles per hour to even stop and think. But a calm and serious examination of the green and productivity benefits of cutting flights and using video conferencing instead is absolutely vital."

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