Tips for flying to the Copenhagen climate conference
Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / Grist
So you’re going to Copenhagen to help save the planet. Splendid! This December the city will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where international delegates will negotiate a post-Kyoto Protocol global climate plan. That’s the hope, anyway. Earlier we posted some tips and ideas for finding lodging the in Danish capital, but what about getting there?
Jet travel emits a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide, of course. And for non-European attendees, it’s pretty much the only option. So what’s a delegate/activist/NGO rep/journalist/gadfly to do?
Erik Nelson of environmental travel site Better World Club offered this insider tip: You pretty much have to fly. But! If you have the time, ships might be a low-impact alternative. See The Cruise People LTD for leads on both cruise and commercial ships. Even Nelson, whose site is sort of a green AAA, hadn’t heard of many folks doing this. But it’s possible.
For everyone else, the trip likely involves an arrival at Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup (CPH), the city’s main airport and Scandinavia’s busiest. The city is also well-connected to the rest of continental Europe by rail, if you find it more convenient to fly elsewhere.
Better World Club has its own flight-finder, powered by Orbitz, that makes it easy to buy carbon offsets when you book. It’s also got a carbon calculator to estimate the impact of flights, though finding the actual impact isn’t simple. For those (understandably) wary about the legitimacy of carbon offsets, check out this Grist guide to offsets.
And if you’re hell-bent against flying, a few other possibilities:
- Beg a ride from an oil tanker, like these stranded climate activists.
- Capture the eco-promises of politicians and ride a hot-air balloon. Zing!
- Take heart that the U.S. Department of Transportation plans to spend $865 million on modernizing air navigation and upping efficiency.
- When you’ve finally arrived, rent a bike. Or stay at a hotel that includes a bicycle with your room.