Towards quantifying CO2 emissions from EPH conference travel

R. Fehr, D. Zeegers Paget, O.C.L. Mekel, N. Bos

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractAcademic


Aviation is accountable for significant emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Factors determining emissions include, e.g., trip distance, aircraft fuel efficiency, cabin class, atmospheric conditions, and stopovers. Approaches to estimate the carbon footprint are available, e.g., as carbon emissions calculators, offered by carbon offset providers.
Goal: To estimate the amount of CO2 emissions associated with EPH conference air travel, for fostering awareness among EPH conference attendees.
Based on EPH attendees’ empirical distribution of countries of origin for the 2017 Stockholm and 2018 Ljubljana conference, rough estimates of travel distances, CO2 emissions, and potential carbon offset costs were produced. In the absence of attendees’ detailed travel information, simplifying assumptions had to be made, e.g. on air vs. ground travel, place of departure, and stopovers. In approach A, using two different offset calculators, we look at a given “sample” country which provided a large fraction of foreign participants in both 2017 and 2018, then try to extrapolate to participants at large. In approach B, we use a rough approximation of total distance travelled by all participants, and an average emission value per distance unit.

In approach A, expectedly, the emission estimates provided by the two different calculators and the associated price tags for offsetting were rather similar, whereas the overall approach B created lower estimates of CO2 emissions. In summary, the conference air travel was estimated to emit 650-930 tons CO2, with the cost for setoff being roughly € 20.000. In a typical case, the conference air travel CO2 emission of a person (foreign to the conference country) was estimated as being 580 kg. For comparison: to bring climate change to a halt, the total annual CO2 emission per person needs to be below 600 kg.
While estimates should be improved, a major task lies in promoting CO2 emission reduction and mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue numberSupplement_4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


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