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Decarbonizing conference travel: testing a multi-hub approach

Kremser, S., Charlton-Perez, A., Richter, J. H., Santos, J., Danzer, J. and Hölbling, S. (2024) Decarbonizing conference travel: testing a multi-hub approach. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 105 (1). E21-E31. ISSN 1520-0477

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-23-0160.1


As the global research enterprise grapples with the challenge of a low carbon future, a key challenge is the future of international conferences. An emerging initiative which combines elements of the traditional in-person and virtual conference is a multi-hub approach. Here we report on a real-world trial of a multi-hub approach, the World Climate Research Programme/Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (WCRP/SPARC) General Assembly held in Qingdao-Reading-Boulder during the last week of October 2022 with more than 400 participants. While there are other examples of conferences run in dual-hub or hybrid online and in-person formats, we are not aware of other large atmospheric science conferences held in this format. Based on travel surveys of participants, we estimate that the multi-hub approach reduced the carbon footprint from travel by between a factor of 2.3 and 4.1 times the footprint when hosting the conference in a single location. This resulted in a saving of at least 288 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) and perhaps as much as 683 tCO2eq, compared to having the conference in one location only. Feedback from participants, collected immediately after the conference, showed that the majority (85%) would again attend another conference in a similar format. There are many ways that the format of the SPARC General Assembly could have been improved, but this proof-of-concept provides an inspiration to other groups to give the multi-hub format a try.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences
ID Code:114289
Uncontrolled Keywords:Atmospheric Science
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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