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“Virtualization” will reduce carbon emissions by 425 tonnes at international conferences and increase LMIC attendance.

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Switching to virtual conferences could have a significant impact on carbon dioxide emissions at major scientific events and significantly increase attendance in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study published in. Lancet Planetary Health..


The study, led by the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine, is the annual ANH (Agriculture, Nutrition, Health), a well-known international food and agriculture conference that alternates between locations in Asia and Africa. I researched the data of Academy Week. The COVID-19 pandemic required the conference to be moved online for 2020 and 2021.

The team found that moving the event online in 2021 would reduce travel-related emissions to zero and double the number of attendees compared to the repeat of previous face-to-face events. did. Importantly, this has also been transformed into an increase in attendance from a wider geographic extent at virtual events. Middle income country..

The average number of unique LMICs represented between 2016 and 2019 was 23, Online conference In 2020, participants gathered from 46 unique LMICs.

When the conference was held in India in 2019, air travel emissions were equivalent to 1.2 tonnes of CO.2 Per participant, this is more than 60% of the 1.9 tonnes that the average person produces in India in a year. Aviation-related CO at the 2020 online event2 It was zero.

This survey looked at data collected on a regular basis at each meeting, such as participant satisfaction surveys and attendance of representatives at meetings. Social event.. CO estimate2 Generated by International flights Calculated using Atmosfair’s online calculation tool.

The authors say their work emphasizes the environmental burden of academic air travel and demonstrates the planet’s health and social benefits of moving large-scale international events to a virtual setting. increase. However, keep in mind that there are trade-offs in the online format when delegating participation in social events and networking.

Joe Yates of LSHTM, who led the study, said:

“cut in Carbon emissions What is shown here is tough, and that it is possible to make significant changes to the carbon dioxide emissions of scientific conferences by going online while increasing the overall attendance of the world. is showing.

“This may seem like a’benefit to both sides’, but while switching to virtual eliminates the burden and impact of many people’s air travel, thus increasing attendance, the virtual environment It is important to note that not all fairness issues can be overcome. For example, at the 2020 conference, all-day internet outages were seen in both Ethiopia and Malawi, but participation in connections and social opportunities was significantly reduced.

“These issues must be actively considered by the conference organizers in order to achieve the goals of equitable scientific exchange in a global program like ours.”

The author acknowledges the limitations of research, including the fact that the data used were originally collected for the purpose. meeting Management, not research. In feedback surveys, post-online event responses are lower than direct responses, and these data should be treated with caution.


Virtual meetings are environmentally friendly and more comprehensive


For more information:
Can virtual events achieve the benefits of climate, participation and satisfaction? Comparative evidence from the Five International Agricultural, Nutrition and Health Academy Week Conferences, Lancet Planetary Health, www.thelancet.com/journals/lan… (21) 00355-7 / fulltext

Quote: “Virtualization” will reduce carbon emissions by 425 tonnes and increase LMIC attendance at international conferences (February 9, 2022). -emissions.html

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“Virtualization” will reduce carbon emissions by 425 tonnes at international conferences and increase LMIC attendance.

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