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LETTER: The world isn’t concentrating on the right numbers

Carbon footprint for COP27 is an eye-rolling irony

To the Editor,

News stories seem focused on numbers these days; whether it’s election votes and costs, delegates attending far-away meetings, or soaring population figures.

The U.S. Mid-Term Elections held Nov. 8 followed months of anticipation, speculation and political campaign advertising. Non-profit organization Open Secrets tracks election spending, which reached nearly US$17-billion this year, mainly on advertising. It’s the largest total ever, and doubtlessly more spending was never tracked.

Some politicians are gleeful while others sulk, but any way you cut the mustard it seems a very expensive political process to spend such a huge amount of advertising dollars, and achieve so little for either party.

More outlandish numbers are recorded by environmental organization Carbon Brief, relating to the COP27 Climate Change Conference held in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Shiekh. It’s interesting that COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and these folks have been partying annually in some very expensive exotic locales since 1995. This year about 35,000 delegates flew in from around the globe, oblivious of huge hypocritical carbon footprints they all produce, with no expense spared for any of them. The figures are quite staggering, with 3,350 (about 10 percent of total delegates) registered as media representing 1,306 organizations.

Next year’s host is the United Arab Emirates, which registered 1,073 delegates this year, followed by perennial delegate-leader Brazil with 574, Democratic Republic of Congo with 459, Kenya with 386, Canada with 377. That’s the top five, and much more controversial information is available on the website.

While everybody will be shouting and screaming in the Sharm el-Sheikh-Shuffle there is another really significant number that they may like to ponder. The world’s population passed eight billion this month, with a billion people being added about every dozen years onto a planet that already lacks enough accessible homes, jobs, food, potable water, and other necessities of life. Maybe we should all spare a thought for those most important numbers.

Bernie Smith,