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Top UN climate scientist tells business to fly less, use video conferencing more and help fight climate change!

Press Release

Thursday 17th July 2008

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN IPCC, challenges UK businesses to change behaviour – a message endorsed by influential Westminster politicians and environment groups.This Thursday July 17th sees the influential All-party Parliamentary Sustainable Aviation Group host a Westminster event entitled, “Is your journey really necessary?”, explaining and promoting the role that video conferencing technology can play in reducing the carbon footprint of business travel.

Appearing live by video conference link, keynote speaker Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will say:

“The transport sector contributes substantially to emissions of greenhouse gases, and in some parts of the world it represents 40% of total emissions. One important contributor to this source is the growth in civil aviation across the globe. A focused effort to shift business travel for conferences and meetings of all types to video-based communication would be of great benefit in reducing and controlling the growth of emissions from aviation.

I, therefore, endorse the concept and practice of video conferencing as an important substitute for business and conference related travel in the fight against climate change.”

Thursday’s event at UK MP’s high-tech Portcullis House, Westminster, offices will feature:

  • All-party Parliamentary Sustainable Aviation Group ‘Is your journey really necessary?’ seminar introduced by Group’s Chair, Lord Faulkner of Worcester and Treasurer, David Taylor MP
  • Comments in person from Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman and Justine Greening MP, Conservative Shadow Treasury Team member
  • Video conferencing case histories from a small environmental NGO, the AEF; the construction industry, Skanska plc; city institutions and worldwide communications, Accenture
  • WWF-UK’s ‘Travelling Light’ campaign to encourage businesses to cut 1 in 5 flights
  • Technology, environmental and productivity gains explained by SCC and Tandberg, visual communications IT support and hardware leaders in video conferencing

Lord Faulkner of Worcester, the All-party Parliamentary Sustainable Aviation Group Chair, said:

“There’s no doubt that the latest video conferencing technology can play a significant role in controlling and reducing the carbon footprint of business travel. As Dr Pachauri has said, changing behaviour is vital – cutting 1 in 5 fights, the central theme of the WWF-UK campaign, is an entirely realistic way forward, environmentally and economically. So too is taking the train whenever possible.

That well-known wartime phrase ‘Is your journey really necessary?’ is increasingly relevant in the fight against climate change and spells out what modern socially and environmentally responsible companies must do as a matter of course – question the need for flying whenever there is a practical video conferencing or rail alternative.”

Jeff Gazzard, AEF Board member, said:

“The Government’s entire ‘predict and provide’ policy of unrestrained aviation growth is incompatible with our carbon reduction targets. And many businesses around the world are too busy flying towards a climate crisis at 500 miles per hour to even stop and think. But a calm and serious examination of the green and productivity benefits of cutting flights and using video conferencing instead is absolutely vital. We will be making sure companies get the message.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors – for more information please contact Jeff Gazzard on 01565 653561 or 07748 197412

Aviation Environment Federation, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, LONDON, EC4V 3DT; Tel: 0207 248 2223