The team found that moving the event to online by 2021 cut travel-related emissions to zero and doubled the number of attendees compared to previous in-person iterations of the event. to sue. More importantly, this also resulted in increased attendance from the geographic spread at the virtual event, including more people from low- and middle-income countries.
The average number of unique LMICs represented between 2016-2019 is 23, while the 2020 videoconference attracts participants from 46 unique LMICs.
In 2019, when the conference was held in India, air travel emissions were 1.2 tons of CO2 per participant, which is 60% higher of the 1.9 tons that the average person takes. generated in India for the whole year. For the 2020 online event, the CO2 involved in aviation is zero.
The study looked at data collected regularly for each conference, such as participant satisfaction surveys and delegate attendance at the conference’s social events. Estimates of CO2 generation from international flights are calculated using Atmosfair’s online calculator.
The authors say their work highlights the environmental burden of air travel in academia and showcases the social and planetary health benefits of shifting major international events to a context virtual scene. However, they also note that online formats have trade-offs when it comes to authorizing participation in social and networking events.
Joe Yates, from LSHTM, who led the study, said: “The carbon emissions cuts demonstrated here are clear and show that significant changes to carbon emissions can be made. of a scientific conference by going online, while increasing the overall attendance worldwide.”
“While this may sound like a ‘win-win’, it is important to note that while the move to virtual has removed the burden and impact of air travel on a lot of people and so the number of participants increases, but virtual environments can’t fix all the problems fairly.For our conference example in 2020, we saw Internet outage. days in both Ethiopia and Malawi; while participation in networking and socializing opportunities has decreased significantly.”
“These issues must be actively considered by conference organizers to achieve the goal of fair scientific exchange in global programs like ours.”
The authors acknowledge limitations of the study including that the data used were originally collected for conference management purposes, rather than for the study. Feedback surveys generate lower responses to online events than in-person, and these data should be handled with caution.