Even as the climate talks in the Peruvian capital were hanging in the balance, the conference itself has produced more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This was admitted by the UN itself, which means that the Lima summit has had the largest carbon footprint of any meeting in the two-decade history of climate negotiations.

The amount of carbon dioxide produced at the summit is more than the emissions produced by entire nations such as Malawi, Sierra Leone, Fiji or Barbados over the same 12-day period, with the summit drawing over 12,500 politicians, diplomats, climate activists and journalists.

The annual UN global climate change talks, or the 20th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), started Dec 1 amid hopes for hammering out a new climate deal ahead of the key talks in Paris in 2015.The summit had aimed to produce a legally binding treaty forcing every nation in the world to reduce greenhouse gases and formulate a deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

However, the talks have overrun their scheduled close Dec 12, as the participants failed to reach an agreement on crucial points. According to Jorge Alvarez, project coordinator for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the emissions were so high because a plan to run the summit on green power went wrong.

Instead, the huge negotiating complex was being run on unclean diesel generators. Organisers had reportedly planned to draw power from Peru's national grid, half of which is fed by clean hydroelectric power."We (had) worked to upgrade the transformers and generators, but for some reason it didn't work," said Alvarez.

Japan, on its part, had donated 121 electric and hybrid vehicles for the summit, but they were nowhere to be seen in Lima."Unfortunately, most didn't arrive," Alvarez said, blaming the shipping bureaucracy.

He, however, insisted that 100 percent of the emissions would be offset by Peruvian forestry schemes, which would absorb carbon dioxide.Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum think tank, said: "UN climate meetings are the most lucrative perks for the tens of thousands of bureaucrats and climate activists who travel around the world, telling others to curtail their carbon footprint."

 

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