The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) will host the Convention of Parties 18, one of the most critical editions of the climate change negotiations, this Nov 26–Dec 7. The Centre will be partly powered by solar energy. The building is one of the most energy-efficient venues of its kind in the world, as it has a Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED). It uses 32% less energy than an average building.
The venue has 3,500 square meters of solar panels which will provide for 12.5 percent of the building’s power demand. The solar power system has a capacity to generate 1,255 MWh of electricity and offset 1,140 tonnes of carbon emissions every year. The convention centre has won several awards for its innovative design, including the “Best Convention Centre in Middle East” award.
Almost all climate change negotiations over the past few years have taken significant initiatives to offsets their carbon emissions. In 2011, organisers of the Durban climate change conference launched a program to allow the 25,000-odd participants to purchase carbon offsets worth $10 each from a restoration and reforestation of the uMbilo River catchment. The program aimed at offsets around 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
In 2009, the Danish government set aside €0.7 million to offset about 40,500 tonnes of carbon emissions from the Copenhagen climate change conference. The Danish government encouraged the hotel owners to expand the number of environmentally friendly, certified hotel rooms. The conference venue implemented several energy saving measures to reduce the carbon footprint by 30%. The government also invested in an energy efficiency brick manufacturing project in Bangladesh. The Danish Energy Agency picked the project carefully after determining that the project will help offset about 50,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year and improve air quality in one of the world’s most polluted cities (Dhaka).
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change makes it a point to implement a comprehensive strategy to offset the carbon footprints of the climate change conferences. The UNFCCC also calculates the carbon emissions generated from air travel of thousands of delegates.