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Should the AAG Consider Carbon Offsets as Part of Its Transition to Low-Emissions Annual Meetings?

Type: Panel
Theme: AAG Climate Action Task Force
Sponsor Groups: American Association of Geographers, Energy and Environment Specialty Group, Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group, AAG Climate Action Task Force
Poster #:
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Virtual Track 5
Organizers: John Hayes
Chairs: John Hayes


Concern about the considerable CO2 footprint associated with travel to and from large academic conferences is growing in light of the climate crisis. Among the proposed remedies are carbon offsets, which many champion as a way of erasing the detrimental climate impacts of air travel. Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, for instance, characterizes them as “a viable means of decarbonizing your air travel.” At the same time, many take issue with offsetting. Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, calls offsetting “worse than doing nothing,” “without scientific legitimacy,” and “dangerously misleading.” As the AAG seeks to dramatically reduce the CO2 emissions associated with its annual meetings—which now draw between 7,000 and 9,000 registered participants--the AAG Council’s Climate Action Task Force invites panelists to engage the debate over carbon offsets. The panel welcomes panelists who will be present in Denver as well as those who would like to participate via video conferencing.


Type Details Minutes
Introduction John Hayes Salem State University 6
Panelist Kathleen McAfee San Francisco State University 15
Panelist Lauren Gifford University of Colorado, Boulder 15
Panelist Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza Duke University 15
Discussant John Hayes Salem State University 15

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