The Cost of Copenhagen

From this morning till 18 December 15,000 delegates will descend on Copenhagen to work towards negotiating a treaty to succeed Kyoto and reduce emissions. However, even before the conference has begun, there have been questions over whether a new deal will be struck.  US President Barack Obama and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen have conceded that the conference is unlikely to produce a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, and are beginning to make arrangements for a delay until the next conference, in Mexico.   British officials also do not expect a new deal, with binding restrictions, to be agreed this year. 

In light of that and the large number of other international conferences that have been held this year, taxpayers around the world – who will be supporting the conference and the delegations being sent there – might question whether the conference will constitute good value for money.  This research note provides the first estimate of the total cost of the conference.

Download the full report here (PDF).

Key Findings

  • A conservative estimate of the total cost of Copenhagen is £130 million ($215 million, €143 million).
  • This estimate is based on the Danish government budget and the costs to participating governments of sending 15,000 delegates – including flights, accommodation, food, conferencing facilities and salaries paid to delegates while they are at the conference.  It is a conservative estimate as it leaves out costs such as the need for supporting work by staff in the home countries.

Download the full report here (PDF).

Matthew Sinclair, Research Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“The politicians and bureaucrats going to Copenhagen seem to think that it’s unlikely that they’ll reach a deal and they know that even if they can get something signed, an increasingly sceptical public aren’t going to accept ever more expensive climate change policies.  This means that a huge amount of money is going to be spent on the summit, and thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted to get there, just to give the delegates a good photo opportunity.  Politicians need to stop this expensive jamboree and instead focus domestically on bringing down the ruinous cost to ordinary families of green taxes and regulations.”

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