Never before have so many people converged to try to save the planet from global warming, with more than 10,000 jetting into this Indonesian resort island, from government ministers to Nobel laureates to drought-stricken farmers.
But critics say they are contributing to the very problem they aim to solve.
"Nobody denies this is an important event, but huge numbers of people are going, and their emissions are probably going to be greater than a small African country," said Chris Goodall, author of the book "How to Live a Low-Carbon Life."
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Two big climate conferences have been held in less than a month, both in idyllic, far-flung holiday destinations -- first Valencia, Spain, and now Bali. They were preceded by dozens of smaller gatherings. In Bangkok, Paris, Vienna, Washington, New York and Sydney, in Rio de Janeiro, Anchorage, Helsinki and the Indian Ocean island of Kurumba.
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The U.N. estimates 47,000 tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants will be pumped into the atmosphere during the 12-day conference in Bali, mostly from plane flights but also from waste and electricity used by hotel air conditioners.
If correct, Goodall said, that is equivalent to what a Western city of 1.5 million people, such as Marseilles, France, would emit in a day.
But he believes the real figure will be twice that, more like 100,000 tons, close to what the African country of Chad churns out in a year.
Organizers said they are doing everything possible to offset the effects.
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In largely symbolic gestures, 200 bright-yellow mountain bikes are being offered to participants so they can pedal around the heavily guarded conference site, and recycled paper is being used for the documents being handed out. Bins separating plastic and paper dot hallways -- a rare sight in a country where formal recycling is virtually non-existent.
Yet SUVs, taxis and other cars sit in long lines at the gates to the site, spewing out exhaust as they wait to get through security checkpoints.
Come to think about it, perhaps the line between irony and hypocrisy isn't all that thin. This is quite obviously hypocrisy.