EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Decarbonising conference travel: testing a multi-hub approach

Sabrina Zechlau1,2, Stefanie Kremser2,3, Andrew Charlton-Perez4, Jadwiga Richter5, Jose Santos6,7, Julia Danzer8, and Stefanie Hölbling8
Sabrina Zechlau et al.
  • 1DLR, Lidar, Germany (
  • 2SPARC International Project Office, DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3Bodeker Scientific, Alexandra, New Zealand
  • 4School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences, University of Reading, UK
  • 5Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 6Facultad de Ingenieria Maritima y Ciencias del Mar. Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral, Guayaqui, Ecuador
  • 7International CLIVAR Project Office, First Institute of Oceanography, Qingdao, China
  • 8Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change, University of Graz, Austria

As the global research enterprise grapples with the challenge of a low carbon future, a key challenge is the future of international conferences. An emerging initiative which combines elements of the traditional in-person and virtual conference is a multi-hub approach. Here we report on one of the first real-world trials of a multi-hub approach, the World Climate Research Programme/Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate (WCRP/SPARC) General Assembly held in Qingdao-Reading-Boulder during the last week of October 2022. Based on travel surveys of participants, we estimate that the multi-hub approach reduced the carbon footprint from travel of between a factor of 2.3 and 4.1 times the footprint when hosting the conference in a single location. This resulted in a saving of at least 288 tCO2eq and perhaps as much as 683 tCO2eq, compared to having the conference in one location only. Feedback from participants, collected immediately after the conference, showed that the majority (85%) would again attend another conference in a similar format. There are many ways that the format of the SPARC General Assembly could have been improved, but this proof-of-concept provides an inspiration to other groups to give the multi-hub format a try.

How to cite: Zechlau, S., Kremser, S., Charlton-Perez, A., Richter, J., Santos, J., Danzer, J., and Hölbling, S.: Decarbonising conference travel: testing a multi-hub approach, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5570,, 2023.