AIDS Conference Attendees Can Donate to Offset ‘Carbon Footprint’

By Penny Starr | July 26, 2012 | 4:55 PM EDT

FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 file photo, workers cycle past a coal-fired power plant on a tricycle cart in Changchun, in northeast China's Jilin province. The world's emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide took the biggest jump on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate change experts just four years ago. China, the United States and India are the world's top producers of greenhouse gases. Tom Boden, director of the Energy Department's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab, said that in 2010 people were traveling, and manufacturing was back up worldwide, spurring the use of fossil fuels, the chief contributor of man-made climate change. (AP Photo)

( – Attendees at the 2012 International AIDS Conference taking place this week in D.C. were given the opportunity to offset the “carbon footprint” they made traveling to the event through the registration process or at a “carbon offset” desk located in the registration area of the conference.

Idun Strand, who works for the International AIDS Society in its Geneva, Switzerland, office, told that the donation option is available to anyone registering for the conference.

“All delegates have an option to offset carbon emissions of their flight through the registration process,” Strand said.

The donation level, Strand said, ranges from $25 to $85, depending on how far one had to travel to get to D.C.

The money collected will be distributed between three companies, according to Strand:

• Township Patterns is a South African non-governmental organization comprised of women who make bags for conferences, although they did not make them for the AIDS conference, Strand noted.

• A non-governmental organization based in Switzerland will also benefit. “My Climate” works in Brazil to reduce emissions by replacing diesel fuels with bio fuels.

DC greenworks, a local non-profit that installs “green rooftops” and rain barrels to recycle storm water, also will benefit from the carbon footprint donations.

The AIDS conference website includes a page about how the event is "socially responsible," which includes recycling printed materials and buying from local suppliers with "good social responsibility policies."