image of Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Academic Conferences: The Example of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We calculated carbon emissions associated with air travel of 4,834 participants at the 2019 annual conference of the (ASTMH). Together, participants traveled a total of 27.7 million miles or 44.6 million kilometers. This equates to 58 return trips to the moon. Estimated carbon dioxide equivalent (COe) emissions were 8,646 metric tons or the total weekly carbon footprint of approximately 9,366 average American households. These emissions contribute to climate change and thus may exacerbate many of the global diseases that conference attendees seek to combat. Options to reduce conference travel–associated emissions include 1) alternating in-person and online conferences, 2) offering a hybrid in-person/online conference, and 3) decentralizing the conference with multiple conference venues. Decentralized ASTMH conferences may allow for up to 64% reduction in travel distance and 58% reduction in COe emissions. Given the urgency of the climate crisis and the clear association between global warming and global health, ways to reduce carbon emissions should be considered.


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  • Received : 13 Aug 2020
  • Accepted : 01 Sep 2020
  • Published online : 09 Oct 2020
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