Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 13:09 UK

Carbon man shuns Washington trip

Plane with vapour trail
Dr Maxey has not flown to conferences and meetings for the last 15 years

An academic has refused an all expenses paid trip to a conference in Washington to discuss tackling carbon emissions.

Larch Maxey of Swansea University described the invite to the Smithsonian Festival, which this year focuses on Wales, as the "irony of our times."

He said the plane journey across the Atlantic would use several years' worth of his carbon share and now others invited to attend have followed suit.

Instead they taking part in the event via video link.

Some have chosen to fly to attend but Dr Maxey said there was "no finger pointing."

"It is a great opportunity to showcase Wales," he added.

"To be fair to the organisers they looked at getting everyone to the conference by boat but it was not possible.

Dr Larch Maxey
I would encourage everyone to think about their carbon emissions
Dr Larch Maxey

"If I had flown it's more than my share of carbon emissions for a couple of years."

He said he had been avoiding flying for around 15 years and those conferences he could not reach by rail, bus or boat he turned down.

'I regularly use phone and video conference meetings, but this is the first time I've used it to present at an international conference.

"It's really empowering to be able to make the choice.

"I would encourage everyone to think about their carbon emissions.

"We have to do everything we can as soon as we can and everyone has to play their part."

The conference, organised by the Wales' Centre for Alternative Technology, was taking place on Thursday and Friday.

Other key speakers including assembly government environment minister Jane Davidson and Molly Scott Cato of the University of Wales Cardiff, will also have their presentations streamed by staff at Swansea University.

Dr. Maxey's presentation entitled 'The Future in Our Hands: Low Impact Development and Sustainability Transitions' draws on his recent book and current research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Wales is the featured nation at the 43rd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival and chose to focus on sustainability throughout its programme at the festival.

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