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Every year, many thousands of scientists jet off to conferences all over the world — contributing to the alarming growth in emissions of carbon dioxide from air travel.

In this letter to Nature. David S. Reay of the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, argues that a new technology, the Access Grid system, could change the face of researchers' conferencing habits and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Access Grid is similar to video conferencing but allows delegates to see and talk to other groups of delegates, as well as being able to see the speaker. A key aim is enabling researchers in the developing world, who are prevented from attending international conferences by economic constraints, to participate in global scientific debate.

Link to letter in Nature

Reference: Nature 424, 251 (2003)