The venue was chosen partly because of its commitment to sustainability. The CTICC strives to support the events hosted there in a manner that benefits both society and the environment as a whole. It provides extensive guidelines to all conference organisers in terms of environmental sustainability, ranging from planning, procurement, energy efficiency, and waste minimisation to food choices. The venue also keeps track of its water, electricity and waste, and strives to reduce its environmental impact through engagement with the events it hosts.

We encourage all exhibitors to be conscious of their environmental impact when deciding on what materials they wish to hand out. For example, instead of paper printouts and flyers, one could make use of QR codes to obtain information electronically via smartphones


In light of the global climate crisis, it is crucial to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For astronomers, travel to conferences and other meetings is a substantial contributor to their work-related GHG emissions. At the same time, our field relies on international collaboration and regular exchange at meetings. Those unable to participate in meetings physically (e.g. due to a disability, caring responsibility, lack of funding, or strict border policies concerning specific nationalities) can be disadvantaged in terms of their career progression. For the IAU General Assembly in 2024, we want to make the meeting as sustainable and accessible as possible (see also Accessibility). Therefore, we aim to provide a virtual attendance experience that is comparable to in-person attendance such that you don’t have to come to South Africa in person to participate at the meeting if you’re not able or willing to travel. We see it as our responsibility to make you aware of the travel-related GHG emissions associated with your flights to South Africa (see image below courtesy of our friends at Astronomers for Planet Earth – A4E), and if you plan to attend the meeting in person, we ask you to make it worth the trip by engaging in activities that have an impact on society and environment alike (see also Impact).


We believe there are many ways to make the trip “worth it” (environmentally speaking). One of the most significant ways is to contribute to the capacity development of the local community. This can be in the form of contributions to growing science and astronomy capacity through lectures, workshops and collaborative engagements with local institutions. The reality is that these international connections and collaborations will help build the resilience needed in communities that will be worst affected by the effects of climate change. We also encourage participants to think innovatively about ways to make their travel worth it. For example, engaging with climate awareness groups in the region and supporting their efforts by using astronomy to communicate the importance of taking care of our planet, the pale blue dot. One could also imagine an interdisciplinary conversation with climate scientists regarding the use of Astronomy data skills and infrastructure (e.g. hack4dev and similar initiatives) to make contributions to the field of climate science.

There are many ways to make the trip worth it. We urge you to innovate and we remain available to assist you with realising your ideas.

Things YOU can do during the meeting:

If you are planning to participate at the IAU General Assembly in person, we would like you to consider three items to make a positive ecological impact:

  1. Be mindful of waste, in particular of food waste, as it is responsible for a sizable fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions (see, e.g., ‘The Climate Change and Economic Impacts of Food Waste in the United States’ by  K. Venkat, 2012)
  2. Make conscious food choices: vegetarian and vegan dishes usually have a lower carbon footprint than dishes with meat (see, e.g., ‘Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States’ by Weber & Matthews, 2008; and the infographic); avoiding food that is transported by plane can also make an impact, therefore choosing locally sourced food can contribute to a reduced carbon footprint, too.
  3. Be attentive to your indirect consumption of energy, e.g., AC settings in the hotel or your water consumption