Do as We Say, Not as We Do: UK Govt Jet Emissions Up Significantly

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak disembarks from an airplane as he arrives at the Ngurah Rai International Airport ahead of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia on November 14, 2022. (Photo by Firdia Lisnawati / POOL / AFP) (Photo by FIRDIA LISNAWATI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Cabinet Office of the green-obsessed British government has had to report a spike in carbon emissions – much of it, ironically enough, a result of jet use associated with the climate-focused G7 and COP26 summits.

The 2021/22 annual report for the Cabinet Office, the “corporate headquarters for government”, disclosed that the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, which ex-prime minister Boris Johnson tried hard to make a signature moment in his premiership, cost Britons now facing cutbacks and tax hikes some £250 million — and saw greenhouse gas emissions spike to 6,442 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to The Telegraph.

“This is driven by increased travel to support the successful delivery of the G7 summit and Cop26,” the report stated, attempting to spin an increase in government jet emissions while organising summits where politicians discuss, among other things, curbing the public’s use of air travel, as somehow a mark of success.

“It was crucially important that Cop26 was an inclusive summit, where representatives from governments, civil society, young people and businesses could come together to take action to protect our planet,” said a spokesman for the government, irrelevantly and in somewhat woke terms, on the subject of the emissions figures.

“The UK is proud to have hosted such a historic event, which culminated in nearly 200 countries forging the Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5 alive, reaching global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade,” they added — although whether COP26 will in fact prove “historic” compared to the previous and decidedly forgettable 25 UN Climate Change Conferences — or indeed the latest COP27 conference in Egypt — remains to be seen.

The use of jets by government — even when train perfectly good routes were available — will not have been the only contributor to carbon emissions at events such as COP26, of course.

All told, it is estimated that over 400 private jets flew elite attendees unwilling to subject themselves to first-class travel on readily available commercial flights to the Glasgow-based summit, for example.

“Private jets are very prestigious but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change,” remarked Matt Finch, of the Transport and Environment campaign, at the time.

Finch pointed out that “the average private jet — and we are not talking Air Force One — emits two tonnes of CO2 for every hour in flight.”

“It can’t be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment, it is the worst way to travel, by miles,” he insisted.


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