Jet-Setting Archbishop of Canterbury Accused of Climate ‘Hypocrisy’

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BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty

Canterbury Archbishop Justin Welby has been accused of “hypocrisy” for jetting around the world while agitating for greater efforts to combat climate change.

Under Welby’s leadership, the Church of England has adopted a stringent Net Zero strategy, moving the deadline of carbon neutrality forward by 15 years, from 2045 to 2030.

Looking to divest itself of fossil fuels, the Church has exerted pressure on local congregations, urging parishes to replace their gas and oil boilers with heat pumps and solar panels.

Speaking at the 2023 Abu Dhabi global climate summit, the archbishop urged world faith leaders to “lead by example” in the battle against climate change.

“Our actions must reflect our faith, and our faith must guide our actions,” Welby said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addresses the media while aboard the Pope’s plane from Juba to Rome on February 5, 2023 returning from the Pope’s visit to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. (TIZIANA FABI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

There is much more to be done, he stated, “from commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and developing technology that can deliver clean energy, to delivering on the 100$ billion climate finance promised, and agreeing on a Loss and Damage Fund.”

The Daily Mail studied Archbishop Welby’s recent air travel, however, and found that by June he will have traveled more than 48,000 miles on ten trips since last September, visiting such faraway sites as Guatemala, El Salvador, Pakistan, Gaza, Panama, Costa Rica, and Zanzibar.

According to the newspaper, these flights alone have added at least 15 tons of CO2 emissions to the archbishop’s carbon footprint.

The prelate cannot have it both ways, critics insist, since Welby’s green evangelism directly conflicts with his well-earned moniker of the “Archbishop of Airmiles.”

One unnamed senior church official called it “quite extraordinary” that the archbishop “chooses to spend so much time away when there is so much going wrong at home.”

“His own diocese is showing a catastrophic fall in numbers attending — the worst figures for young people of any diocese — yet he is too busy to attend to it,” the cleric said.

Another Anglican leader, Reverend Marcus Walker, chairman of the Save our Parish Network, said that if the church is making compromises on the archbishop’s air travel, “perhaps we should compromise for parishes struggling to replace their boilers?”

A member of the Church of England’s General Synod, Professor Roy Faulkner said that Welby “almost sees himself as a member of the Foreign Office and spends a lot of time doing foreign trips.”

“That is not doing his main job. I would agree he’s the Archbishop of Airmiles,” Faulkner said.

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