The vast majority of the world leaders attending the Glasgow climate summit, which is designed to combat global warming, arrived with private or chartered jets, seemingly betraying the very goal of the summit, Hungarian news and opinion portal Mandiner writes.
One of the key priorities at the summit revolves around efforts to reduce CO2 pollution, and one major elements of that agenda is getting people to accept a lower standard of living. That means less air travel, less eating meat, and less consumption.
With world leaders flying in on private jets, staying at five-star hotels, and dining on gourmet food, anger is growing over the standards being pushed on citizens in contrast to the lives of the elite.
The fact that over a thousand world leaders, prominent businessmen and celebrities chose a private flight as a means of transport for a major conference is not out of the ordinary. However, in the light of the purported environmental goals of the summit, which involve a massive emission reductions scheme, accusations of “climate hypocrisy” have been widespread.
As is well known, aviation is responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 pollution. The leaders attending the conference are warning that due to carbon pollution, the world is heading towards a disaster. While they preach less air travel and emissions, their actions are in direct contradiction to that message.
In addition, President Joe Biden, who flew to the summit on Air Force One, took several other planes with him on the journey.
Biden has also been criticized for saying climate change is the gravest threat that mankind faces only to fall asleep during the conference. The video of him dozing off went viral on social media.
Prince Charles, a major proponent of environmentalism, also arrived in a special army jet. Both Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew to the climate summit from Rome, where a G20 meeting was held. Although Johnson and Prince Charles could have shared a flight to reduce emissions, they chose to fly separately.
Even before the summit, Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates celebrated his 66th birthday in Turkey on a superyacht and chartered in 50 guests to attend, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Bezos flew to Scotland by private plane as well.
Hungarian news portal Telex calculates that a four-hour trip on a private jet produces roughly as much greenhouse gas as the average European resident in a full year.
According to another calculation, the 400 planes released 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, producing more than 1,600 Scottish residents a year. Those trips to Glasgow could have easily been made via scheduled commercial flights.
President Xi Jinping of China, the world’s single largest polluter (China’s CO2 emission make up 30 percent of the total and are twice as high as those of the second-largest polluter, the United States) did not show up at the conference, nor did Russian President Vladimir Putin.