Just as the private jets of the global elites swarm to Davos, Switzerland, every year for the World Economic Forum, so too are they descending on Glasgow for this week’s COP26 climate conference.
The Sunday Mail reports some 400 private jets are due to disgorge their cargo of world leaders and business executives for the event. In doing so, they will dump thousands of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Joe Biden’s Air Force One, a heavily modified Boeing 747-200, is expected to touch down in Scotland later today after the short hop from Rome – one of two identical aircraft the U.S. president’s entourage uses to travel around the world.
It is not known yet if Biden will again use an approximately 85-vehicle motorcade to carry him around Glasgow for meetings as he did in Rome, as Breitbart News reported.
It will be far from alone on the tarmac.
The French Cotam 001, Canadian Air Force VIP, German Konrad Adenauer, Japanese Air Force One, Air India One, Australia’s Shark One, and Israeli Wing of Zion are among others scheduled to arrive for the meeting.
Matt Finch, of the Transport and Environment campaign group, told the newspaper “the average private jet, and we are not talking Air Force One, emits two tons of CO2 for every hour in flight.” He then put that in perspective:
It can’t be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment, it is the worst way to travel by miles. Our research has found that most journeys could easily be completed on scheduled flights.
Private jets are very prestigious but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change. To put it in context, the total carbon footprint of an ordinary citizen – including everywhere they travel and everything they consume – is around eight tonnes a year.
So an executive or politician taking one long haul private flight will burn more CO2 than several normal people do in a year.
Aviation sources told the Mail upwards of 400 private aircraft will likely carry over 1000 world leaders, business execs and their staff to the talks.
Such is the volume of air traffic expected, while Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick will cater for many of the delegates, smaller airfields specifically for private jets as far afield as London have been recommended for use by COP26 conference organisers.
Travel by private jet has been a feature for the global elites as the rest of the world has stayed (mostly) grounded during the coronavirus pandemic.
An average private jet journey emits 10 times as much greenhouse gases per person as the same trip on an economy class flight, and 150 times more than a rail trip, the news outlet estimates.
An estimated 30,000 delegates will fly in to the conference from almost every country in the world, with 192 parties signed up to the Paris Agreement.
The Herald reports the influx of people requires a greater security presence meaning another 10,000 police officers will travel from various parts of the UK to support the running of the event.