Outrage as 400 VIP jets converge on Glasgow for global warming summit
There is outrage after Jeff Bezos’ $86 million Gulf Stream jet was among the hundreds of VIP jets flying into Scottish environmental summit COP26.
Around 400 private jets carrying heads of state, billionaires, business leaders and celebrities have converged on Glasgow for a global warming summit.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ $US65 million ($86 million) Gulf Stream jet was among the hundreds of VIP jets reportedly carrying more than 1000 attendees and their staff to the COP26 meeting, with others including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger also expected to fly in.
“It can’t be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment, it is the worst way to travel by miles,” Matt Finch from the UK’s Transport and Environment campaign group told Scotland’s Sunday Mail.
“The average private jet, and we are not talking Air Force One, emits two tonnes of CO2 for every hour in flight. Private jets are very prestigious but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change.”
He said for context, the “total carbon footprint of an ordinary citizen – including everywhere they travel and everything they consume – is around eight tonnes a year”.
In total, the 400 private aircraft are expected to emit some 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
But UK Secretary of State Liz Truss defended the large number of planes flying into Glasgow, saying “it’s really important that we do have people face to face”.
“I think everybody who’s ever done a Zoom call knows that they’re quite useful for some things,” Ms Truss told BBC Breakfast.
“But when you really get into crunch negotiations. When you want to look somebody in the eye and talk to them face to face, you do need to meet in person. And this is really critical.”
She added, “World leaders are going to have to make some tough decisions about what’s going on in their own countries. They’re going to have to commit to things they didn’t necessarily want to when they arrived at the conference.
“And that’s why it’s really important that we do have people face to face and these negotiations can take place. We can make a real difference.”
Climate campaigner Leonardo DiCaprio took to Twitter on Monday, writing, “The climate crisis is here. #COP26 must be a turning point to protect people and the planet.
“Leaders, the world is watching and urging you to rise to this moment. There’s no time to lose.”
Page Six reported that representatives for DiCaprio didn’t comment, neither did reps for Bezos — who also just caused controversy by partying with Bill Gates on a mega-yacht off the coast of Turkey.
But sources said DiCaprio was one VIP attendee who flew commercial to the conference. He was spotted at Heathrow airport in London connecting flights, a source exclusively told Page Six.
In July 2019 there was a similar outcry when A-listers arrived to the Google summit in Sicily — to discuss climate change — in a convoy of private jets and mega-yachts. Guests including former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, DiCaprio and Katy Perry converged to the Sicilian seaside for the mega-party dubbed Google Camp, while local media reported 114 private jets were scheduled to arrive.
2 November 2021