You can’t preach about going green from the luxury of your private jet
Despite the obvious hypocrisy, this is a convenience that seems too good to be left behind for big companies waving their green credentials. Goldman Sachs, whose boss David Solomon argued for the importance of a transition to a green economy last week, bought two new business jets last year and isn’t expected to get rid of them any time soon.
It’s not just companies that don’t lead by example. Boris Johnson, who told world leaders at Cop26 to stop “padding the earth in a suffocating blanket of Co2” and “become realistic” about their responsibilities to the planet, flew back to London on a private jet instead. to take the half-hour four-and-a-half-hour train.
Downing Street defended the decision, saying it had “significant time constraints” which meant the train was not an option.
He was not alone. The conference is believed to have generated as much carbon dioxide as 4,200 Britons emit in a year, mainly due to the number of private jets arriving there. Lavish limousines were also spotted dropping off wealthy conference delegates before pulling up to park with their engines running.
Instead of turning their backs on elite travel as the earth warms, even more people have jumped on board in recent years. CO2 emissions from private jets in Europe increased by nearly a third between 2005 and 2019, according to campaign group Transport & Environment, while data provider WingX said there had been a record number of private flights every month for the past six months.
Private jet usage increased 54% in the first week of November compared to a year ago, showing that the appetite for on-demand travel remains strong despite the lifting of restrictions.
The pandemic has encouraged more and more people to travel privately. Forbes’ latest annual list of global billionaires shows that the rich are only getting richer, with nearly 90% of global billionaires richer than they were a year ago.