VIPs including Jeff Bezos flew to a climate conference on 400 private jets, sparking fury over the carbon emissions caused

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, at the COP26 climate conference. Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images
  • Hundreds of private jets are said to be taking VIPs and their staffs to the COP26 climate summit.

  • Amazon's Jeff Bezos, President Joe Biden, and other world leaders took private jets to the summit.

  • The advocacy group Transport and Environment criticized private jets' outsize environmental impact.

As hundreds of private jets ferry world leaders and top business executives to the UN's COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, environmentalists are up in arms over the environmental damage caused by the travel.

Scotland's Sunday Mail, citing aviation sources, reported that more than 400 private jets were expected. They are said to be shuttling more than 1,000 VIPs and their staff to the talks - which, according to the conference website, seek to "bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action."

US President Joe Biden traveled to the climate-crisis symposium on Air Force One, and the Sunday Mail said the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, India, Israel, and Japan all used their own aircraft as well.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos also flew in on his $65 million Gulfstream jet, British media reported. A Bezos Earth Fund spokesperson told Insider the billionaire uses sustainable aviation fuel, and offsets all carbon emissions from his flights.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning on returning to London from Scotland on a private jet - running on sustainable fuel, The Guardian reported. His official spokesperson told the British news outlet, "It is important that the prime minister is able to move round the country, and obviously we face significant time constraints."

The International Council on Clean Transportation says commercial aviation accounts for about 2% of global carbon emissions, a number expected to triple by 2050.

The European advocacy group Transport and Environment said in a May report that private planes were five to 14 times as polluting as commercial planes on a per passenger basis and 50 times as polluting as trains.

"It can't be stressed enough how bad private jets are for the environment - it is the worst way to travel by miles," the group's UK policy manager told the Sunday Mail. "Private jets are very prestigious, but it is difficult to avoid the hypocrisy of using one while claiming to be fighting climate change."

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