The European Commission’s climate-loving President Ursula von der Leyen took almost 60 separate private-jet trips over the past two years, German news outlets have reported.
The figures were reportedly confirmed by an EC source, who emphasised that efforts are always made to ensure that there are no alternatives available before von der Leyen hops on a gas-guzzling private jet.
“The President travelled by car, plane and train on a total of around 164 days in 2021 and 2022,” the source said.
That was of little comfort to Martin Schirdewan, a member of The Left group within the European Parliament, who attacked the senior Eurocrat for what he said was her “hypocrisy”.
“The masses of people should tighten their belts and reduce their own CO₂ footprint, but the European Commission treats itself to luxury travel in private jets,” he said.
Most people will not vote for parties that deliver lower living standards in exchange for climate policies, and assuming that most politicians are opportunists, it will ultimately be the climate agenda that is going to take the backseat, writes @Raphfel. https://t.co/CPhPEftAlJ
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With many in Brussels turning against flying in general, the use of private aircraft by the rich and powerful has become a particular bugbear for progressive politicians.
Compared to regular economy-class flights, private jets can emit between 10 to 20 times as much carbon pollution, one green interest group has claimed.
Such figures led to an increased level of scrutiny for Europe’s high-fliers, with the President of the European Council Charles Michel in particular getting in trouble for his frequent use of private aircraft earlier this year.
According to a report by Politico, Michel is a habitual user of such jets, only flying on commercial aircraft on 18 of his 112 diplomacy missions between 2019 and 2022.
Michel even travelled to last year’s COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, using a private jet, with efforts to source so-called “sustainable aviation fuel” for the trip said to have “regrettably” fallen through.
Germany’s Green Party foreign minister Annalena Baerbock is also said to be a frequent flier on private jets, using defence ministry planes for 87 of her 99 diplomatic trips out of the country.
PHOTO STORY: The police gave the activists 90 minutes for their protest on the A12 motorway and then demanded they disperse. The climate activists refused and the police turned on the water cannon… https://t.co/R7JDLOtr1y
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