Including Lula, heads of state fail to meet carbon dioxide reduction targets, wasting the greenhouse effect on heavily polluting planes.
As if the final report of the 27th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27) were not enough, the environmental narcissism of the heads of state was once again present in Egypt. About 400 private jets landed in the country during the event, according to Egyptian aviation authorities. Only the plane in which President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (PT) took a flight emitted more carbon than the 15-year average (about 104 tons). The Gulfstream G-600 emits approximately 4.7 tons of carbon dioxide per flight hour.
Let’s leave aside the draft COP27 final document. The paper excluded the gradual reduction of all fossil fuels, which is a key point for reducing gas emissions, and thus avoiding an increase in temperature above the targets set in the Paris Agreement.
What we saw, in practice, was a series of actions as I say, not as I do. According to the BBC, from FlightRadar24 data, 36 planes landed in Sharm El Sheikh between November 4 and 6. Another 64 private planes arrived in Cairo, including 24 to Sharm el-Sheikh. The British broadcaster also examined private flights departing from the UK, US, Italy, France and the Netherlands.
In Lula’s case, his trip to Egypt took about 12 hours and 30 minutes – a distance of about 10,000 kilometres. According to the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2.5kg of CO₂e (carbon dioxide equivalent) is emitted for every liter of jet fuel burned. So, a hiking trip to Egypt used about 52,200 kg of carbon dioxide.
Prior to COP27, more than 500 Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion protesters prevented private planes from leaving Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Some sat in front of the plane to prevent take off.
Most embarrassingly shortsighted, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) solutions are being tested, some even in use (see below).
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