Greta Thunberg, the popular student climate activist, has decided to avoid air travel because it emits large amounts of greenhouse gases.
In order to attend her upcoming engagements in the Americas, including the annual climate conference in Chile, she is resolved to travel by an “eco-friendly” yacht across the Atlantic.
While her choice appears consistent with her activism (of not using a high-emission travel mode), the case is completely different with the rest of climate-alarmist fraternity.
Do climate alarmists really live up to their preaching?
Greta is a global star. She is hailed as the environmental role model for school students across the globe. But her stardom was not an accident.
Climate alarmists and her family played a crucial role in helping Greta achieve cult status. Her speeches, her social media posts, and her critical remarks about world leaders—all appear scripted by others.
Despite that, people now consider her the voice of the next generation. Any move she makes is now considered a move to save the planet.
Climate activists found it to be the right moment to push their anti-fossil fuel agenda. But Greta’s choice to travel across the Atlantic in a yacht—powered by solar panel and underwater turbine—is nothing but a public relations stunt.
Neither the people who are the top of climate alarmist movement nor those who support her actions ever travel by boat to international climate conferences and business meetings. Why? Perhaps because, unlike the young Greta, their time is worth more to them than the CO2 emission reductions they might achieve by eschewing air travel.
The choice of destinations for climate conferences and the transportation choices for those who attend expose the climate activists’ blatant hypocrisy.
This week, Google is hosting a “climate camp” in Italy, where popular celebrities and politicians—like Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Katy Perry—are meeting to discuss climate change. Early reports from Italy indicate that around 114 private jets will bring the guests, and that 40 had already arrived by Sunday.
So, we have Greta at one end of the spectrum and the rest of the climate fraternity at the other. And this is not the first time this has happened.
Many key signatories and participants in climate conferences use very expensive, high-emission transportation modes rather than emission-friendly versions. They use private charter flights instead of commercial planes. They use gas-guzzling SUVs and limos instead of normal cars with lower emissions.
Accommodating them at the most recent climate conference in Poland is estimated to have put 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—and that’s without factoring in the air travel.
Michael Bastasch estimates that emissions during the conference in Poland (2018) were more than from 8,200 American homes, equivalent to more than 11,700 cars driving for a year, or 728 tanker trucks’ worth of gasoline.
The height of this hypocrisy with air travel is the recent episode with the U.N. Environment executive director, who was forced to resign because of his extravagant air travel, which cost the organization $488,518 in two years.
For unknown reasons, climate alarmists refuse to travel by emission-friendly means and refuse to acknowledge that their yearly conferences are prime examples of hypocrisy.
It will be interesting if Greta speaks out against the very people who are promoting her stardom for their extravagant travel to climate conferences, often held in tourist destinations. Will she have the courage to criticize the attendees of the climate conference in Chile later this year? And even if she does, will their hypocrisy live on?
Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Associate for Developing Countries for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Bangalore, India.