Energy

Wealthy Activists Rely On Fossil Fuels To Get To Macron’s Climate Summit

REUTERS/Ian Langsdon

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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Politicians, celebrities and liberal philanthropists have converged on Paris for a summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron to take “concrete action” against global warming.

Macron’s event comes on the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which nearly 200 countries signed in 2015. Now, with the U.S. planning to withdraw from the deal, Macron wants to isolate President Donald Trump and show the world is moving on without him.

Trump wasn’t invited to the “One Planet Summit,” but Macron did invite North American politicians and philanthropists who stand against the U.S. president on the Paris accord.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Canadian environment minister Catherine McKenna were all in attendance.

Those individuals would have had to fly to Paris, resulting in the very carbon dioxide emissions they are trying to prevent.

Gates, for example, would have had to fly all the way from Washington state. Even assuming he didn’t fly a private jet, a first class round-trip flight between Seattle and Paris would emit 5 tons of carbon dioxide.

Under similar assumptions, Bloomberg’s first class flight from New York City to Paris, and back, would result in about 3.8 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equivalent to a single home’s energy usage for about 6 months.

Wealthy environmental activists have come under fire recently for flying private jets to climate summits, like the one in Paris in 2015. That summit actually took place at Europe’s busiest private jet airport.

Ironically, the Paris summit likely had the largest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate summit. One estimate put the summits emissions at than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide, thanks to all the national leaders that attended.

The U.N. purchased “credits” to offset their emissions, and the French government has partnered up with an environmental group to do the same for the current summit.

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