The Duke of Sussex is facing criticism after he took a two-hour flight home to California on a private jet this weekend. He had taken part in a charity polo match in what was his first public appearance since the birth of his daughter, Lilibet, in June. A 20-seat Gulfstream jet, reportedly belonging to one of his polo friends, businessman Marc Ganzi, took him back.
In recent years, Harry and Meghan Markle have been outspoken about the impact of climate change and the urgency in the changes people need to make on a daily level.
He has previously described the situation as one of the “most pressing issues we are facing”.
Last year, the royal said becoming a father had galvanised his efforts to tackle environmental issues and the climate crisis, amid worries of leaving children with a world which is “on fire” – a reference to the mass forest fires around the world, some of which have picked up again in recent weeks.
He said: “The moment you become a father, everything really does change.
“You start to realise, what is the point of bringing a new person into this world, if they get to your age and it’s on fire?
“We can’t steal their future. I’ve always believed that, hopefully, we can leave the world in a better place than when we found it.
“We really need to take a moment and think, how do we get what we need and have our desire fulfilled without taking from our children and generations to come?”
Yet, private jets – a mode of transport familiar to Harry – remain one of the most environmentally unfriendly ways to travel.
According to a report by Transport & Environment (T&E), a single private jet can emit as much as two tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one hour.
Andrew Murphy, Aviation Director at (T&E), earlier this year said: “Flying on a private jet is probably the worst thing you can do for the environment.
“And yet, super-rich super polluters are flying around like there’s no climate crisis.
However, he added: “The upside is that the private jet market is ideally suited to help bring about aviation’s Tesla moment, making hydrogen and electric planes a reality.”
In a report published by the organisation, T&E said “seven of the 10 most polluting routes taken by private aircraft within Europe lie on the UK-France-Switzerland-Italy axis,” and that, “private jets departing the UK and France are the biggest source of pollution, representing over a third (36 percent) of private flight emissions in Europe between them.”
They are up to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger but are twice as likely to be used for short trips under 500km (approximately 310 miles).
In May, the duke warned that mental health and climate change were linked.
He told US talk show host and friend Oprah Winfrey: “I know lots of people out there are doing as best they can to try and fix these issues, but that whole sort of analogy of walking into the bathroom with a mop when the bath is over-flooding, rather than just turning the tap off.
“Are we supposed to accept that these problems are just going to grow and grow and grow, and then we’re going to have to adapt to them and build resilience amongst the next generation and the next generation and the next generation?
“Or is there really a moment, a reckoning moment, post-Covid, where we can actually look at each other, look at ourselves and go, ‘We need to do better about stopping or allowing the things that are causing so much harm to so many of us at the source, rather than being distracted by the symptom.”
But despite his calls, Harry continues to use private jets while advocating more environmentally aware travel, in the process attracting mass criticism.
Royal author Tom Quinn told The Sun that the duke’s actions this weekend “appears to be enormously hypocritical”.
He said: “Harry seems to see himself as someone who guides the rest of the world and that his own behaviour isn’t relevant.
“It is a huge blind spot.”
In 2019, he and Meghan came under fire after taking a handful of private jets within weeks of each other.
The biggest upset came when they flew to Elton John’s French Riviera mansion, with the singer coming to their defence, explaining he had provided his own jet to “maintain a high level of much-needed protection”.
Shortly after the incident, Harry launched his eco-tourism project, Travalyst, in Amsterdam, which encourages the tourism industry to become more sustainable.
When asked about his own use of private jets, Harry said: “I came here by commercial. I spend 99 percent of my life travelling the world by commercial.
“Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family is safe – it’s generally as simple as that.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK