Flying to London, UK PM's team extols virtue of "carbon efficient" plane

·2-min read
COP26 in Glasgow

GLASGOW (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will fly from a climate summit in Glasgow back to London on Tuesday, his spokesman said, anticipating any criticism by extolling the virtues of the plane's sustainable fuel.

Johnson, who is hosting the United Nations COP26 https://www.reuters.com/business/cop climate summit in the Scottish city, has hoped to spur other countries into tackling emissions by unveiling a raft of new policies that he says shows Britain is leading the charge.

But flying home to London after the leaders' meeting on Tuesday rather than taking the train is bound to attract criticism.

"Obviously both the fuel used for this flight is sustainable and the emissions are offset as well ... It's important that the prime minister is able to move around the country and obviously he faces significant time constraints," the spokesman told reporters on Monday when asked about Johnson's travel plans.

Asked further about how the leader could justify travelling by plane when he could use a train, the spokesman said he was flying in "one of the most carbon efficient planes of its size in the world".

"It produces 15 percent less CO2 emissions for example than the larger Voyager plane," he said, referring to the RAF Voyager which is used by Britain's royal family and its prime minister.

"We use a specific type of fuel which is a blend of 35% sustainable aviation fuel and 65% normal fuel which is the maximum amount allowed and obviously the emissions will be offset."

Environmental campaigners criticise leaders for flying into climate summits with their delegations on large planes, saying it sets a bad example to their nations which are told to take measures, such as cutting air travel, to protect the planet.

Air travel accounts for about 3% of global emissions.

Asked about the impression the choice gave off, the spokesman said the prime minister had addressed the need for action in his speech to the summit on Monday.

"There's been a number of climate summits and the people want to see action and want to see us bending that curve (in emissions)," he said.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Alison Williams)

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