Chancellor Jeremy Hunt chose to fly from London to Manchester over the train or more stable transport. Guardian.
It is common knowledge that aviation is one of the most carbon-emitting forms of transport, and Hunt’s journey would have contributed around 40 kg of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. These emissions of fossil fuels are one of the main causes of climate change, including extreme events such as fires and floods.
The Chancellor boarded flight BA1372 in economy class from Heathrow Airport and the journey took just 30 minutes, while the train journey from London to Manchester takes around two hours.
Reasons for his choice include an important meeting with the Japanese ambassador on Sunday morning and concerns about rail strikes that could delay him.
On the other hand, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak chose to travel to Manchester by car, citing strikes in the rail system as the reason for his decision.
Hunt’s decision to opt for high-carbon transport has drawn criticism. Chris Venables, deputy director of policy at environmental think tank Green Alliance, commented: “The chancellor’s choice to fly, one of the most polluting modes of transport, rather than the train, which takes a few hours, raises valid concerns, especially after a significant period of time. The government has been backtracking on its green agenda in recent weeks.
He added: “These dangerous policy changes make it even more urgent for the Chancellor to respond quickly to the global race for green investment led by the US and China, while the UK lags behind.”
A Labor spokesman said: “Jeremy Hunt seems to have accepted Rishi’s desire to fly. They both know that the Conservative government’s economic incompetence has put so much pressure on the rail network that trains can’t be trusted to arrive on time.
Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Paul Moroso also expressed his concerns: “The high-carbon travel habits of government ministers raise questions about their honesty when it comes to their commitment to protecting the environment.”
He questioned whether the president’s flight decision was a public relations lapse or a display of party loyalty, highlighting the government’s focus on environmental change as a central theme of its election campaign.
This is not the first time government members have been criticized for high environmental impact transport choices. The prime minister has faced criticism for using private jets and helicopters on short trips, arguing that it optimizes his time despite the costs and climate impacts.
Rishi Sunak used RAF jets and helicopters for domestic flights more often than any of the UK’s previous three prime ministers, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice. These journeys include journeys that can easily be done in a very short time by train.
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