Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest A-lister to arrive at COP26 as it was claimed he took a commercial flight to Scotland after criticism about his own heavy carbon footprint as hundreds of rich eco-activists including billionaires Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates flew to Britain on private jets.
The megastar, 46, who describes himself as an ‘actor and environmentalist’, was mobbed as he arrived at the Glasgow SEC Centre with his entourage at around Midday.
His decision to shun a private jet came after he was called an eco-hypocrite for his use of VIP planes. In 2016 it emerged the Oscar-winner flew 8,000 miles from France to New York and back on one just to accept an award on climate change.
Today he was swept into the Scottish conference centre by police and bodyguards just as US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared together at an event where they shared their vision for a ‘Build Back Better World’ and the need to invest trillions in fighting climate change and creating millions of green jobs.
Wearing sunglasses and a smart suit with matching mask, Leo, a good friend of Greta Thunberg, was ushered by security through big crowds having reportedly flown into Edinburgh via London on commercial planes before heading to Scotland’s largest city yesterday.
This afternoon he headed to the Kew Carbon Garden at the UN climate change conference, backing The Royal Botanic Gardens’ campaign to protect the Ebo Forest in Cameroon from logging, which is threatening endangered species, including its population of rare chimpanzees.
The Wolf of Wall Street actor, who is expected to speak at various COP26 fringe events, first popped up last night at a book launch hosted by environmentalists at The Engine Works venue in Glasgow’s Maryhill district, in the north of the city.
Leo posed with Emmy nominated writer and producer Paul Goodenough and held a copy of his new climate change book: ‘The Most Important Comic Book on Earth: Stories to Save the World’. Mr Goodenough shared a picture of them together with the caption: ‘What a hero’, and told his Instagram followers: ‘He was wonderful and we chatted for ages despite everyone wanting a piece of him’.
Mr DiCaprio flew into the UK after he was spotted celebrating Halloween in LA and then holidaying in Hawaii for the week before that. Yesterday Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates arrived for the UN-run event by private jet, after parting in Turkey for Mr Gates’ 66th birthday.
Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for day three of COP26 after jetting to Scotland using commercial planes rather than private jets
Leo wore sunglasses and was flanked by security as fans top pictures of him entering the United Nations Climate Change Conference today
Leonardo DiCaprio in Glasgow at a COP26 fringe event with Emmy nominated writer and producer Paul Goodenough, holding his new environmental comic book
Leonardo has worked on a number of documentaries about animal poaching and the environment, and was appointed a United Nations representative on climate change in 2014.
Kew Science, the research arm of Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, said he had visited its Carbon Garden space, where scientists will be highlighting the role plants can play in providing solutions to climate change across Cop26.
A spokeswoman said the actor ‘seemed to enjoy seeing the wonderful display of plants and messages about nature-based solutions to climate change that the Kew’s display has on show’.
Mr DiCaprio attended COP25 in Madrid in 2019 where he met Greta Thunberg, calling the Swedish teenager the ‘leader of our time’ and revealing they had ‘made a commitment to support one another’.
The friends are expected to meet in Glasgow this week, if they haven’t already.
At COP25 he gave a speech on the plight of indigenous people in the Brazilian rain forest, upsetting the country’s president Jair Bolsonaro in the process.
Mr Bolsonaro reacted furiously, and accused the actor of ‘giving money to set the Amazon on fire’. He refused to expand on the allegations but it was understood to be a nod to the case of four volunteer firefighters arrested on allegations of starting fires to generate NGO donations. Mr DiCaprio has long supported NGOs financially.
Dozens of world leaders, business chiefs and eco-activists faced allegations of hypocrisy yesterday for taking private jets or domestic flights to Glasgow while telling the rest of the world to cut their carbon footprint.
Culprits included billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, US President Joe Biden and the Prime Minister.
Hours after telling delegates at Cop26 that the conference ‘can and must mark the beginning of the end’ of the climate change catastrophe, Boris Johnson admitted he would fly home to London from Glasgow rather than travel by rail.
His revelation came after Mr Bezos’s £48million Gulf Stream private jet was pictured landing in Glasgow – flying in from Rome where he had discussed the climate crisis with Prince Charles. Private jets are the world’s highest carbon-emitting form of transport.
Prince Charles himself was among those who travelled by non-commercial plane after attending the G20 summit in Rome. However, a spokesman for Clarence House said the flight made use of ‘sustainable aviation fuel’.
As well as taking hundreds of carbon-polluting private flights since Sunday, VIPs will take advantage of electric vehicles – many of which will be charged by large generators which belch out nitrogen oxides because of a lack of charging provisions.
Critics said the move showed a ‘complete lack of preparedness for the wholesale switch away from fossil fuel cars that we require’.
Mr DiCaprio looked dapper in sunglasses, a blue mask, a matching suit and a white suit as he arrived for the two week conference. He is yet to speak publicly in Scotland but is expected to give a speech
The actor, who also describes himself as an environmentalist, removed his sunglasses as he was surrounded by security
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio attends the UN Climate Change Conference. He has been a regular attendee at the events over the years
The actor flew to Scotland (left today) after enjoying a Hawaiian holiday at the end of October (right)
Mr DiCaprio hinted that he was going to attend in a series of tweets at the weekend but it was not known when he would show up
President Biden addressed the summit claiming the US ‘would lead by the power of example’ in the fight against climate change – after driving from Edinburgh to Glasgow in a 20-car motorcade.
Mr Biden arrived in Edinburgh yesterday on Air Force One, and was accompanied by three other planes and the Marine One helicopter.
On landing, an enormous motorcade including ‘the Beast’ presidential vehicle, a number of Range Rovers and Chevrolet SUVs carried the presidential party to Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus.
If all the vehicles are petrol-run, estimates show they will have pumped out 360kg of carbon over the 40-mile journey. It is estimated the entire journey for the President could generate up to 2.2million pounds of carbon.
Prince Albert of Monaco and representatives from the Bank of America also used private jets to fly to the conference, while the likes of German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron made use of official government aircraft.
It was estimated that as many as 400 private jets arrived for the conference. Conservative predictions suggest the fleet would emit 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount emitted by more than 1,600 Britons in a year. Many arrived from cities such as London, Stockholm, Rome and Brussels, which are served by commercial routes.
Pictured: A map showing Mr Bezos’ journeys on Friday in Turkey (bottom-left) and from Turkey to Glasgow on Sunday (main). The Blue Origin founder is said to have made the 120-mile round trip journey by chopper from Gokova to the resort town of Fethiye on Friday. The jet fuel used to power helicopters emits 21.095 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon burned. Since helicopters use up approximately 10.75 miles per gallon, Bezos’ helicopter emitted some 215 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On Sunday, he then flew the roughly 2,000 miles from Gokova
Speaking today, billionaire Mr Bezos, who earlier this year made a short journey to space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard, said he had gained new perspective
Mr Bezos’ Gulf Stream has led a 400-strong parade of private jets into COP26, including scores of royals and dozens of ‘green’ CEOs – amid an extraordinary traffic jam which forced empty planes to fly 30 miles to find space to park
Last night Labour’s environment spokesman Luke Pollard said world leaders should be ‘leading by example.’
‘People have sympathy for world leaders flying in from the other side of the world but those coming domestically should be coming by train,’ he said. ‘The idea the Prime Minister will fly home from Cop26 after flying from London to Cornwall for the G7 smacks of being out-of-touch.
‘In terms of Mr Bezos, if you want to have credibility in the debate, you have to not only be decarbonising your company, you should be demonstrating your commitment with your own actions, especially when you are one of the richest people on the planet.’
Greg Archer, UK director of the Transport and Environment campaign group, said: ‘Business leaders and heads of state flying into the climate talks on private jets illustrates how totally out of touch they are with public opinion to urgently tackle the climate emergency.
‘These jets cause as much heating of the planet during a three-hour return flight than the average Brit does in a year.’
Asked why Mr Johnson was not taking the train, the PM’s official spokesman said he faced ‘significant time constraints’.
The spokesman said the jet used by the PM this week produces half the emissions of his normal official plane, partly because of the use of ‘sustainable’ jet fuel. Carbon emissions relating to the flight will be ‘offset’ through schemes such as tree planting.
The spokesman defended the sight of hundreds of private jets flying in, saying it was important for leaders to meet face to face for such important talks.
Jeff Bezos tells COP26 how going to space made him realise ‘how thin the globe’s atmosphere’ and says ‘the private sector must also play its part to reduce carbon emissions’… after flying in on his £48million private jet
Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos said going to space made him realise ‘how thin the globe’s atmosphere is’ and ‘the private sector must also play its part to reduce carbon emissions’ during a lecture to the world’s leaders at COP26 today.
The billionaire has been criticised by Prince William among others for the amount of fossil fuel that space exploration consumes – and arrived at the UN climate change summit in his £48m private jet.
Speaking today, billionaire Mr Bezos, who earlier this year made a short journey to space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard, pledged $2billion (£1.47 billion) for land restoration in Africa, paid as part of the Bezos Earth Fund.
He told delegates: ‘I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you see the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true.
‘Looking back at earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin. The world so finite and so fragile. Now in this critical year, and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.’
Mr Bezos, who has not yet been since with the Duke of Cambridge at the gathering, had previously indicated the investment would be $1billion (£732million) at an event with William’s father the Prince of Wales on Monday.
In an apparent rebuke the space race between billionaires, William had previously said we need the world’s greatest brains and minds ‘fixed on trying to repair this planet’ – hours after Mr Bezos sent Star Trek’s William Shatner into space last month.
In his interview about climate change, ahead of his inaugural Earthshot Prize awards, the royal also warned the Cop26 summit against ‘clever speak, clever words but not enough action’.
Speaking today, billionaire Mr Bezos, who earlier this year made a short journey to space in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard, said he had gained new perspective
epa09558982 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) greets Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chairman of Amazon, for the Action on Forests and Land Use session at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow
He told delegates: ‘I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you see the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true’
Pictured: Billionaire Jeff Bezos (centre) and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez (right) meet with Britain’s Prince Charles (left) last night in Dumfries House’s Blue Drawing Room on the eve of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow. ‘The Prince of Wales has been involved in fighting climate change and protecting our beautiful world far longer than most. We had a chance to discuss these important issues on the eve of #COP26 — looking for solutions to heal our world, and how the @BezosEarthFund can help’
Jeff Bezos sparked a backlash online after flying to Glasgow in a private jet to deliver a speech about climate change
Mail on Sunday columnist Dan Hodges wrote after the speech: ‘Man who jetted off into space latest to lecture us about need for sustainability. COP26 is trolling us now’
Mr Bezos today said in his Cop26 speech: ‘We must conserve what we still have, we must restore what we’ve lost and we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come.
Outrage as billionaire eco warrior Bill Gates flies Jeff Bezos and FIFTY guests to Turkish beach resort from his $2M-a-week yacht for his 66th birthday
Microsoft founder Bill Gates transported his guests by helicopter from his €1.8million-a-week rental yacht ‘Lana’ to the Sea Me Beach club in Fethiye
Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos were slammed as hypocrites for lecturing the world on the need to combat climate change by reducing carbon footprint while at the same time reportedly vacationing on superyachts off the coast of Turkey.
Multi-billionaire and Microsoft founder Gates celebrated his 66th birthday in Turkey in the company of fellow tycoon and Amazon founder Bezos on Friday.
Bezos was among the 50 guests invited to Gates’ private party beside the Mediterranean. It’s not clear whether any of Gates’ family helped him celebrate at his exclusive bash.
Gates – once the richest man on earth who has dropped to fourth on the Forbes Rich List ranking with $124 billion – transported his guests by helicopter from his $2million-a-week rental yacht ‘Lana’ to the Sea Me Beach club in Fethiye.
The jet fuel used to power helicopters emits 21.095 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon burned, and helicopters travel approximately 10.75 miles per gallon.
According to reports, Bezos also traveled to Gates’ superyacht by helicopter.
The Blue Origin founder is said to have made the 120-mile round trip journey by chopper from Govoka to the resort town of Fethiye.
Based on the same estimations, Bezos’ helicopter emitted some 215 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Both Bezos and Gates are reportedly staying on superyachts – each of which emits 7,020 tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 19 tons per day.
‘Two thirds of the land in Africa is degraded, but this can be reversed.
‘Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth, while also sequestering carbon.’
Mr Bezos added: ‘Each year forests and landscapes absorb 11billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to slow climate change.
‘As we destroy nature, we reverse this process. Cut down a forest, destroy the mangroves, pave over the prairies, and instead of sequestering carbon, we emit it.
‘In too many parts of the world nature is already flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source. This is a profound and urgent danger to us all.’
He said that he was ‘honoured’ to pledge $2billion to restore nature as part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s ‘$10billion commitment to fight climate change, enhance nature, advance environmental justice and economic opportunity’.
On Sunday, MailOnline observed at least 52 private jets landing at Glasgow – while estimates put the total number flying in for the conference at 400.
Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year.
Mr Bezos – who regularly lectures the world on climate change – arrived in Glasgow fresh from celebrating Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ 66th birthday on a £2million-a-week superyacht off the coast of Turkey in an event that generated fresh claims of green hypocrisy.
He reached the boat by helicopter, according to reports.
Last night world leaders including Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau joined hundreds for the biggest gathering of Government representatives since the birth of the United Nations – ahead of the last ‘full’ day of the COP26 summit today.
The congregation of leaders appeared in high spirits as they put disagreements on hold and capped off the first day at the COP26 climate conference with a lavish royal reception at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and the Duchess of Cornwall.
During the night the Prime Minister, who hosted the evening at the recently renovated gallery, told leaders the summit was ‘quite an extraordinary historic event’ and it was even more important because ‘we face nothing less than a mortal threat to our planet and to our civilisation’.
He also hailed Prince Charles as ‘the man to defuse the bomb at the world’s moment of danger’ and described him as a ‘prophet without honour’.
His comments came as world leaders prepare for a day make-or-break day negotiations during what will be the final day of the climate change conference for many of them – with leaders leaving delegates behind to negotiate on their behalf.
The lavish reception was opened by the Queen who urged world leaders to ‘earn a place in history’ and ‘answer the call of those future generations’ in an impassioned speech.
Mr Johnson’s comments came after President Biden apologised for his predecessor Donald Trump taking the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord and pledged the US would up its financial stake in fighting climate change, arguing the biggest producers of it should be its biggest investors in fixing it.
Her Majesty, 95, who was forced to miss the conference after her overnight stay in hospital last month, told leaders via video ‘to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship’ as Government representatives attended the reception for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Prince William speaks to a group prior to a meeting with Earthshot prize winners and finalists at the Glasgow Science Center during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow today. Jeff Bezos has been criticised by Prince William among others for the amount of fossil fuel that space exploration consumes – and arrived at the UN climate change summit in his £48m private jet. The pair have not been spotted together
World leaders pose for a group photo during an evening reception to mark the opening day of the COP26 summit in Glasgow
Boris Johnson, who hosted the event at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, hailed Prince Charles for his efforts in tackling climate change
She went on to say that ‘none of us will live forever’ and ‘we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps’ as she urged leaders to reach decisive COP climate change deals.
In her most personal speech to date, the monarch also paid tribute to Prince Philip and described how ‘the impact of the environment on human progress’ was a subject close to the heart of her ‘dear late husband’ – who in 1969 told a gathering: ‘If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.’
After the monarch’s powerful speech, the Prime Minister said: ‘What we’ve got today, as Her Majesty alluded to, is the biggest gathering of world leaders in this country since the foundation of the UN at the end of the Second World War, and it’s quite an extraordinary historic event.
‘But in a way, what we are doing today, is even more important, because we face nothing less than a mortal threat to our planet and to our civilisation, to our way of life.’
‘A PROFOUND AND URGENT DANGER’: JEFF BEZOS’S CLIMATE CHANGE SPEECH TO COP26 IN FULL
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos speaking at the Leaders’ Action on Forests and Land-use event during the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow
Nature provides all the food we eat, the water we drink, and the oxygen we breathe. It gives us life. It is beautiful, but it is also fragile. I was reminded of this in July when I went into space with Blue Origin.
I was told that seeing the earth from space changes the lens through which you view the world. But I was not prepared for how much that would be true.
Looking back at earth from up there, the atmosphere seems so thin. The world so finite and so fragile.
Now in this critical year, in what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.
Climate change gives us a powerful reason to invest in nature. Each year forests and landscapes absorb 11billion ton of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to slow climate change.
As we destroy nature, we reverse this process. Cut down a forest, destroy the mangroves, pave over the prairies, and instead of sequestering carbon, we emit it.
In too many parts of the world nature is already flipping from a carbon sink to a carbon source. This is a profound and urgent danger to us all.
That’s why last month in New York, nine philanthropic organisations announced an additional $5billion to support the goal of 30 by 30 – to protect 30% of all land and sea by 2030.
I was honoured to be a part of this with a $1billion pledge from the Bezos Earth Fund.
Today I’m pleased to announce a $2billion pledge allocated directly to restoring nature and transforming food systems.
This is part of the Bezos Earth Fund’s $10billion commitment to fight climate change, enhance nature, and advance environmental justice and economic opportunity.
Together this $3billion in pledges will drive a new three-fold nature agenda for the Bezos Earth Fund, focused simultaneously on conservation, restoration, and food transformation.
We must conserve what we still have. We must restore what we’ve lost. And we must grow what we need to live without degrading the planet for future generations to come.
In the atmosphere molecules of carbon dioxide cause climate change and risk destroying life as we know it, but bring that carbon back down to earth through the magic of photosynthesis into trees, plants, crops and soil, and this brings life and vitality.
Today two thirds of the land in Africa is degraded but this can be reversed.
Restoration can improve soil fertility, raise yields, and improve food security, make water more reliable, create jobs and boost economic growth while also sequestering carbon.
CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos, left, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, leave the stage following a session on Action on Forests and Land Use, during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday
Continent-wide initiatives like Africa 100 and the Great Green Wall offer significant hope. They must now be scaled up.
Ahead of Cop27 next year the Bezos Earth Fund would be eager to participate in a concerted strategy led by African nations to seriously and effectively ramp up support for restoration on the continent.
However, we cannot rely only on governments, NGOs and philanthropies to solve the climate crisis.
The private sector must also play its part to reduce carbon emissions.
Companies need to take leadership positions.
Amazon has cofounded the Climate Pledge with Christiana Figueres and set a goal to reach net zero carbon by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement goals.
As part of this pledge, Amazon aims to power all its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, and is working to convert its delivery fleet to electric vehicles.
Amazon is inviting other companies to join the Climate Pledge – and more than 200 have to date.
Companies can also lead the way on nature-based solutions.
Over the past six months, Amazon partnered with leading companies, countries committed to protecting the tropical forests, and the governments of Norway, the UK and the US, to mobilise an unprecedented level of funding to fight tropical deforestation through an initiative called The Leaf Coalition.
Amazon has committed significant financial support for Leaf, and the coalition will be signing letters of intent with governments that are ready to receive support.
More details will be shared in the next session.
Let me be clear, when people hanker for the good ol’ days and glamourise the past, they are almost always wrong. By almost all metrics, life is much better today than it was in the past. Global poverty rates are lower, infant mortality and life expectancy are better, and education rates are higher.
But there is a notable exception: The natural world is not better today than it was 500 years ago when we enjoyed unspoiled forests, clean rivers and the pristine air of the pre-industrial world.
This is an unacceptable anomaly, and it’s one we can reverse. The question is simple: Will we in this room work together, do the hard work together, to gift our children and grandchildren an improving natural world?
I know the answer is yes. And I look forward to working with all of you on this important and rewarding journey. Thank you.