The Committee on Climate Change has been accused of ‘rank hypocrisy’ after sending staff on taxpayer-funded international flights that pump out greenhouse gases.
The quango’s personnel have flown to destinations such as Edinburgh, Turin and Bonn rather than opting for greener alternatives.
The revelations come just days after committee chairman Lord Deben – formerly Tory Environment Secretary John Gummer — made a call for urgent action to stop global warming.
The flights costing a total of almost £10,000 are revealed in documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday using a Freedom of Information request.
One first-class return trip to Beijing on British Airways cost £5,081 and would have produced an estimated carbon footprint of 9.2 tons of CO2 – some 6.1 tons more than the equivalent journey in economy.
Passengers on board were able to enjoy unlimited glasses of the £125-a-bottle Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle champagne and a sumptuous array of dishes including Herefordshire beef, chocolate cherry cannelloni and Bleu d’Auvergne cheese.
In other cases the committee has chosen to fly rather than take the train, which would have had a far smaller carbon footprint.
This week the quango published a 90-page report urging the Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK effectively to zero by 2050.
Calling for aviation emissions to be limited to 2005 levels, Lord Deben attacked the Government’s environmental strategy, saying: ‘The whole thing is really run by the Government like a Dad’s Army. ‘We can’t go on with this ramshackle system.’