Media Hype Davos Climate Change Focus as 1,700 Private Jets Fly In

As media outlets focused on the World Economic Forum’s plans to address climate change it ignored the hypocrisy of the huge number of private jets flying world leaders and celebrities to that conference.

Roughly 1,700 private planes will head to Davos, Switzerland for the 2015 World Economic Forum. That doesn’t include commercial air travel or any other method of transit to the conference. Ironically, the top article featured on the “Agenda” section of the World Economic Forum website on Jan. 19, boldly stated that “[d]ecarbonising the global economy in a matter of decades is the number one priority.”

According to Newsweek, former vice president Al Gore will be speaking at Davos “to stress the importance of tackling climate change.”

USA Today hyped the global gathering and specifically mentioned climate change as one of the “global wounds that require bandaging.” There was no mention of the huge carbon expenditures the trip would require or the number of private jets flying to Davos.

The Huffington Post noted that “it's a bit ironic to discuss climate change at Davos, a remote location in Switzerland that requires a tremendous carbon footprint to even get to,” but didn’t call out attendees for hypocrisy. Huffington Post chair, president and editor-in chief Arianna Huffington will attend the conference.The left-wing website also hyped highlights from last year’s climate change discussions at Davos.

It was CNN Money that reported, “Roughly 1,700 private flights are expected over the course of the week, which is twice as many as normal.” That article also noted that “[t]raffic is expected to rise 5% compared to last year's event.” Ninety spaces will be reserved for private jets at two major airports in Switzerland, and increased travel was also expected at two more airports.

In addition to all those private flights, there will be many helicopter rides between the Zurich Airport and Davos. CNN reported that last year helicopter traffic from that airport increased from five flights a day to “54 flights on a single busy day.”

Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella
Mike Ciandella is a research analyst for the MRC's News Analysis Division