David Miliband brings shame on the family

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has asked to get his own private jet. Even when Blair and the royals were refused them last year on environmental grounds, Miliband has the gall to put his perceived needs before all else. Apparently the former Secretary of State for the Environment needs a special plane because... other people have one.

Flying, even in a commercial jet, is one of the worst things you can do in terms of carbon emissions. So for Ministers to demand their own private jet epitomises the lack of understanding, leadership and commitment to environmental issues that we have seen from this government. We can only hope that Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Climate Change and David’s brother, will give David a good talking to around the family kitchen table.

Not wanting to unfairly berate a public figure, I did some calculations to see what kind of environmental impact this would have. If Miliband took a return flight to Washington he would use approximately 73 tons of CO2. That is over 7 times the average annual emissions for one person living in the UK. Say it again to yourself, slowly. Seven times you or my annual CO2 emissions. On one return flight. Unless Miliband is literally defecating rainforests he won't be able to offsetting these flights.

This comes at a bad time for Government, who just announced that it was unlikely to hit its own emissions reduction target of 12.5 % by 2011-12. No wonder, with officals and Ministers trying to fly everwhere. The Sustainable Development Commission argued that civil servants shouldn't be able to fly domestically or to EU destinations easily reachable by train. I don’t think it even crossed their minds that anyone would be so audacious as to demand a bloody private jet!