Not for Thee, But for Me: The Twin Life of Climate Hypocrites

By Vijay Jayaraj | February 3, 2020 | 3:33pm EST
 Leonardo DiCaprio attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Leonardo DiCaprio attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Certain politicians are known for their proclivity for being hypocritical. An infiltration of this hypocrisy into climate change governance was all but inevitable when the global efforts to understand climate change morphed into a pseudo-scientific political movement.

Unlike the scaremongering that dominates our headlines, most of these hypocritical lifestyles of the elitists never make the headlines on popular mainstream news media.

When was the last time CNN, BBC or the Guardian—outlets that vilify fossil fuels on an everyday basis—criticized Al Gore, Greta Thunberg or Leonardo Di Caprio for failing to practice what they preach? The answer would be never.


The Davos meet was the most recent global event, and the twin life of climate warriors was at full display. The climate elitists arrived in private jets, emitting as much as 15 times more greenhouse gases per person than they would have emitted had they flown economy class.

At Davos, Prince Charles’s picture with Greta Thunberg made global headlines. But the same media failed to point out Prince Charles’ private jet use in the previous two weeks, which amounted to 16,000 miles (in 11 days) using a helicopter and three private jets. His carbon dioxide emissions from these private jet journeys were certainly higher than the lifetime emissions of many poor people I know here in India.

Leonardo DiCaprio, a Hollywood celebrity known across the world, has been one of the most vocal climate alarmists. Yet, he uses private jets and a private yacht that emit many times more greenhouse gases than commercial options.

Al Gore, another high-profile climate elite, has made millions through his climate advocacy and the ensuing boom in the renewable energy sector (wind turbines and solar panels) and “carbon trading.” Yet, instead of decreasing his carbon footprint, as he scolds everyone else to do, there are signs that he has increased at least one part of it, as he used more electricity for his Tennessee house in 2016 than in 2007, including one month in which he used 34 times the amount of electricity an average family uses over 34 months. 

Imagine the irony of selling renewable tech to “save the planet” while doing this and making millions on climate fear-mongering. That is Al Gore.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), preacher of the radical Green New Deal (GND), is another emerging global icon of climate hypocrisy. AOC is determined to implement the unrealistic GND if Sen. Bernie Sanders gets elected as President in 2020. In it, she crusades against air travel, yet she flies in planes herself. AOC also apparently accompanied her former chief of staff during a hamburger meal, despite crusading against beef.

Greta Thunberg, the child activist, wants the poor in developing countries to abandon fossil fuel, thereby denying them an opportunity to move above the poverty line. As a person who witnesses poverty on an everyday basis, I recommend that Greta does not meddle with the development goals of poor nations or threaten the democratically elected leaders of sovereign nations, as she has done, repeatedly.

In fact, I dare to suggest that Greta should be held accountable for undermining the democracy and the judiciary in Third World nations, besides disseminating misinformation to millions through her Twitter feed and lying about her train journeys.

Hypocrisy has been the theme of most of the annual global climate meets. Thousands fly across the globe, emitting thousands of tonnes of CO2, while pretending to be climate saviors.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, the man proud of producing electric cars to the earth from global warming, clocked at least 150,000 miles in his private jet in just one year.

The argument here is not that these emissions from climate elitists are wrong, but that the climate elitists are denying the same privileges to the common people. Also, people are free to make millions in a free market. But should they do it while misleading others and not practicing what they preach? 

We have a group of celebrity climate activists—made up of politicians, celebrities, student activists, radical environmental groups, and even sold-out scientists—who dictate restrictive lifestyle practices for the masses, but seldom practice them themselves.

Simply put, a bunch of climate aristocrats are trying to force the masses into accepting restrictive economic and energy policies that they justify based on a mythical doomsday narrative that has no relevance to the real world.

Suppose climate doomsday really is approaching. What sense does it make for the poor and needy to suffer to stave it off, while elites, basking in luxury and making millions, emit tens to thousands of times as much of the carbon dioxide they demand the poor stop emitting?

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), is a Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.


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