THE jets of world leaders pledging to fight climate change at COP26 have been pictured exclusively for The National at Prestwick Airport.

Our photographs, taken by staff photographer Colin Mearns, show the planes lined up at the Ayrshire facility having pumped thousands of tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere on their journeys to Scotland.

Large jets from the Colombian air force and Honduran air force were also among those pictured at Prestwick airport this evening.

Experts have said the private jet flights into Scotland of hundreds of world leaders will produce more global warming gas than 1600 Scots burn through in a year with groups accusing the VIPs of double standards.

Private jets have been branded “rank climate hypocrisy” and the “nadir of carbon inequality”.

Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns at Global Justice Now, said: "It’s sheer hypocrisy that so many leaders and businesspeople have chosen to fly to a global climate summit on high emission private jets - and highlights the huge global inequality when it comes to flying.

"It’s just a small global elite who are responsible for the vast majority of emissions from flying, with 1% of the world’s population being responsible for more than half the global climate emissions from aviation.

“We don’t need billionaires who’ve profited from the climate crisis to jet in and preach to us. We need those people and companies to pay their taxes so that governments can finance a transition that empowers workers and frontline communities – and we need to stop giving the aviation industry an easy ride over its part in the climate emergency."



The National:

Aircraft, private jets and aircraft from air forces, including the Colombian air force and Honduran air force pictured at Prestwick airport this evening Tuesday. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Joe Biden’s Air Force One is among the jets which touched down in Scotland  – one of two aircraft the US President’s entourage uses to travel around the world. His plane landed in Edinburgh on Monday.

The National:

A Japanese aircraft pictured at Prestwick airport this evening Tuesday. World leaders gathered at the UN COP26 climate summit  in Glasgow today and yesterday. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also travelled to the summit by plane with Downing Street defending his mode of transport on the grounds of time and diary constraints.

Unlike most of the VIPs, Royal couple William and Kate arrived in Glasgow by train at Central Station yesterday.

The National:

An Aerolinas Argentinas (Argentina) aircraft pictured at Prestwick airport this evening. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

An average private jet journey emits 10 times as much greenhouse gases per person as the same trip on an economy class flight, and 150 times more than a rail trip.

The total warming impacts from private jet flights from UK airports amounts to around one million tonnes of CO2 each year.

The National:

Prince William and Kate pictured at Glasgow's Central Station on Monday. Photo Colin Mearns.

Despite the heavy environmental toll of air travel, all jet fuel is tax free.

At the weekend Leo Murray, co-author of a 2019 report on aviation and climate policy, told the Sunday Mail: “Fossil fuel powered private jets represent the nadir of carbon inequality.

"Their persistent use in the context of the escalating climate crisis can no longer be justified.”

The National:

Joe Biden's Air Force One arriving at Edinburgh Airport on Monday. Photo Gordon Terris.

Labour MP Nadia Whittome tweeted: "A private jet produces 10 times the emissions per person as an economy class flight. World leaders used 400 private jets for COP26, emitting as much CO2 as 1,600 Scottish people do a year."