As world leaders took private jets to COP26, Swiss delegates took the train

As world leaders took private jets to COP26, Swiss delegates took the train

As world leaders and delegates were criticised for taking private planes to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), the Swiss delegation decided to take a 16-hour journey by train.

World leaders accused of hypocrisy at COP26 in Glasgow

The climate conference is seen as one of the most important events to determine climate change policy around the world. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the world was at “one minute to midnight” in regard to climate change, and that major action to change energy, transportation, driving and industry was needed to get to "net-zero" carbon emissions.

Switzerland must also prepare for climate change, with MeteoSwiss reporting that the alpine nation may suffer increased temperatures, shorter or non-existent ski seasons in the mountains, and flooding in rivers and lakes. Despite not being affected as much as other nations, Switzerland would still see significant changes.

However, as the conference got underway, the focus of the public moved away from the conference itself, and instead onto how world leaders and key speakers chose to arrive. There was harsh criticism of some leaders, celebrities and delegations from Europe who chose to take private jets to Glasgow, which some media outlets branded as “hypocritical.”

Swiss delegation took the 16-hour train ride from Bern to the UK

Switzerland’s delegation, on the other hand, chose to take public transport all the way from Bern to Scotland’s second city, in a journey that took over 16 hours. The train service included stops in Basel, Paris, and a dash through central London, before arriving in Glasgow to attend the conference. Under current government rules, they would have been allowed to fly, but chose not to in what World Radio Switzerland described as a move “designed to set an example.”

Despite the majority of the delegation taking the train, members of the Federal Council, like President Guy Parmelin, Councillor Sommaruga and Councillor Maurer did fly to COP26, but the Swiss government stressed that all CO2 emissions generated by Switzerland at the conference would be offset.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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