In the wake of the G7 Summit in Germany, PACK & SEND’s latest study reveals which G7 leaders have travelled the most (or least) internationally for administrative duties and who has generated the most travel-related CO2 emissions since coming into power.
Collectively, the G7 leaders have travelled over 1 million miles internationally while in office.
However, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes the top spot for most miles travelled internationally with 422,470. This is almost the same distance as a return trip to the moon.
While Trudeau has been in office the longest compared to the rest of the G7 leaders (2,429 days), he’s only second-highest for the amount of time in role spent away internationally (8.7%) proportionately.
Second in the total travel stakes is French President Emmanuel Macron, having travelled 376,391 miles by plane for administrative duties. Despite having the second-highest amount of mileage, Macron is number one for proportionately spending the highest amount of time out of the country (13.8%).
The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson has travelled the third-highest number of miles internationally for administrative duties with 79,640. This is the equivalent of going around the world three times over.
That said, when comparing the time in role spent travelling internationally, Johnson is significantly lower than his G7 counterparts with a mere four percent, despite being the third-longest in office.
This will be music to Johnson’s ears after falling under fire at last year’s G7 summit in Cornwall, for travelling to Cornwall from London by plane, instead of taking the train.
Fumio Kishida (67,714), Joe Biden (49,870), Mario Draghi (32,897) and Olaf Scholz (28,354) complete the remaining four spots for most air miles travelled when undertaking international duties when in office, respectively.
We also analysed how much CO2 each leader generated due to their air mileage and how many trees would need to be required to absorb the CO2 produced.
Unsurprisingly, Justin Trudeau takes the top spot with a staggering 51,285 Kg of CO2 produced by the number of air miles he’s collected over the years since being in office. This would require 2051 trees planted to absorb the CO2 emitted.
However, Canada recently revealed plans to cut emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and to be on track towards achieving a net-zero emissions status by 2050. The Canadian Prime Minister explained, “the country will have to show more commitment to climate targets than it has to date”.
Will this mean Trudeau reduces the number of international trips going forward to set an example for his country?
Emmanuel Macron follows very closely in second place with 51,254 KG of CO2 produced, resulting in 2050 trees needing to be planted to cancel out the emissions created from his international travel. Recently, Macron promised a complete renewal of his climate policy, pledging to improve railways, electric cars and transport and reduce air pollution across Europe, while encouraging commuters to use sustainable transport.
Macron’s tally is a staggering 14 times more than the G7’s newest leader – Germany’s Olaf Scholz – whose mere 3642 KG of CO2 would require only 146 trees to offset the CO2 emitted in comparison.
Mike Ryan, our Chief Executive, commented:
“While leaders have come under fire for their mode of transport when travelling – most recently at the COP26 in November 2021 – aviation only accounts for 14 percent of EU greenhouse gas emissions.
“No doubt the global pandemic has contributed to lower travel levels for those voted into power in the last two years, and we hope that they will opt for environmentally friendly travel options as restrictions reduce, but in a world that is increasingly interdependent it is understandable that global leaders meet in-person to effectively address issues that affect us all.”
*This project focuses specifically on the Heads of State and/or Government that are members of the G7 and attending the G7-Summit 2022.
PACK & SEND collected a list of the international trips undertaken by each member since starting their role, up to and including the G7-Summit 2022. Data was collected on 20th June 2022. For Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden, and Mario Draghi, it used Wikipedia.
For Olaf Scholz, PACK & SEND reviewed news articles to find mentions of international travel since starting his role, and found relevant information in the following articles:
And for Fumio Kishida, the following news articles were relevant:
Trips for leisure purposes, E.G. Christmas vacations and theatre trips, were excluded, as were those with ambiguous dates, E.G. going to Mali in December for an unspecified amount of time.
Where members visited multiple places within one country on a single trip, domestic travel was not recorded, and the first place listed was used to identify an airport. When assigning an airport to each location, PACK & SEND used the nearest or most prominent airport.
Where trips end and begin on consecutive days, the destination of the first trip was used as the starting location for the second trip due to the assumption that members had taken a shorter
overnight flight rather than travelling to their home country again. For example, where a member is in Africa on Day 1 and a different place in Africa on Day 2, PACK & SEND assume they did not travel back to Europe in between.
Where members travelled to more than one country in one day, for example visiting both France and Germany, this was counted as one day away.
To work out the number of miles travelled and kg of C02 produced by each member, PACK & SEND
used the Air Miles Calculator.
To work out the number of days each member has spent in their role up to and including the final date of the G7-Summit (28th June 2022), PACK & SEND used the Date-to-Date Calculator. For the time in role spent away, the number of days away were divided by number of days in role and times by 100 to get a percentage.
The number of trees required to absorb the C02 produced from each member’s travel was worked out by dividing the total C02 by 25 (the number of kilograms of C02 the average trees absorbs each year according to EcoTree).
We acknowledge this analysis doesn’t consider private jets, nor does it know specific airports, flight routes, etc.