Google is holding its annual “meeting of the minds” summit—dubbed “Google Camp”—in Sicily, and this year, Google has invited billionaires and celebrities to a three-day, top-secret event at a luxury resort to discuss fighting climate change and making the world a better place. Guests arrived to the climate change summit in a fleet of private jets and yachts, undermining the event before it even began, and spewing enough carbon dioxide to rival a small nation.
Among the 300 guests in attendance for the summit—which reportedly cost Google $20 million—were former President Barack Obama, Prince Harry, Leonardo DiCaprio, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Priyanka Chopra, and Harry Stiles. Most of the guests are in agreement that climate change is the biggest threat to future generations (it is), and some are quite active in addressing pressing environmental issues, like DiCaprio, who has a foundation dedicated to tackling the climate crisis, and Perry, who uses her position as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to tackle climate change. Only time will tell if they address their own careless and significant impact on the environment but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
According to Italian press reports, a total of 114 private jets are expected to land at Sicily’s Palermo Airport until August 4th. A 2017 report by the Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank based in Washington D.C. dedicated to climate justice and equitable societies, found that a single private jet trip burns more greenhouse gases than the average American does in an entire year. In addition to the fleet of jets, some of the guests arrived in opulent, multi-million-dollar yachts. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and her husband, businessman Barry Diller, arrived on a $200 million yacht which has two 2,300-horsepower diesel engines. At least six other similar super yachts were reported being docked at the resort, including a 351-foot mega-yacht complete with its own helipad owned by New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart.
I’m loathed to be citing the right-wing New York Post or any of its affiliates, but they have done the math and found that 114 first class seats from Los Angeles to Palermo, Sicily, would emit an estimated 784,000 kilograms of CO2 into the air. They have also determined that more than 300 gallons of diesel fuel is burned by the private yachts per hour. They have also reported that several of the celebrities have been spotted driving luxury SUVs, including a Maserati SUV that gets approximately 15 mpg in cities. It’s understandable that people are upset or even angry at the idea of the rich and famous lecturing the average person about being environmentally conscious while they’re off galivanting in private jets and mega-yachts, spewing literal tons of pollutants into the air, without a care for their own impact. It makes them seem like hypocrites. They care about the climate crisis, but only until it affects their comfort. Instead of 114 private jets and half a dozen super-yachts, all 300 guest could have made the trip in a single Boeing 747 with plenty of room to spare. Apparently, they’re too good for that.
I’d sooner believe that the event was a meeting of the illuminati or an Eyes Wide Shut style sex-party than the event being a serious discussion about climate change. But don’t worry, whatever serious discussion about climate, if any, that they had wasn’t too taxing on the guests. Morning discussions were followed by afternoons and evenings of relaxation, food, and drink before retiring to their suites, no doubt after a long day of saving the world. This “Google Camp” is little more than a gathering of some of the world’s most rich and famous glitterati patting themselves on the back for how amazing and altruistic they think they are, all the while puking tons of CO2 into the air. At least we can all take some small comfort in the fact that the guests did face some punishment for their actions, since they were subjected to a performance from Coldplay’s Chris Martin during their dinner.
(Image: Verdura Resort)