Google’s eco-warriors forget to check their privilege

Google's eco-warriors forget to check their privilege
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It's well known that all good Silicon Valley billionaires these days have one issue that is firmly at the top of their agenda. So it's no surprise that when the owners of the tech behemoth Google hosted their seventh 'Google Camp' – a private, three day conference for the rich and famous on the southwest coast of Sicily – they chose climate change as the theme for their party.

While the guest-list for the event remains a closely-guarded secret, it's been reported that pretty much every member of the elite who is committed to tackling climate change – and used to lecturing other people about their carbon footprint – is in attendance. Barack Obama, Orlando Bloom and Leonardo DiCaprio are said to have made it to the party, and even the UK's own Prince Harry was reported to have given a speech for the 300 guests.

You would expect then, considering the theme of the event, and that these superstars have strident positions on the urgency of tackling climate change, that the guests of Google's shindig would be incredibly conscious about their own impact on the environment as they made their way to the conference.

Apparently not though. Local Italian media has reported that 114 private jets have already been cleared to land at Palermo airport for the camp, with 40 private jets arriving on a single Sunday, and an armada of superyachts spewing out fumes have descended on the Sicilian coast. Mr S notes that if the guests heading to their climate change seminars took 114 flights from LA to Palermo, that would produce a whopping 88,920 kilos of CO2.

Could that be the whiff of hypocrisy coming from Google's glitzy climate change camp? Perhaps. Then again, maybe it's just the smell of diesel...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to

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