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Emma Thompson defends flying 5,000 miles for climate change protest

Emma Thompson defends flying 5,000 miles for climate change protest

Dame Emma Thompson has defended taking a plane from Los Angeles to London to join the climate change protests disrupting central London, saying ‘It’s very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying’.

Touching down in Heathrow last week after a 5,400 mile journey, the Oscar-winning actress, 60, was swiftly accused of hypocrisy for joining the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests.

A flight from Los Angeles International Airport to London Heathrow is estimated to generate around 1.67 tonnes of CO2 – roughly the amount a typical car will emit in four months.

However, Dame Emma told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she attempts to offset her carbon footprint by planting trees.

She said: ‘It’s very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying, although I do fly a lot less than I did.

‘But we are caught because to travel at all by aeroplane is impossible without causing damage to the planet.

‘I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to offset my carbon footprint, but most people can’t.’

The Love Actually star also said that although choosing to fly less would be ‘very difficult’, it was necessary to help protect the planet.

‘We cannot continue to use fossil fuels in the way we have been doing. It’s very difficult to let go of, a bit like smoking actually.

‘We know that fossil fuels are threatening the future of the planet.

‘Yes, it’s unhappy and an inconvenience and we’re often involved in situations where we will be hypocritical, but if we don’t address this we are failing our children and our grandchildren.

‘We should all fly less, the future of this planet is at stake and that’s perhaps more important than our own reputations.’

A number of XR protesters agree with her, with several calling for the government to limit how many flights a single person can take in a year.

Dame Emma had three final words when asked if she was interested in a career in politics: ‘Oh god no’.

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