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Mr Sharma, president of the COP26 climate summit, took the trip in a bid to persuade Chinese officials to agree targets for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Accommodation, meals and visas added another £18,000. In total he flew 150,000 miles to 37 countries at a total cost of £250,000 in less than a year to gain support for the agreement signed in Glasgow last November.
Benny Peiser, of campaigners Net Zero Watch, said the private jet “was completely wasted given that China’s assurances to Alok Sharma were dropped just before the COP deal was signed so that they can continue burning coal forever.”
China and India vetoed a pledge to scrap fossil fuels for the phrase “phase down” instead.
Whitehall said there were no scheduled flights to the Chinese city of Tianjin, forcing Mr Sharma to book a private jet.
It added that the face-to-face meetings were “vital to ensuring success in negotiations”.
John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said “politicians can practise what they preach and do the same”.
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