When Joe Biden and 85-vehicle motorcade drove to meet Pope, days before COP26

Prominent world leaders descended in Glasgow recently to participate in the COP26 summit on climate change and to lay the path ahead to battle against what is widely seen as a mammoth threat to the planet and to mankind. With the common objective of capping emission levels to take on the challenge, heads of state elaborated on respective plans and proposals. But while the cause may have been noble and views nobler still, the irony of US President Joe Biden travelling in an 85-vehicle motorcade just days prior and to meet Pope Francis has been highlighted by many protesting environmental groups.

File photo of the presidential limousine in which US Presidents travel. (REUTERS)
File photo of the presidential limousine in which US Presidents travel.

The US President travels within the country and on foreign soil in an elaborate arrangement primarily to ensure safety and security. And while Biden has previously stated he is open to the idea of having electric vehicles in his security fleet, every single vehicle in his motorcade at the Vatican was a gas-guzzling machine.

The long motorcade made way to Vatican from the residence of US ambassador in Rome.

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It is important to point out here that the motorcade of a US President does consist of several vehicles but 85 vehicles may have been even more than standard. Reports suggest that this long motorcade was necessitated by Covid-related restrictions in Italy which limits the number of people that can be inside a single vehicle.

Many took to Twitter to point out the irony of 85 vehicles in the Vatican - all running on fossil fuels - just days before a summit for the planet and to battle climate change. It has been pointed out that while the Presidential limousine itself leaves a large carbon footprint, most of the other vehicles in the motorcade were big vehicles - vans and SUVs - which usually always have less mileage, especially when retrofitted with additional and cutting-edge security screens.

First Published Date: 02 Nov 2021, 10:04 AM IST
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