The hypocrisy of the UK Labour government and its position on climate change has been highlighted by figures that show that the total distance flown by Blair’s ministers and senior officials last year alone is equivalent to 14 return trips to the Moon. Tony Blair, his cabinet colleagues and their officials clocked up 6.5 million air miles during the 2005-2006 financial year – and in doing so pumped almost 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, analysis shows.

Environmental groups and opposition parties have criticised the huge scale of emissions. The Liberal Democrats called on ministers to cut their emissions. Chris Huhne, the party’s environment spokesman, said: “Tony Blair’s jet-set Cabinet is sending out completely the wrong message. The carbon dioxide emissions from ministerial travel are leaving an indelible footprint on our planet”.

“The Government has been warned it could miss its targets for reducing CO2 and it is now time for ministers to start setting an example. The Government has failed completely to tackle the problem of aviation pollution. Not only is it wasting taxpayers’ money taking expensive and unnecessary flights, including many to Brussels and Paris for which there is an easy alternative.”