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Dame Emma Thompson: We’re all going to have to fly less

Dame Emma Thompson joins Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Oxford Circus in London (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Dame Emma Thompson joins Extinction Rebellion demonstrators at Oxford Circus in London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Dame Emma Thompson has defended flying from Los Angeles to London to join climate change protests, saying: “It’s very difficult to do my job without occasionally flying.”

The actress was last week criticised for hypocrisy after taking the 5,400 mile journey to join Extinction Rebellion (XR) demonstrators in the capital.

Dame Emma told BBC radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday that she understood the criticism, but said she offsets her carbon footprint by planting trees.

Extinction Rebellion protests
Dame Emma Thompson addresses Extinction Rebellion demonstrators (Jonathan Brady/PA)

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 60-year-old, whose credits include Sense And Sensibility and Love Actually, went on: “We should all fly less. We’re all going to have to fly less.

“It will be inevitable in our lives because we cannot continue to use fossil fuels in the way that we have been doing. It’s very difficult to let go of, it’s a bit like smoking actually.

“We do now know that fossil fuels are threatening the future of the planet so yes it’s unhappy and an inconvenience and indeed 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.

“The future of this planet is at stake and that’s perhaps more important than our own reputations.”

Asked if she is tempted to go into politics, Dame Emma replied: “Oh god no”.

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