Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
A parliamentary petition backed by 500,000 people failed to bar Donald Trump from the United Kingdom, but the controversial US presidential candidate and climate change skeptic now faces a new deterrent: a fine for the carbon pollution from one of his enormous private jets.
The Bahrain Royal family, 21st Century Fox America, the company chaired by Rupert Murdoch, and British construction vehicle manufacturers JCB have also been asked to pay up for flights to and from the UK.
The Environment Agency, which is responsible for enforcing the European Union's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in the UK, has issued over £750,000 (roughly $1.1 million) in fines to a total of 25 operators for "failure to surrender sufficient allowances to cover annual reportable emissions".
The ETS requires polluters to surrender a carbon permit for every metric ton of carbon pollution emitted, or pay a €100 ($109) per ton fine. Permits are given to many air operators for free but can be bought if needed for about €8 ($8.72) currently.
Donald Trump faces a £1,610 ($2,339) penalty for a flight to the UK in a plane owned by DJT Operations I LLC, possibly the $100 million Boeing 757 he uses as a private jet, complete with master bedroom and gold taps. The 757 is 54 meters long and usually carries 200-300 passengers. Trump opened his golf course in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 2012, the period covered by the fines published on 5 January.
The ETS is intended to limit carbon emissions and reduce climate change. This is unlikely to impress Trump, who has called climate change "bullshit" and a concept "created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive." Hope Hicks, Trump's campaign communications manager, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Bahrain royal family has been hit with a heftier fine, £60,698 ($88,275), while 21st Century Fox America was fined £17,463 ($25,397).
The 25 operators fined include a series of private jet operators, insurance giant AIG, Air India, and a "MIG Russian Aircraft," which was not a military plane. JCB Ltd was hit with the biggest fine of £157,596 ($229,197)
"The EU Emissions Trading System is an important means of regulating emissions from aviation operators," said Liz Parkes, Environment Agency deputy director of climate change and business services. "The Environment Agency's enforcement activity is part of coordinated action across Europe." Confidentiality rules mean the EA is unable to disclose whether fines have been paid or not.
Additional reporting by Scott Bixby in New York.