Sunak and Cameron have publicly clashed over big issues
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. AFP News

The UK government has come under fire after it came to light that the Prime Minister, the King, and Foreign Secretary David Cameron will be travelling in separate jets to attend a climate change summit in Dubai.

The development has been confirmed by Downing Street in a statement issued to address the criticism being faced by government representatives. The prime minister's official spokesperson said that the government is not against flying and that the jets will also be using sustainable aviation fuel.

"We are not anti-flying. We do not seek to restrict the public from doing so and it's important the UK has strong attendance at Cop28, given we continue to be a world leader in tackling climate change," said Sunak's office.

The statement further added: "This government's approach to tackling climate change, as we have set out repeatedly, is not about banning or reducing people from flying. It is through investing in new technologies of the future, as evidenced by the flight just yesterday using sustainable aviation fuel."

However, the explanation has not gone down well with opposition parties and leaders. Sunak, along with Cameron, are being slammed for wasting taxpayers' money with their "elite actions".

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer highlighted that a private jet produces more carbon than the average person emits in a year. This is not the first time that Sunak has come under scrutiny for his alleged "elite" actions.

Earlier this year, he faced criticism for travelling in an RAF jet for official visits. He travelled to Blackpool from London on the plane before flying back to Darlington.

"It seems like the PM is getting too used to flying around in private jets that he's forgotten to wear a seat belt in a car," Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said then.

King Charles III and Rishi Sunak, along with other world leaders, will be gathering in Dubai over the next two weeks for the annual UN climate summit, COP28.

The COP in COP28 stands for "Conference of the Parties" that have signed the 1992 UN climate agreement. It is the 28th annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting, where countries will discuss how to tackle and stop climate change. The summit is being held from November 30 until December 12, 2023.

The big picture:

According to a study by the Transport & Environment campaign group, private jets are 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger.

Earlier this year, an investigation by Greenpeace showed how big the private jet industry has become. Every six minutes, a private plane takes off in the UK, with appalling statistics showing a 75% spike in the luxury means of travel in the country in a year.

No country in Europe has a bigger private jet trend than the UK, where 90,256 flights took off last year, emitting half a million tonnes of CO2.

Out of those flights, the majority were just a few short miles or between capital cities such as London and Paris, which are conveniently connected by speedy trains that produce a fraction of the emissions per passenger.