Boris Johnson put on a big show for Joe Biden and the other G7 leaders with a spectacular Red Arrows flyby pumping out paint in the colours of the UK flag as they swooped in formation over the clear blue Cornish skies.
But environmental activists were less impressed and accused the PM of greenwash after he flew to Cornwall in a private jet and then had the Red Arrows jets as entertainment at a conference to discuss environmental issues.
Members and supporters of Extinction Rebellion walked through the town of Falmouth playing drums, chanting and displaying artwork campaigning against the use of fossil fuels, during their second day of protests.
Just after 8pm, the Red Arrows set off from Carbis Bay and looped round into an arc shape several times before splitting off.
Residents at St Ives harbour cheered with delight when the famous jets moved into formation.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) June 12, 2021
Several members of the public were seen taking pictures on their phones and filming the famous red, white and blue paint ejecting into Cornwall’s bright blue sky.
— 7 ₿lue Ra₿₿its(⋈) CO ₂ 3.4t pa 💎🙌 (@DavidWa20090980) June 12, 2021
One activist accused Boris Johnson of only pretending to care about environmental issues. He told Sky News: “Boris flies down here on a private jet, he sends the Red Arrows spinning around the bay. It is called green wash to pretend you care about the environment whilst actively destroying it.”
Another resident tweeted: “Just saw Red Arrows fly over my house. As much as I love the spectacle it is utterly pointless to create more bloody emissions #G7”.
I've always loved watching the red arrows but nothing quite says taking the #ClimateCrisis and #EcologicalCrisis seriously like sending 9 Hawk T1s up into the sky for 7 nations "committed" to meaningful #climateaction 😞🤷🏻♀️😢 https://t.co/bpNRmXfZMZ
— Kate (@seatedwarrior) June 12, 2021
Wayne Flynn, 55, bus driver, who is from Leeds but in Cornwall for a holiday, said he enjoyed the display.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen it real life,” he said. “It’s really good – I hope it’s pollution free though because of the G7.
“It’s certainly attracted a few people round here. I’ve always known about it as a kid. I’ve seen it on TV, but not for real.
“I’d go and see it again now if I could, it’s really good. I’d recommend it to people.”
But one resident felt slightly let down by the show itself.
@rafredarrows the red arrows in Cornwall, what the hell was that! I have seen you before at other events and you were perfect, on point. But over Cornwall during the G7 summit, slow, out of sync, trying to catch each other. B-. Do better next time.
— Brian Fleming (@brianfleming01) June 12, 2021
Earlier in the day, the possibility that the Covid-19 pandemic was triggered by a leak from a Chinese laboratory was discussed by G7 leaders, the head of the World Health Organisation said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “it was raised” and “we discussed about the origins”.
A WHO investigation into the origin of the pandemic has not ruled out any theory behind the outbreak.
A team of experts from WHO and China said in February that the virus was “extremely unlikely” to have entered the human population as a result of a laboratory-related incident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But the WHO has said “all hypotheses still remain on the table” and wants to carry out a second phase of its work, while US President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into the origins, including the leak theory.
Those leaders attending G7 – India’s Narendra Modi is participating remotely because of the coronavirus crisis in his country – will close the day at a beach barbeque, toasting marshmallows around fire pits while drinking buttered rum and listening to sea shanties.