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FACT CHECK: Spain's environment minister didn't fly to climate summit in private jet

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
FACT CHECK: Spain's environment minister didn't fly to climate summit in private jet
Fact-checking and left-wing publications have proven that the ecological transition minister did not travel to Valladolid from Madrid by private jet. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Spain’s environment minister has gone viral after riding a bike whilst escorted by security vehicles, with even UFC fighter Conor McGregor weighing in on the ironic stunt. What isn't true is that she flew to a climate summit by private jet.


Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera has caused a storm on social media after being filmed riding a bicycle to a European climate crisis summit in the northern Spanish city of Valladolid whilst escorted by at least two private security vehicles.

The ironic scenario was picked up by Spanish media and it wasn’t long before right-wing opponents of the Socialists shared it on their social media profiles. 

But as if it were a game of Chinese whispers, an important detail was added to the mix.


“She comes in Falcon (Spain’s presidential plane) from Madrid to bike around Valladolid and she has the audacity to lecture us on caring for the environment,” Juan García-Gallardo, vice president of Spain’s Castilla y León region and minister for far-right Vox party, tweeted alongside a video of Ribera.

It wasn’t long before prominent alt-right English-language Twitter accounts retweeted this, such as Dr. Eli David, who wrote: “A Spanish minister flies on a private jet to attend a climate conference. She then drives on a motorcade, and a 100 meters before the venue she gets off and takes a bicycle, as her two security cars follow her 🤡”, alongside the hashtag #climatehypocrisy.

Even Irish UFC fighter Conor McGregor retweeted the message and the video, adding as well his own take on events: “Ridiculous carry on. Enough! Either walk it, talk it, live it, breath it. Or shut it!”.

That video share alone has had 7.5 million views, and there are countless other tweets slamming the cringeworthy and, let’s face it, pretty hypocritical stunt by Teresa Ribera and her team. 

Canadian media commentator Jordan Peterson, who has more than 4 million Twitter followers, also tweeted about Ribera twice saying "you cannot retweet this enough times" and "I just can't stop smiling about this".

However, a number of fact-checking and left-wing publications such as have proven that the ecological transition minister did not travel the short distance between Madrid and Valladolid in the Spanish prime ministerial aircraft Falcon.

They did so by checking the records of, a website which documents all the flights of the governmental plane used by Pedro Sánchez and his ministers, paid for by taxpayers.

This showed that the Falcon took off from Madrid after Ribera shared a photo of herself in Valladolid using one of the local electric rental bikes.


Popular Party spokesperson Borja Sémper, one of the Spanish politicians who retweeted the fake news, has since apologised. But the private jet claims continue undisputed on most social media channels.

It’s worth noting that Spain's environment ministry did change their version of how Ribera had travelled to Valladolid, initially claiming it was by train and then admitting it was by car.

There’s no denying that a private jet travelling 200 kilometres has far more polluting capacity than a motor vehicle, but Ribera’s failure to see the irony of getting on a bicycle on your way to a climate conference whilst forming part of a motorcade is comical at best. 

What’s also clear is that as Spain prepares to hold its national election on July 23rd politicians on both the right and left are willing to do whatever it takes to win votes, even lie and spread fake news, as hard as that may be to believe.


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