Elton John defended Harry and Meghan amid a furious row over their use of private jets. Picture: Reuters

London - Sir Elton John’s claims that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private jet flights were carbon neutral were dismissed by Greenpeace’s chief scientist.

The 72-year-old "Rocketman" singer defended Harry and Meghan amid a furious row over their use of private jets.

He revealed on social media that he paid for the eco-warrior couple’s luxury flights to Nice, saying that he had made a donation to offset their carbon footprint.

But on Tuesday Doug Parr of Greenpeace said that "carbon offsetting" was not a solution to the climate crisis.

He insisted: "Carbon offsetting is not a meaningful response to aviation emissions. Good works can be done with cash out into offset schemes, but it is no solution."

WATCH: Harry and Meghan under fire for private jet use

Parr’s comments came after Sir Elton insisted Harry and Meghan’s return flights to the French Riviera – where they stayed in his and husband David Furnish’s £15-million (R280 million) palatial villa – were carbon neutral. 

The rock star said he had offset the damage caused to the environment by the two gas-guzzling flights on a £15m Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign jet by "making the appropriate contribution" to an ecological company called Carbon Footprint.

The firm encourages people to "offset" the carbon emissions they rack up by making donations to renewable energy projects.

The return flight taken by Harry, 34, and Meghan, 38, from Farnborough Airport in Southampton to Nice is estimated to have created a carbon footprint of around six tons – producing seven times more carbon emissions per person than a return commercial flight.

However, Carbon Footprint only asks for a donation of £6 (about R110) per ton to "offset" harmful emissions. It means that Sir Elton could have paid as little as £36.

Dr Parr added: "There’s no way any current tech deals with the load of CO2 you’ve released on a personal level."

He added: "These are good schemes, and they have positive outcomes, but they are things we should be doing anyway. But they’re not taking out CO2.

"In our world, where we need to get to net zero CO2, they don’t constitute equivalence."

Daily Mail