‘Climate criminal’: Celebrities rapped over jet use

  • 3 min read
  • Aug 05, 2022

‘Climate criminal’: Celebrities rapped over jet use

US pop star Taylor Swift tops list of worst private emitters – AFP copyright Sajad HUSSAIN

Colin Daquelin and Mathilde Dumazet

From a 14-minute flight on Drake’s private jet to Taylor Swift’s carbon footprint, celebrities are trying to extinguish the firestorm of emissions from their jets amid the climate crisis.

There was outrage in July when reality star Kylie Jenner posted a picture of her and her partner, rapper Travis Scott, in front of two jets with the caption: “Do you want mine or yours?” shared to his 364 million Instagram users, erupted.

Critics on social media were quick to attack Jenner, calling her a “climate criminal.”

Then last week, British sustainable marketing company Yard named and shamed the “worst offenders of private jet CO2 emissions” among celebrities.

US pop star Taylor Swift, who is usually used to number one on the music charts, headlined an unenviable list, which sparked a wave of social media outrage, memes and jokes that showed her jumping off her jet to pick up Uses food.

Yard said his jet has flown 170 times since January, totaling 8,293.54 tons of greenhouse gas emissions for the year, or 1,184.8 times more than the average person.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather came in second, followed by rapper Jay-Z.

At number seven is Jenner’s half-sister, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who recently showed off the interior of her cashmere-clad jet. Rapper Scott was 10th and Jenner herself 19th.

The Yard cautioned that its list “is not definitive of the biggest offenders” because it is based on the Celebrity Jets Twitter account, which tracks flights thanks to public data. It was also impossible to determine whether these stars were present in all recorded flights.

Swift’s publicist told the outlet: “Taylor’s jet is constantly being loaned out to other people. “To attribute most or all of these journeys to him is patently false.”

While Drake escaped the top 10, the Canadian rapper faced heat during a 14-minute flight between Toronto and Hamilton in July, especially after he said Drake’s plane was empty.

“It’s just them taking the planes to whatever airport they store them at for anyone interested in logistics… nobody makes that flight,” he said on Instagram.

“It’s worse if it flies empty,” said Beatrice Garridge, project manager for teleportation at Project Shift, a nonprofit focused on climate change.

– “Flight with Weather Bombs” –

The aviation sector is responsible for two to three percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

But a report in May by Transport & Environment, a European non-governmental group, found that the carbon footprint of private jets per passenger is 5 to 14 times greater than that of commercial flights and 50 times greater than that of train passengers.

“We’re letting people fly weather bombs,” said William Tadets, executive director of the Clean Transport Campaign Group.

The use of private jets has increased since the coronavirus pandemic, with wealthier customers looking to avoid any flight cancellations.

According to aviation data research firm WingX, private jet flights are up seven percent in 2021 from 2019.

In Europe, celebrities who use private jets can use the continent’s vast train network for most of their travel, according to Tadets.

– jets “like a taxi” –

The Celebrity Jets account was created by 19-year-old student Jack Sweeney in 2020 after he started following Elon Musk’s private jet.

He now has 30 accounts tracking sports stars, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg and even Russian oligarchs.

Sweeney is inspired by copycat accounts.

Sebastien, a 35-year-old aerospace engineer who declined to give his real name, created the account “I Fly Bernard” in April, which tracks the flights of French billionaires including Bernard Arnault, the head of luxury giant LVMH.

Referring to their numerous domestic and European flights, he said: “What I want to condemn is their use of private jets like taxis.

Arno has yet to respond to online criticism.

Jarej hopes the outrage on social media will translate into political action.

He called for more investment in the railways, saying: “It’s not a question of banning such flights altogether, but that the richest should try to be more restrictive.”

Todds said celebrities can and should do more to encourage the development of biofuels instead of kerosene.

“If they really use their power to buy clean fuels, it will encourage the industry to develop them,” he said.

The commercial aviation sector said last year that sustainable fuels were “key” to its 2050 carbon neutrality targets.

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