Why celebrity private jet travel is a climate nightmare

  • 6 min read
  • Aug 02, 2022

Why celebrity private jet travel is a climate nightmare


Music superstars Taylor Swift and Jay-Z are no strangers to topping the charts. But recently, the two Grammy-winning artists featured themselves on a new list: “Celebrities with the Worst Private Jet Emissions.”

The analysis of the flight data, published online Friday by a UK-based sustainability marketing agency, comes after other celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Drake faced heavy public criticism after it was revealed that their greenhouse gas emissions were The private form was published. The Jets recorded trips of 17 minutes and 14 minutes, respectively.

Use of data a Popular Twitter account The marketing agency, which tracks celebrity-owned jet flights, found that so far this year, celebrity-owned planes have emitted an average of more than 3,376 tons of carbon dioxide, nearly 480 times more than Annual is an average person. Jet Swift was identified as the “biggest known carbon dioxide polluter this year so far” and had 170 flights since January with total emissions of more than 8,293 tonnes, according to the non-peer-reviewed analysis. Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s plane came in second, emitting about 7,076 tons of carbon dioxide and a recorded trip lasting just 10 minutes. Jay-Z’s jet was third with 136 flights totaling about 6,981 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Kylie Jenner is getting roasted for flaunting a private jet in the climate crisis

In a statement to The Washington Post, Swift’s spokesperson said: “Taylor’s jet is regularly loaned out to other people. “To attribute most or all of these journeys to him is patently false.” Representatives for Mayweather and Jay-Z did not respond to requests for comment.

While the analysis notes that the list is “not definitive” and that there is “no way to determine whether these celebrities were on all recorded flights,” the authors emphasized that the report aims to “identify the disruptive impact of the private jet ” Is. usage” — a fact that, according to several experts who were not involved in the flight data study, is important to frequent travelers and the general public. Many other people also often rely on private jets, including politicians, government officials, athletes, business executives, and the wealthy.

“A short jump with a personal jet involves taking a 10- to 20-ton jet into the air and then landing it from Move A to point B. Pollution I know no one likes to be stuck in traffic, but you don’t blow up your car. … The act of taking a huge piece of metal and putting it in the sky would be a huge carbon footprint that’s really unnecessary, especially for these kinds of short distances.”

And while DeCarlo and other experts acknowledged that a blanket ban on private jet travel, which can meet essential transportation needs in certain circumstances, isn’t the answer, they encouraged people — especially celebrities with significant social influence — to consider their environmental impact. choices and the message they can send.

“There are valid arguments that grounding private jets is probably not going to do what we need to do in the right direction on climate change, but that’s a really bad optic,” DeCarlo says. If people look to celebrities as role models, “they want to imitate that behavior. Then, a private jet becomes a status symbol and something people aspire to, and that’s not what we need right now in the climate.

What is the environmental cost of owning a private jet?

A report published last year by Transport & Environment, a major European clean transport campaign group, found that a private jet can emit two tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one hour. To put that into context, the average person in the European Union produces about 8.2 tons of greenhouse gases over the course of a year, according to the report.

While the jets are often widely scrutinized for their environmental impact, it’s important to think about their emissions relative to other forms of transportation, said Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Let’s think about it.

Compared to fuel-efficient commercial aircraft and climate-friendly vehicles, such as hybrid or electric vehicles, emissions per passenger mile are significantly lower for private jets, which typically carry fewer passengers and travel shorter distances, Field said. more than. But, he noted, the fuel consumption of a private jet with a reasonable number of passengers can be comparable to someone driving a Ford F-150.

“There’s a certain level of environmental irresponsibility in someone driving an F-150, and you can certainly say the same thing about traveling on a commercial jet,” he added.

Colin Murphy, vice president of the Energy Policy Institute, said environmental concerns about private jets stem largely from their popularity and how they are used, for example, short trips or flying empty planes to more convenient airports. Environment and Economics at the University of California, Davis. Private jet users not only travel a lot, “but do so in a generally less efficient way than when sitting in the coach seat of a 777 or any conventional commercial airliner.”

You can buy a private jet membership at Costco along with your bulk tissue

Murphy said a quick trip on a private jet emphasizes the “lowest parts of the aircraft’s duty cycle.” And he pointed out that a lot of fuel is burned during takeoff and bringing the plane to altitude. “You get all the emissions from taxiing, warming up the engines and taking off and climbing, and not as much distance as you actually travel on cruises.”

Responding to criticism of the flights that took less than 20 minutes, rapper Drake commented on Instagram, writing: “It’s just them taking the plane to whatever airport they’re stocking up on for whoever needs the logistics. It’s interested, they’re taking it… nobody’s going to make that flight.”

But moving drones is another “really problematic use” of personal jets, Murphy said.

“What you’re doing is burning hundreds or thousands of gallons of jet fuel to save a car or a few cars of people for a few hours,” he said. “Is this really the kind of deal we’re trying to make in a world where climate change is no longer a future crisis, but a present one?”

How do private jets compare to commercial flights?

According to experts, smaller planes typically get less fuel mileage than larger planes. “A fully loaded 737 has about the same emissions per passenger mile as an efficient car like a Prius,” says Murphy.

While larger commercial planes require more fuel, they often carry more people, and all passengers on the flight contribute to the trip’s overall fuel consumption, DeCarlo said. But keep in mind that sitting in first or business class can often come with a higher carbon footprint than an economy seat, Field said.

However, one of the main advantages of flying privately is convenience.

“We live in a society where comfort is paramount among the very wealthy, and we all benefit from an emphasis on comfort in the landscape,” Field says.

Should private jets be banned?

Getting rid of private jets is not the answer to our climate problems, experts say. According to DeCarlo, although emissions per person from private travel are high, they are still not as significant as those produced by the larger commercial aviation industry.

Additionally, there are situations where this type of air travel is necessary, such as medical emergencies or organ transplants, Field said. “Sometimes it’s critical to get the right team to the right place at the right time, and that’s what business jets can do.”

Instead of banning private jets, exploring regulations or policies aimed at reducing the amount of non-essential travel may be more effective, experts say.

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“You can imagine the policy levers that would have to be avoided, you could imagine the economic levers that would become so expensive that it’s not worth it or the kind of regulatory things that would make it such a hassle,” he said. “I’m in favor of anything that works to reduce the truly wasteful trips without eliminating the trips that really make a difference.”

There’s probably no point in “demonizing commercial airliners,” Field said. He said that people should take responsibility for their actions and consider the environmental footprint of what they do in their decision making.

How can private aviation be more sustainable?

While prototypes of electric aircraft are still in development, private and commercial aviation should take advantage of high-quality carbon and more sustainable jet fuel alternatives made from biomass, algae or plants, Field said. Currently, most of these fuels are generally better than oil, but “they don’t have zero emissions,” Murphy noted.

In addition to cutting back on trips, private jet users will also have to change how they fly, Field said. Longer flights that carry more passengers can help overall efficiency, and flying direct rather than stopping over can make a difference, he said.

Although finding a sustainable long-term solution for private and business air travel is only one part of the puzzle, experts encouraged aviation to do its part.

Murphy: “It’s going to be really hard to imagine a world where we’re going to be largely successful in limiting climate change to not much above historical averages while people are still flying around in oil-fueled private jets at the current rate.” ” said.

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