Using data from a popular Twitter account which tracks celebrity jet flights, the marketing agency found that celebrity-owned jets emitted an average of more than 3,376 metric tons of CO2 this year — about 480 times more than the average person in a year. According to the analysis, which has not been peer-reviewed, Swift’s plane has been identified as the “highest-profile emitter of CO2e this year”, having carried out 170 flights since January and emitted more than 8,293 metric tonnes. Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s plane came in second, emitting about 7,076 metric tons of CO2, with one recorded trip lasting just 10 minutes. Jay-Z’s jet was third with 136 flights and a total of about 6,981 metric tons.
In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokesperson for Swift said: “Taylor’s plane is regularly loaned out to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is patently incorrect. Representatives for Mayweather and Jay-Z did not respond to requests for comment.
While the analysis notes that its list is “not exhaustive” and that “there is no way to determine whether these celebrities were on all recorded flights,” the authors emphasized that the report’s goal is to “highlight the harmful effects of private jets.” use” is a reality that is critical for frequent flyers and the public to recognize, according to several experts who were not involved in the flight data study. Many other people also frequently rely on private jets, including politicians, government officials, athletes, business executives, and wealthy individuals.
“A short hop on a private jet requires lifting a 10-20 tonne aircraft into the air and moving it from point A to point B.” Peter DeCarlo, associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University, who studies atmospheric air pollution. “I know nobody likes being stuck in traffic, but you don’t blow up your car. … Picking up a huge piece of metal and launching it into the sky is going to be a huge carbon footprint that’s really not necessary, especially for such short distances.
And while DeCarlo and other experts acknowledged that a blanket ban on private jet travel, which in certain situations can meet essential transportation needs, isn’t the answer, they encouraged people, especially celebrities with high social clout, to consider their environmental impact. choices and the message they can send.
“There’s a valid argument that grounding private jets probably won’t do what’s needed to get us in the right direction on climate change, but that’s just very bad optics,” DeCarlo said. If people look to celebrities as role models, “they want to emulate that behavior. A private jet then becomes a status symbol and something that people aspire to, which is not what we need now in the climate context.
What are the environmental costs of a private jet?
A report published last year Transport & Environment, Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, found that a single private jet can emit 2 metric tonnes of CO2 in just one hour. According to the report, the average person in the EU emits around 8.2 tonnes of emissions throughout the year.
But while these jets are often widely scrutinized for their environmental impact, it’s important to think about their emissions compared to other forms of transport. Chris FieldDirector of the Stanford Woods Environmental Institute at Stanford University.
Compared to fuel-efficient commercial planes and climate-friendly vehicles such as hybrid or electric vehicles, private jets, which typically carry few passengers and fly shorter distances, have much higher emissions per mile, Field said. But he noted that the fuel consumption of a private jet with a reasonable number of passengers is comparable to that of a single person driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
“There’s a certain environmental irresponsibility for one person driving an F-150, and of course the same can be said for flying business jets,” he added.
Concerns about private jets are mainly environmental how common they have become and how they are used, for example, for short trips or flying empty planes to more convenient runways, said Colin Murphy, Associate Director of the Institute for Energy, Environmental and Economic Policy at the University of California, Davis. Private jet users not only travel a lot, but they usually do it less efficiently than sitting in the coach seat of a 777 or any conventional commercial airliner.
Fast travel on a private jet emphasizes the “least efficient parts of an airplane’s duty cycle,” Murphy said, noting that a huge amount of fuel is burned during takeoff and ascent. “You’ve got all the emissions from taxiing, warming up the engines, taking off and climbing, not so much from cruising where you’re actually covering the distance.”
Responding to criticism of flights lasting less than 20 minutes, rapper Drake commented on Instagram.writes: “It’s just that they move the planes to whatever airport they’re being held at for anyone wondering about the logistics…no one is flying that flight.”
But moving non-passenger planes is another “very problematic use of private jets,” Murphy said.
“What you’re doing is you’re burning hundreds or thousands of gallons of jet fuel to save a carload of people or a couple of carloads of people over the course of a few hours,” he said. “Is the kind of compromise we want to say really acceptable in a world where climate change is no longer the future but the present crisis?”
How are private jets different from commercial flights?
According to experts, the fuel mileage of smaller aircraft is less than that of larger planes. “A fully loaded 737 has roughly the same emissions per passenger mile as an efficient car like the Prius,” Murphy said.
While larger commercial planes require more fuel, they often carry many more people, and all the passengers on the flight consume the total fuel cost of the trip, DeCarlo said. But keep in mind, Field said, that sitting in first or business class can often have a higher carbon footprint than economy seats.
However, one of the main advantages of private flights is convenience.
“We live in a society where convenience trumps everything among the very rich,” Field said, “and we would all benefit from putting the emphasis on convenience into perspective.”
Should private jets be banned?
Abandoning private jets is not the solution to our climate problem, experts say. While private travel’s per-person emissions are high, they’re still not as significant as the much larger commercial aviation industry, DeCarlo said.
Also, there are situations where this type of air travel is necessary, such as during a medical emergency or when transporting an organ donation, Field says. “Sometimes it’s just all about getting the right team to the right place at the right time, and that’s what business jets can do.”
Instead of banning private jets, experts said it may be more effective to explore rules or policies to reduce unnecessary travel.
“You can think of policy levers that make you want to avoid it, you can think of economic levers that would just make it more expensive than it’s worth, or certain regulatory things that would make it such a hassle,” Field said. “I’m advocating for something that works to reduce the really frivolous trips without eliminating the trips that really make a difference.”
“Demonizing business jets is probably not helpful,” Field said. Rather, he says, people should take responsibility for their actions and consider the impact of their actions on the environment when making decisions.
How can private flights be more sustainable?
While electric aircraft prototypes are still being developed, private and commercial aviation should benefit from high-quality carbon offsets 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 Murphy noted that “they are not zero-emissions.”
In addition to reducing the number of trips, private jet users should also consider changing the way they fly, Field said. Longer flights carrying more passengers can help increase overall efficiency, he said, and flying non-stop instead of stopping over can make a difference.
While finding a long-term sustainable solution for private and commercial air travel is only one piece of the puzzle, experts have urged fliers to play their part.
“It’s going to be really hard to imagine a world where we’re going to be able to substantially limit climate change to not too many degrees above historical averages when people are still flying private jets fueled by oil at the rate they are now,” Murphy said. said