Why movie star personal jet journey is a local weather nightmare

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Music megastars Taylor Swift and Jay-Z are no strangers to topping the charts. But recently the two Grammy-winning artists were featured prominently on a new list: “Celebrities with the Worst Private Jet Co2 Emissions.”

The IS flight data analysispublished online on Friday by a UK-based sustainability marketing agency, came on the heels of other big-name celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Drake weathering severe public criticism after it was revealed that their private jets emissions logged in such short trips. as 17 minutes and 14 minutes, respectively.

Using data from a popular Twitter account which tracks celebrity-owned jet flights, the marketing agency found that so far this year, celebrity-owned planes have emitted an average of more than 3,376 metric tons of CO2 – about 480 times the annual emissions of a person the average. The Swift jet was identified as the “best-known CO2e polluter this year so far”, increasing by 170 flights since January with total emissions of more than 8,293 metric tonnes, according to the analysis, which was not peer-reviewed. Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s plane came in second, emitting about 7,076 metric tons of CO2, and one logged trip lasted just 10 minutes. Jay-Z’s jet was in third place with 136 flights worth about 6,981 metric tons of emissions.

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In a statement to the Washington Post, a spokesperson for Swift said, “Taylor regularly lends her jet to other individuals. It is wrong to attribute most or all of these trips to her.” Reps for Mayweather and Jay-Z did not respond to requests for comment.

While the analysis notes that their list is “not definitive” and that “there is no way to determine whether these celebrities were on all of the recorded flights,” the authors emphasized that the purpose of the report is “adverse impact highlight a private jet. use” ​​— something that is critical for frequent flyers and the public to recognize, according to several experts who have not been involved in the study of flight data. Many other people also often rely on private jets, including politicians, government officials, athletes, business executives and the wealthy.

“A short jump with a private jet requires lifting a 10 to 20 ton jet into the air and then moving it from point A to point B,” said Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University who studies atmospheric air pollution. “I know nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, but you’re not launching your car in the air. … The act of building a huge piece of metal and putting it up in the sky is going to be a huge unnecessary carbon footprint, especially for these short distances.”

And while DeCarlo and other experts acknowledged that a total ban on private jet travel, which can fill essential transportation needs in some cases, isn’t the solution, they encouraged people — especially celebrities with significant social influence – to assess the environmental impact of their services. options and the message they may be sending.

“There are valid arguments that the creation of private jets is unlikely to do what we need to get us going in the right direction on climate change, but those are just really bad scenarios,” DeCarlo said. If people look up to celebrities as role models, “they want to emulate 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 context of the climate.”

What is the environmental cost of building a private jet?

A report published last year by Transport & Environment, a major European campaign group for clean transport, found that a single private jet could emit 2 metric tonnes of CO2 in just one hour. To put that into context, the average person in the EU produces around 8.2 tonnes of emissions over the course of an entire year, according to the report.

But while these jets are often blamed for their environmental impact, it’s important to think about their emissions relative to other forms of transportation, said Chris Fielddirector of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

Compared to fuel-efficient commercial airplanes and climate-friendly cars, such as hybrid or electric vehicles, emissions per thousand passengers are much higher for private jets, which typically carry few passengers and travel long distances. shorter, Field said. But, he noted, the fuel economy of a private jet with a reasonable number of passengers could be comparable to a single person driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

“There’s a certain level of environmental irresponsibility associated with one person driving an F-150, and certainly, you could say the same thing about business jets,” he said.

Most of the environmental concerns stem from private jets as common as they are and how they are used, for example, to make short journeys or fly empty planes to more convenient airstrips, said Colin Murphy, deputy director of the Energy, Environment and Economy Policy Institute at the University of California at Davis. Not only do private jet users travel a lot, “but they’re doing it in a way that’s generally less efficient than if they were sitting in a coach seat in a 777 or any of the conventional commercial airlines.”

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A quick ride in a private jet emphasizes “the least efficient parts of the airplane’s duty cycle,” Murphy said, noting that airplanes burn a huge amount of fuel during takeoff and takeoff. “You’ve got all the emissions from taxiing, heating the engines and taking off and taking off and not as much from cruising where you’re actually covering the distance.”

In response to criticism of flights lasting less than 20 minutes, rapper Drake said comment on Instagramwriting, “This is just them moving planes to whatever airport they’re being stored at for anyone who was interested in logistics … no one takes that flight.”

But moving planes without passengers around is another “really 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 load of people or a few carloads of people a few hours,” he said. “Is that really the trade-off we want to say is acceptable in a world where climate change is no longer a future crisis, but a crisis now?”

How do private jets compare to commercial flights?

In general, smaller aircraft get worse fuel mileage than larger planes, according to experts. “A fully loaded 737 has about the same emissions per thousand passengers as an efficient car like a Prius,” Murphy said.

Although larger commercial planes require more fuel, they often carry many more people and all passengers on the flight share the total fuel consumption of the trip, DeCarlo said. But keep in mind, Field said, that sitting in first or business class often has a higher carbon footprint than an economy seat.

One advantage of flying privately, however, is convenience.

“We live in a society where, among the very rich, convenience trumps everything else,” Field said, “and we all want to benefit from keeping the emphasis on convenience in perspective .”

Should private jets be banned?

Getting rid of private jets is not the answer to our climate problem, experts said. While the per capita emissions from private travel are large, they are still not as significant as what the much larger commercial aviation industry produces, DeCarlo said.

Additionally, there are situations where this type of air travel is necessary, such as during medical emergencies or organ donation transport, Field says. “Sometimes it’s 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 regulations or policies aimed at reducing the amount of unnecessary travel.

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“You can imagine policy levers that force it to be avoided, you can imagine economic levers that would make it so expensive that it’s not worth it or kind of regulatory things that make it so difficult,” a Field said. “I’m in favor of whatever is effective in reducing the really frivolous travel without eliminating the travel that makes a big difference.”

“Demonizing the business jets” is probably counterproductive, Field said. Instead, he said, people should take responsibility for their actions and take environmental footprints into account in their decision-making.

How can private flights be more sustainable?

While electric aircraft prototypes are still under development, 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 better than petroleum, but Murphy said, “they are not zero emissions.”

Rather than cutting back on trips, private jet users should consider changing how they fly, Field said. Longer flights that carry more passengers can help overall efficiency, he said, and flying direct rather than stopping for connections 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 been encouraged to do their handouts.

“It’s going to be really hard to imagine a world where we manage to limit climate change by a few degrees above the historical average, when people are still flying around in private jets fueled by petroleum at the current rate, ” Murphy. said.

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