Taylor Swift, Drake and how celebrities with private jets are affecting the climate

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Correction

An earlier version of this article described the CO2 emissions of a jet belonging to rapper Jay-Z, based on analysis by British marketing agency Yard. Jay-Z’s rep said the jet was not owned by the artist. The article has been corrected. The article has been edited to clarify that The Post has not independently confirmed ownership of the jets. The Yard analysis was based on a popular Twitter account that tracks celebrities’ movements based on public information.

Famous celebrities are no strangers to topping the charts. But lately, several big names have appeared on the new list: “Celebrities with the worst CO2 emissions from private jets.”

The Flight Data Analysis was published online Friday by UK-based sustainability marketing agency Yard, which has faced fierce public criticism after it revealed that celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Drake, among others, took fewer than 17 trips on their emissions-reducing private jets … minutes and 14 minutes respectively.

Using data from a A popular Twitter account The report, which tracks celebrities’ movements based on publicly available information, found that celebrity flights emit an average of 3,376 tonnes of CO2 – about 480 times the annual emissions of an average person. The report, which has not been peer-reviewed, contains a key disclaimer about the analysis, including the names of a handful of celebrities, at least two of whom have publicly disavowed the list, saying the flight data associated with them does not match. with their real use.

Taylor Swift’s plane was identified by the report As the “biggest celebrity CO2e emitter so far this year,” 170 flights have emitted more than 8,293 tons since January. A plane carrying boxer Floyd Mayweather came in second, emitting around 7,076 tons of CO2 with a recorded journey of just 10 minutes.

Jay-Z, who could not be reached for comment, is in third place. After the publication, Jay-Z’s lawyer told The Washington Post that the private jet in question was not owned by the rapper; Rolling Stone reported The flight data used in the analysis comes from a flight associated with Puma and attributed to Jay-Z for its relationship with the brand.

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In a statement to The Post, a spokesperson for Swift said: “Taylor’s jet is regularly loaned out to other people. It is patently incorrect to attribute most or all of these expeditions to her. Mayweather’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

While the analysis notes that the list is “non-exhaustive” and that there is “no way to determine whether these celebrities were on all recorded flights”, the authors emphasize that “the purpose of the report is to assess the harmful impact of private flights.” jet travel.” use” — a fact that, according to many experts not involved in studying flight data, is important to frequent flyers and the general public. Many people, including politicians, government officials, athletes, businessmen and the wealthy, often rely on private jets.

“A short hop on a private jet requires 10 to 20 tons of the jet to be lifted into the air and then moved from point A to point B,” he said. Peter de Carlo, associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University, who studies air pollution. “I know that nobody likes to be stuck in traffic, but you don’t drive your car into the air. … Taking a large piece of metal and hanging it in the air would be a huge carbon footprint that really isn’t necessary, especially for such short distances.

While DeCarlo and other experts agree that a blanket ban on private jet travel, which can fulfill essential transportation needs in some circumstances, is not the answer, they urge people — especially celebrities with significant social influence — to consider the consequences. on the environment. Elections and the message they can send.

“There are valid reports that grounding private jets won’t move us in the right direction on climate change, but that’s a really bad outlook,” DiCarlo said. When people look to celebrities as role models, “they want to emulate that behavior. Then a private jet becomes a status symbol, something people want, and in the climate, we don’t need that anymore.

A report published last year by Transport & Environment, a major European campaign group for clean transport, found that a private jet emits 2 tonnes of CO2 per hour. In addition, the average person in the EU produces around 8.2 tonnes of emissions in the course of a year, the report states.

But while these jets are often widely banned due to their environmental impact, it’s important to think about their emissions compared to other forms of transport. Chris Veld, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.

Compared to fuel-efficient commercial jets and climate-friendly cars such as hybrid or electric vehicles, emissions per passenger mile are significantly higher for private jets, which typically carry fewer passengers and travel shorter distances, Field said. But he noted that the fuel economy of a private jet with a reasonable number of passengers is comparable to someone driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck.

“There is a degree of environmental irresponsibility in someone flying an F-150, and of course the same can be said for traveling on corporate jets,” he added.

Environmental concerns about private jets are often present. How common are they? And how they are used, for example to make short trips or fly empty planes to more convenient runways, he said. Colin Murphy, deputy director of the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and Economics at the University of California, Davis. Not only do private jet users travel more, but they “generally do so less efficiently than sitting in a coach seat on a 777 or conventional commercial aircraft.”

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A high-speed private jet ride highlights the “low-efficiency parts of the airplane’s duty cycle,” Murphy noted, noting that more fuel is burned during takeoff and elevation of an airplane. “You have all the emissions from taxiing, warming up engines and getting off and on, but not as much of the journey where you actually travel the distance.”

Rapper Drake, responding to criticism of flights under 20 minutes, has commented on Instagram, writing: “It’s whatever airport they move the planes to and they’re saved for anyone who cares about logistics… nobody’s taking that plane .”

But moving planes without passengers is another “very complicated use” of private jets, Murphy said.

“What you’re doing is you’re burning hundreds or thousands of gallons of jet fuel and saving a carload of people or two carloads of people in a matter of hours,” he said. “Are we saying that climate change is no longer a future crisis but is actually acceptable in a world now in crisis?”

Contrast the personal with the business

In general, smaller planes have worse fuel economy than larger planes, according to experts. “A fully loaded 737 has the same emissions per passenger mile as a fuel-efficient car like a Prius,” Murphy said.

Although larger commercial planes require more fuel, they often carry more people, and all passengers on board share the total fuel consumption of the trip, DiCarlo said. But sitting in first or business class can have a higher carbon footprint compared to an economy seat, Field said.

However, a big advantage of flying private is convenience.

“Among the very wealthy, we live in a society where convenience trumps everything, and we would all benefit from keeping the importance of convenience in perspective,” Field said.

Banning private jets won’t solve our climate problem, experts say.Although emissions per person from private travel are high, they are still not as significant as those from the much larger commercial aviation industry, DiCarlo said.

Additionally, Field says, there are situations where this type of air travel is necessary, such as during medical emergencies or transporting organ donations. “Sometimes it’s more important to get the right team in the right place at the right time, and that’s what corporate jets can do.”

Instead of banning private jets, it would be more effective to examine regulations or policies to reduce unnecessary travel, experts say.

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“You can imagine political levers that force us to avoid it, you can imagine economic levers that make it too expensive, it’s not worth it, or a disturbing regulatory thing like that,” Field said. “I’m in favor of what works to really reduce trivial trips without eliminating trips that really make a difference.”

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

Potential for sustainability

While prototypes for electric aircraft are still being developed, private and commercial aviation should benefit from high-quality carbon offsets and sustainable alternatives to jet fuel made from biomass, algae or plants, Field said. Currently, most of these fuels are better than kerosene, but Murphy noted, “They are not zero emissions.”

In addition to reducing travel, private jet users should consider changing the way they fly, Field said. Longer flights with more passengers add to the overall efficiency, and flying direct instead of stopping for connections can make a difference.

While finding a long-term sustainable solution for private and corporate aviation is only one piece of the puzzle, experts urged air travelers to do their part.

“If people were still flying in kerosene-fueled private jets at the rate they do now, it would be very hard to imagine a world where we would be more likely to limit climate change to a few degrees above the historical average. Murphy said . said .

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