Kylie Jenner faced a torrent of criticism for her decision to board her private jet for a flight that lasted just 17 minutes. But the practice of taking brief trips on luxury jets appears to be common among the wealthy and celebrities despite growing concerns over the climate crisis.
Jenner, the 24-year-old socialite and businesswoman, faced online opprobrium after posting an Instagram picture of herself and her partner, rapper Travis Scott, on an airport runway between two private jets with the caption “do you want to take mine or yours?”
According to an automated Twitter account that tracks celebrity flights based on transponders and tail fin tagging, Jenner’s flight on July 12 only lasted 17 minutes, taking it from Van Nuys in Los Angeles to nearby Camarillo. The model previously took a 27-minute trip in her jet, a $72 million Bombardier BD 700, to Van Nuys from Thermal, California.
His 17-minute ride is estimated to have resulted in a ton of carbon dioxide emissions, which, while not a huge amount on its own, is around a quarter of a person’s total annual carbon footprint. average in the world. The trip would have taken Jenner about 40 minutes in a car, causing only a fraction of the emissions.
But Jenner – who took an even shorter flight, lasting just nine minutes, between the same two locations in June – is far from the only celeb to take short hops using a private plane rather than flying. drive or use public transport.
A review of the Celebrity Jets tracking account shows that rapper Drake took an 18-minute flight from Hamilton, Ont., to Toronto last month; Kenny Chesney, the country music singer, was in the air for just 20 minutes between Akron, Ohio and Pittsburgh and actor Mark Wahlberg took a 23-minute flight from Dublin to County Clare in Ireland, among other short trips.
Many of these brief flights consist of “parking” a plane at a convenient or cheaper location, or are part of a longer two-part trip, but many seem to have unclear justification, such as Floyd Mayweather’s decision, the boxer, fly 14 minutes from Las Vegas to nearby Henderson, then fly 10 minutes back on Sunday.
“I’m not surprised people are upset, they’re right to be upset about it,” said Jack Sweeney, creator of the Celebrity Jets account, which uses data from a company that tracks aircraft transponders.
Sweeney, a student at the University of Central Florida, has a similar account which just follows the private jet of Elon Musk, the multi-billionaire boss of Tesla. In May, Musk took a 28-minute flight in his jet from Houston to Austin, Texas, but Sweeney thinks he should be judged differently for that.
“With Elon, he’s just trying to be as quick and efficient as possible for the job, but someone like Kim Kardashian (who’s taken long and short private jet flights) shows ‘Kim Air’ and flexes and all that “, did he declare.
Private jets are responsible for about 4% of all aviation emissions, according to a 2016 study, with the airline industry keen to point out that flying in general includes just a small fraction global sources of planet-warming gases.
However, private planes still emit more than 33 million tons of greenhouse gasesmore than Denmark, and because they carry so few people, they are five to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes, per passenger, and 50 times more polluting than trains, the researchers found.
“These surprisingly short flights show the immense impact of the wealthy on global aviation emissions,” said Scott Hochberg, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute.
“The problem starts at the top with Kylie Jenner and other celebrities with private jets, which have a much bigger impact than commercial planes per passenger. But it also includes many others, because the United States is the most of the wealthy elite who have the luxury of stealing.
Emissions from private jets flown in the United States have increased since the 1990s and will swell further as larger, more polluting planes come to market. Short trips on private jets aren’t just an American phenomenon; in 2019, a tenth of all flights departing from France were private jets, half of which traveled less than 500 km. Frequent use of aviation is the domain of the world’s rich, with just 1% of the world’s population responsible for half of the emissions associated with flight.
“There are many alternatives to private jets and wanting to avoid traveling with the hoi polloi is not a good enough reason for excessive pollution,” said Nikita Pavlenko, fuels team leader at the International Council on Clean Transportation.
“These short flights have relatively low emissions, but per person they are staggering. Aviation emissions are increasing exponentially year on year and pollution from private jets is increasing more than general aviation.
Major U.S. airlines have announced climate plans that include commitments to increase the use of low-emission sustainable aviation fuels (or SAFs), such as cooking oil or hydrogen, with the administration of Joe Biden last year unveiling a goal a 20% reduction in aviation emissions by 2030. This target, however, is voluntary and there has been no significant shift from the industry towards reducing its impact on the climate.
“Aviation decarbonization is largely rhetoric and little substance in the United States,” Pavlenko said. “As for celebrities, they need to lead by example and ditch airplanes. At the very least, they should show leadership and use sustainable fuels or zero-emissions airplanes when available.