In a world facing climate change, increasingly fierce bushfires and devastating floods, it seems like celebrities still believe a private jet is the best mode of transport to take, even for journeys that would take less than an hour by car. Turning in the zeitgeist over the past few weeks, private jet flights are a major contributor to CO2 emissions, and many of us people who fly economy class are wondering what all the paper straws if Drake wanders around the south of France like the towns aren’t literally on fire a few miles away?
The furor appears to stem from an extremely tone-deaf message from Kylie Jenner in which she and Travis Scott kiss in front of two private jets, the image captioned “Do you want to take mine or yours?” Although already a grotesquely privileged display of her immense wealth, the Celebrity Jets Twitter account revealed that Jenner regularly took flights that lasted just 15 minutes, consumed 442 liters of fuel and emitted a ton of carbon dioxide.
Kylie Jenner’s Jet took off from Camarillo, California, USA. Go to Van Nuys, California, US (VNY, Van Nuys Airport) arrival in ~3m. pic.twitter.com/Jo0ZAfaJ69
— Celebrity Jets (@CelebJets) July 13, 2022
TikTok user Eryn posted a now-viral video breaking down Celebrity Jets data, concluding based on figures provided between July 11-18, 2022, 15 celebrities used a private jet out of 48 flights, a average of 3.2 flights per week. During this period, Kim Kardashian made three private jet flights, producing 23 tons of Co2 emissions – the average American emits 16 tons of Co2 emissions per year.
@eryn810 Global harm private jets #privatejets #climatechange #kimkardashian #kyliejenner #drake #airplanes ♬ original sound – Eryn
Although they are a staple of the Jet Set, private planes pollute up to 10 times more than a commercial plane and 50 times more than trains. Emissions have increased by more than 30% in Europe over the past 15 years, with emissions from a four-hour plane journey equaling the total emissions generated by an average person over an entire year.
Private jets have been in use for decades now, it’s no surprise how they work. It’s not just celebrities who employ them either, government dignitaries frequently use the transport – Air Force One, a notable symbol of private jets in the hands of diplomats.
I don’t know about you, but maybe not flying a private jet for 9 minutes might help. pic.twitter.com/hqvQJzw3cE
— Sommer Ackerman (@lifewithsommer) July 23, 2022
However, what makes their use disconcerting is the climate change catastrophe that is gripping the world and seems to be ignored by those who use a private jet. Many were quick to point out that the average person has changed their daily habits in an effort to better the planet, from avoiding plastic straws to recycling to even changing food consumption to reduce their CO2 emissions. It’s almost as if the efforts of the many are outweighed by the privilege of the few to fly from suburb to suburb above ground rather than driving or taking a train.
How about not yelling at people for using plastic straws and eating meat, and instead yelling at Elon Musk who burns more fuel in one flight of his private jet than an average person won’t use it for a whole year
— Justin Gender is a social construct (@notjustaphage) July 22, 2022
What Eryn also noted in her video is that a number of people on her list have already used their platform to advocate for sustainability and more environmentally friendly practices. This included Oprah who supported various environmental causes, Drake who in 2021 partnered with a climate-conscious company to achieve more sustainable travel, alongside Kardashian who launched an eco-friendly skincare line. environment. So where does this leave us in the fight for the climate? It would be remiss of Jenner and co not to listen to the collective outrage at their actions and reflect on and make real changes in the way they move. Whether or not there is a tangible change, nothing at all, or simply more greenwashing remains to be determined. We can also continue to speak up, use our platforms, and bring attention to these issues in hopes of protecting the only Earth we have.