Taylor Swift, Drake and the Kardashians among the worst celebrities to pollute private jets, research finds

Members of the Kardashian family and Drake are reportedly among the biggest offenders when it comes to taking disproportionately polluting short-haul private jet flights, according to new analysis.

Kim Kardashian’s private jet made four flights of less than 20 minutes in the past two months, according to celebrity flight tracker data @CelebJets. The private jet of her half-sister, Kylie Jenner, made twice as many, the tracker found.

One flight, on July 24, saw Mrs. Kardashian’s plane make a 40-mile, 10-minute journey between Van Nuys and Camarillo, California. The trip required 81 liters of fuel and emitted 1 tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) – about the same as a gas-powered car emits after driving for six months.

Overall, the reality TV family dominated CelebJet’s short-haul data set this summer. Ms Kardashian and Ms Jenner’s flight accounted for 12 of 36 total flights under 20 minutes recorded between May 30 and July 24, 2022.

But they weren’t the only ones using private jets for short hops.

A customized Boeing 767 plane owned by hip-hop star Drake – dubbed “Air Drake” – made five short flights during the same period. While other celebrity jets made a greater number of flights, Drake’s plane reportedly spewed the most planet-warming emissions of anyone in the data set due to its size.

The Boeing 767, which is normally used by airlines to fly a few hundred people on intercontinental flights, released 21 tons of CO2 on the five trips, the analysis found. This is equivalent to the emissions of four American homes’ electricity consumption for a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Drake attempted to defend the short flights in a recent social media post by saying that one flight flagged by CelebJets — an 18-minute trip between Hamilton, Ontario, and Toronto — was actually empty.

“These are just the ones moving planes to whatever airport they are stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics…no one is taking that flight,” he wrote on Instagram.

Private jets reportedly belonging to other celebrities, including Steven Spielberg, Mark Wahlberg and boxer Floyd Mayweather, also flew similarly short distances.

On July 17, Mr Mayweather’s plane made two round-trip flights between airports in the Las Vegas area, each 10 minutes or less. The route used 124 gallons of fuel for a round trip of just over 20 miles, CelebJets reported.

Separate analyzes identified A-listers who are even worse emitters with their private jets overall.

According to separate analysis of CelebJets data by sustainability-focused data and technology agency Yard Group, when all flight lengths are included, pop star Taylor Swift was the biggest emitter this year.

She spent nearly 16 full days in the air this year, emitting 8,293.54 tons of Co2 and traveling an average of about 140 miles per flight, the research found.

“It’s easy to get lost in the dazzling lives of the rich and famous, but unfortunately they are a massive part of the CO2e problem we have with the aviation industry,” wrote the Yard’s sustainability director Chris Butterworth.

“Aviation is responsible for 2.4% of man-made CO2e each year, and research shows a huge divide between the super-rich and the rest of us when it comes to air travel, travel and even overall emissions.”

Representatives for Taylor Swift said the data does not fully reflect her journey.

“Taylor’s jets are regularly loaned out to other individuals. Attributing most or all of these trips to her is patently incorrect, a spokesperson said The independent.

The independent has reached out to representatives for Jenner, Kardashian, Drake, Spielberg, Wahlberg and Mayweather for comment.

The CelebJets account is run by Jack Sweeney, a student coder at the University of Central Florida. He has become known for his skills in using publicly available aviation data to track the movements of Russian oligarchs and Elon Musk, who reportedly offered the 19-year-old $5,000 to stop posting his whereabouts.

The data is far from comprehensive for all private jet flights by high net worth individuals. In addition, private aircraft are sometimes flown without their owners for storage, repair or logistical reasons.

“This is an example of what I would call climate dissonance,” wrote Emily Atkin in the climate newsletter, heated,WHO analyzed The CelebJets data.

“While most people want to solve the ecological crisis caused by carbon, they are also blinded by carbon-intensive behavior. It is partly a symptom of a warped ‘American Dream’ ideal, one that tells us that lavish wealth, not well-being, is the ultimate marker of success.”

There has been increasing focus on the uber-wealthy private jets since earlier this month when Kylie Jenner’s $72 million Bombardier DB 700 plane logged a 17-minute flight between Van Nuys and Camarillo airports outside Los Angeles. That flight released about a ton of CO2.

Jenner had also taken to social media to boast that she and her partner, rapper Travis Scott, both had private jets. Some social media users reacted with disgust, labeling the reality star as “full-time climate criminal“.

The so called “carbon elite” are responsible for massive, disproportionate carbon footprints, amid a backdrop of ever-worsening climate impacts.

Private jets create five to 14 times more emissions per passenger than a mostly full commercial plane, according to analysis of European flights over a distance of 310 miles (500 km). Private flights also create 50 times more emissions than a train, according to a report by the NGO Transport & Environment.

The world’s richest 1 percent account for half of the carbon emissions caused by aviation.

“There is good reason to see air travel in a new light,” wrote Stefan Gössling, a researcher at Lund University in Sweden who studies transport.

“It’s actually an elitist activity, rather than what the aviation industry would have us believe – that everyone flies.”

The Biden administration has called on the aviation industry to cut 20 percent of its emissions by 2030, though that remains a voluntary goal.

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