According to a new analysis, members of the Kardashian family and Drake are among the top offenders when it comes to taking disproportionately polluting short-haul private jet flights.
Kim Kardashian’s private plane made four flights of under 20 minutes in the past two months, according to data from Celebrity Flight-Tracker @CelebJets. Her half-sister Kylie Jenner’s private plane managed twice as many, the tracker found.
On a July 24 flight, Ms. Kardashian’s plane made a 10-minute, 40-mile journey between Van Nuys and Camarillo, California. The ride required 81 gallons of fuel and emitted 1 tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) – about the same as a gasoline-powered car driven for six months.
Overall, the reality TV family dominated the CelebJets short flight record this summer. Ms. Kardashian and Ms. Jenner’s planes accounted for 12 of a total of 36 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 custom Boeing 767 aircraft owned by hip-hop star Drake, dubbed “Air Drake,” made five short flights in the same period. While other prominent jets have completed greater numbers of flights, Drake’s plane has reportedly emitted the most planet-warming emissions of any on the dataset, due to its size.
The Boeing 767, which is normally used by airlines to carry a few hundred people on intercontinental flights, emitted 21 tons of CO2 over the five flights, according to the analysis. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this equates to emissions equivalent to the electricity consumption of four US homes for one year.
Drake tried to defend the short flights in a recent social media post, saying that a flight flagged by CelebJets – an 18-minute journey between Hamilton, Ontario and Toronto – was actually empty.
“It’s just them taking planes to the airport where they’re stored for anyone interested in the logistics… nobody’s taking that flight,” he wrote on Instagram.
Private planes reportedly owned by other celebrities, including Steven Spielberg, Mark Wahlberg and boxer Floyd Mayweather, also flew similarly short routes.
On July 17, Mr. Mayweather’s plane reportedly made two flights between Las Vegas-area airports, each lasting 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 that are even worse issuers overall with their private jets.
According to a separate analysis of CelebJets data by sustainability-focused data and technology agency Yard Group, pop star Taylor Swift was the biggest emitter this year when considering all flight lengths.
It spent nearly 16 full days in the air this year, emitting 8,293.54 tons of CO2 and averaging about 140 miles per flight, according to the research.
“It’s easy to get lost in the glittering lives of the rich and famous, but unfortunately they are a massive part of the CO2e problem we have with the airline industry,” wrote Chris Butterworth, Yard’s sustainability director.
“Aviation is responsible for 2.4% of man-made CO2e each year and research shows a huge gap between the super-rich and the rest of us in terms of flights, travel and even overall emissions.”
Taylor Swift officials said the dates don’t fully reflect her journey.
“Taylor’s jet is regularly loaned to other people. Ascribing most or all of these trips to her is obviously wrong,” a spokesman said The Independent.
The Independent has reached out to representatives from Ms Jenner, Ms Kardashian, Drake, Mr Spielberg, Mr Wahlberg and Mr Mayweather for comment.
The CelebJets account is operated by Jack Sweeney, a University of Central Florida programming student. He is 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 publishing his whereabouts.
The data does not include all private jet flights by wealthy individuals. Also, 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,” Emily Atkin wrote in the Climate Newsletter. Heated,who analyzed the CelebJets data.
“Although most people want to solve the ecological crisis caused by carbon, they are also blinded by carbon-intensive behavior. It’s in part a symptom of a distorted ideal of the ‘American Dream,’ one that tells us that lavish wealth, not well-being, is the ultimate marker of success.”
Since earlier this month, when Kylie Jenner’s $72 million Bombardier DB 700 plane operated a 17-minute flight between Van Nuys and Camarillo airports outside of Los Angeles, there has been increasing focus on the private jet habits of the super-rich. This flight emitted about a ton of CO2.
Ms Jenner had also taken to social media to brag about her and her partner, rapper Travis Scott, both of whom had private jets. Some social media users reacted with disgust, calling the reality star “Full-time climate criminal“.
The so-called “carbon elite‘ are responsible for massive, disproportionate carbon footprints against a backdrop of ever-worsening climate impacts.
According to an analysis of European flights over a distance of 500 km, private jet flights produce five to 14 times more emissions per passenger than a mostly full commercial aircraft. According to a report by the NGO Transport & Environment, private flights also manage 50 times more than a train.
The richest 1 percent in the world is responsible for half of the CO2 emissions caused by flying.
“There are good reasons to see air traffic in a new light,” writes Stefan Gössling, a transport scientist at Sweden’s Lund University.
“Actually, it’s more of an elitist activity than what the airline industry wants us to believe – that everyone is flying.”
The Biden administration has called on the airline industry to reduce its emissions by 20 percent by 2030, although this remains a voluntary target.