After posting a photo of her plane and that of her companion on Instagram in mid-July, reality TV star Kylie Jenner has been called a “climate criminal” by Internet users. “Polluter and criminal,” tweeted another about director Steven Spielberg, who was accused of taking a 28-minute flight.
Countless “memes”, humorous photos or videos, have also circulated to make fun of the singer Taylor Swift after the publication Friday of an analysis by the marketing agency Yard, which ranks her as “the most polluting celebrity of the year”, with 170 flights since the beginning of the year.
Yard relied on data from the “Celebrity Jets” Twitter account, which tracks celebrity flights through public online data.
This account was started by a 19-year-old college student named Jack Sweeney. He started in June 2020 by following Elon Musk’s private jet and now has 30 accounts tracking sports stars, Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg and even Russian oligarchs.
He inspired other Internet users like Sébastien*, a 35-year-old aeronautical engineer who created the “I Fly Bernard” account in April on the routes of the planes of French billionaires to question them about their carbon footprint.
It’s time to take stock for the month of July 2022 (6 planes tracked):
– number of flights: 53 ??
– 123 flight hours ??
– shortest flight: 20min?
– CO2 emitted: 520 tons ???
This is the equivalent of the emissions of an average Frenchman for 52 years, 1/2 century!
— I Fly Bernard (@i_fly_Bernard) August 1, 2022
“What I’m trying to denounce is their use of private jets as taxis,” he explains, pointing to the many domestic or European flights made by planes.
5 to 14 times more polluting than a classic flight
“In Europe, three-quarters of these flights could be made by train,” denounces William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment, which brings together European NGOs in the sector.
The airline sector is responsible for 2-3% of global CO2 emissions, but according to a Transport & Environment report published in May, private flights have a carbon footprint per passenger five to fourteen times greater than commercial flights and 50 times greater than train.
Private aviation has also been booming since the pandemic, its customers wishing to avoid flight cancellations and promiscuity in the face of the virus.
Some stars reacted to pressure from social networks. Last week, a spokesperson for Taylor Swift claimed in the press that she “regularly lends her jet to other people”. “Assigning most or all of these rides to him is totally incorrect,” he continues.
Rapper Drake, singled out for a fourteen-minute flight from Toronto to Hamilton, replied on Instagram that the plane had been moved to park it elsewhere, “no one was on that flight”, he said. He specifies.
“It’s even worse if he flew empty,” chokes Béatrice Jarrige, project manager at the Shift Project association.
In France, a spokesperson for the Bouygues group assures that the plane followed by “I Fly Bernard” presented as that of Martin Bouygues belongs to the group and “is used by several employees”. He points out that the plane’s CO2 emissions are offset by reforestation projects, a solution criticized for not reducing emissions substantially.
Bernard Arnault, Jean-Charles Decaux and Vincent Bolloré, also targeted by the Twitter account, declined to comment.
Crossover weekend for our billionaires too! Paris-Seattle flight for François-Henri Pinault’s plane. Hopefully there weren’t too many traffic jams. pic.twitter.com/waSUiHW8WE
— I Fly Bernard (@i_fly_Bernard) July 30, 2022
Béatrice Jarrige hopes that this social media movement will turn into political action. “It is not a question of completely banning flights, but the richest must make an effort to be sober,” she specifies, pleading for investments in the railways.
For William Todts, jet owners should at least require that they run on biofuels rather than kerosene, because that would push aircraft manufacturers to develop these technologies.
In September 2021, the business aviation sector considered that these sustainable fuels are “key” to achieving the carbon neutrality objective it has set for 2050.
* The first name has been changed because the person wishes to remain anonymous.
letelegramme Fr Trans