Their flights are scrutinized on social networks: from Taylor Swift to Bernard Arnold, celebrities, political figures and big business are under increasing pressure to limit their travel by private jets with high carbon footprints.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner was called a “climate criminal” by netizens after she posted a photo of her plane and her companion on Instagram in mid-July.
Another tweeted about director Steven Spielberg, accused of taking the 28-minute flight, “a polluter and a criminal.”
Countless “memes,” humorous photos or videos mocking singer Taylor Swift have been circulated after marketing agency Yard published an analysis Friday, ranking her 170th as the “most polluting celebrity of the year.” Flights from the beginning of the year.
The Yard relies on data from the ‘Celebrity Jets’ Twitter account, which tracks celebrity thefts through public online data.
The account was started by Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old college student. He started by stalking Elon Musk’s private jet in June 2020 and now has 30 accounts tracking sports stars, meta-tycoon Mark Zuckerberg and Russian oligarchs.
He prompted other Internet users, such as Sébastien*, a 35-year-old aeronautical engineer who created the “I Fly Bernard” account in April on the routes of the French billionaire’s flights, to question their carbon footprint.
“I’m trying to condemn the use of private jets as taxis,” he explains to AFP, pointing to the many domestic or European flights made by the planes.
“In Europe, three-quarters of these flights could be made by train,” warns William Dodds, director-general of Transport and Environment, which brings together European NGOs in the sector.
The aviation sector is responsible for 2 to 3% of global CO2 emissions, but according to a Transport and Environment report published in May, private planes have a carbon footprint 5 to 14 times greater per passenger and 50 times greater than rail. .
Private aviation is also booming after the pandemic, as its customers want to avoid flight cancellations and prostitution in the face of the virus.
Some stars have responded to social media pressure: Last week, a spokesperson for Taylor Swift told the press that she “regularly jettisons other people.” “To assign most or all of these rides to him is completely wrong,” he continues.
Rapper Drake, who was quarantined on the 14-minute flight from Toronto to Hamilton, responded on Instagram that the plane had been diverted to a different stop, saying, “There’s nobody on that flight,” he noted.
“It’s even worse if he flies empty,” gasps Beatrice Jarij, project manager for the Shift Project Association.
In France, a spokesman for the Bouygues group assures that the “I Fly Bernard” plane, presented as Martin Bouygues’ aircraft, is owned by the group and is “used by several employees”. He points out that aviation’s CO2 emissions are offset by reforestation projects, a solution that has been criticized for not significantly reducing emissions.
Bernard Arnold, Jean-Charles Decaux and Vincent Bolero, who were targeted by the Twitter account, declined to comment.
Ms Jarij hopes that this social media movement will turn into political action. “There is no question of banning flights altogether, but the rich should try to be sober,” he notes, pleading for investments in railways.
Mr. According to Dodds, jet owners should at least be required to run on biofuel instead of kerosene, as this would encourage aircraft manufacturers to develop these technologies.
In September 2021, the commercial aviation industry deemed these sustainable fuels “critical” to achieving its 2050 goal of carbon neutrality.
*First name has been changed because the person wishes to remain anonymous.
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