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Social networks pressure celebrities to abandon their private jets in favor of the climate

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From the American singer Taylor Swift even the french businessman Bernard Arnaultpressure is mounting on celebrities, political figures and big businessmen to limit their travel in private jetsresponsible for a significant carbon footprint.

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After posting a photo of her plane and her partner on Instagram in mid-July, reality star Kylie Jenner was branded a “climate criminal” by netizens.

“Polluter and criminal,” another tweeted about director Steven Spielberg, accused of taking a 28-minute flight.

Countless humorous memes, photos and videos circulated mocking Taylor Swift after the publication on Friday of an analysis by the Yard marketing agency, which ranked her as “the most polluting celebrity of the year”, with 170 flights since the beginning of the year.

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Yard relied on data from the “Celebrity Jets” Twitter account, which tracks celebrity flights through public online data.

Jack Sweeney, a 19-year-old student, launched this account. 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 Sebastián

a 35-year-old aeronautical engineer who created the “I Fly Bernard” account in April, about the routes of the planes of French billionaires to pressure them regarding their carbon footprint.

“What I am trying to denounce is the use of private planes as taxis,” he explains, pointing out the numerous national or European flights made.

“In Europe, three quarters of these flights could be made by train,” says William Todts, executive director of Transport & Environment, which brings together European NGOs in the sector.

Between five and 14 times more pollutants

The aviation sector is responsible for between 2% and 3% of global CO2 emissions but, according to a report by Transport & Environment, published in May, flights cause a carbon footprint per passenger between five and 14 times higher than commercial flights and 50 times higher than the train.

On the other hand, private aviation is booming since the pandemic, as its customers want to avoid flight suppression and promiscuity in the face of COVID-19.

Some stars reacted to the pressure on social networks. Last week, a spokesperson for Taylor Swift said she “regularly lends her jet to other people.” “Attributing most or all of these flights to him is totally wrong,” she details.

Rapper Drake, singled out for a 14-minute flight between Toronto and Hamilton, responded on Instagram that the plane had been moved to park elsewhere, “no one was on board,” he claimed.

“Even worse if it flew empty,” says Beatrice Jarrige, project manager for the Shift Project association.

In France, a spokesman 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 collaborators”.

It indicates that the plane’s CO2 emissions are offset by reforestation projects, a solution criticized because it does not substantially reduce emissions.

Other French billionaires such as Bernard Arnault, Jean Charles Decaux and Vincent Bolloré, also affected by the Twitter account, did not want to comment.

Jarrige hopes this social media movement will turn into a political action.

“It is not about totally prohibiting flights, but it is necessary for the richest to make an effort to sober up,” he says, advocating investments in the railway.

For Todts, jet owners should, at a minimum, require that they run on biofuels instead of kerosene, as this would encourage aircraft manufacturers to develop these technologies.

In September 2021, the business aviation sector considered these sustainable fuels to be “key” to achieving the carbon neutrality goal set for 2050.

Source: Gestion

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