As the world literally burns and floods, it’s important to remember that individualism won’t really solve the climate crisis, especially compared to, say, the wholesale dismantling of the brutal grip that the fossil fuel industry has on modern society Has. Still, there are some individuals who could probably do a little more to reduce their carbon footprint – including the super-rich, who frequently use CO2-emitting private jets. (And let’s not even get started on yachts.)
While private jets are used by rich people of all stripes, their use by celebrities has recently come under scrutiny, with reports of the likes of Drake and Kylie Jenner making flights lasting under 20 minutes. In response, sustainability marketing firm Yard has produced a new report that uses data to rank the celebrities whose private jets have flown the most so far this year – and subsequently emitted the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Drake and Jenner both make an appearance on the list, but they’re actually far from the top, which is occupied by none other than Taylor Swift. According to Yard, between Jan. 1 and July 19 (the Yard study window), Swift’s jet flew 170 times, totaling 22,923 minutes, or 15.9 days, in the air. That ejection caused estimated total flight emissions of 8,293.54 tons of carbon, which Yard says is 1,184.8 times the total annual emissions from an average person. (At least one other flight can be added to this list: The flight-tracking Twitter account Celebrity Jets notes that Swift’s plane flew today, July 29.)
“Taylor’s jet is regularly loaned out to other people,” says a spokesman for Swift Rolling Stone. “Ascribing most or all of these voyages to her is obviously wrong.”
Yard mined data to create this report celebrity jets, which in turn gets its information from ADS-B Exchange (“the world’s largest public source of unfiltered flight data,” according to its website). Yard based its estimates of CO2 emissions on an estimate by the UK Department for Transport that an aircraft flying at around 850km/h emits 134kg of CO2 per hour; This estimate of 134 kg was multiplied both by time spent in the air and by a factor of 2.7 to account for “radiative forcing” which includes other harmful emissions such as nitrous oxide (2.7 was added to the book by Mark Lynas removed carbon counter). This number was then divided by 1000 to convert to tonnes.
Behind Swift’s plane on Yard’s list came a plane owned by boxer Floyd Mayweather, which has emitted an estimated 7,076.8 tons of CO2 on 177 flights so far this year (one of those flights lasted just 10 minutes). Third on the list was Jay-Z, although his placement comes with a caveat: the data drawn for Jay is tied to the Puma Jeta Gulfstream GV that Jay – Puma’s creative director – reportedly convinced to buy the sneaker giant as a bonus for the athletes it supports.
While Jay-Z is not the only person flying Speaking of the Puma Jet, a Yard representative said, “We credited the Jet to Jay-Z on this occasion because he requested the Puma Jet as part of his enrollment as Puma Basketball’s creative director. The rear numbers of the Puma jet are N444SC at Jay-Z’s request. N, the standard US private jet registration code, 444, which refers to his album of the same name, and SC for his birth name Shawn Carter. Without Jay-Z, this jet would cease to exist.”
The rest of the celebs in Yard’s top 10 appear to own the jets that provided the flight data for the report. However, to that end, it is impossible to say whether the respective owners are the ones traveling on these aircraft for any particular flight. For example, Swift actually has two planes that CelebJets is tracking and obviously she can’t use both at the same time.
Next on Yard’s list, along with the Jay-Z/Puma jet, is former baseball star Alex Rodriguez’s plane, which completed 106 flights and emitted 5,342.7 tons of CO2. And rounding out the top five is a jet owned by country star Blake Shelton, who has completed 111 flights and emitted 4495 tonnes of CO2. The rest of the top 10 includes jets owned by director Steven Spielberg (61 flights, 4,465 tons), Kim Kardashian (57 flights, 4,268.5 tons), Mark Wahlberg (101 flights, 3,772.85 tons), Oprah Winfrey (68 flights, 3,493 .17 tons). and Travis Scott (54 flights, 3033.3 tons).
Representatives of the other nine celebrities in Yard’s top 10 list did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
As for the two celebs who inspired Yard’s study, Kylie Jenner’s jet landed at the bottom at No. 19 (64 flights, 1682.7 tons), sandwiched between Jim Carey and Tom Cruise. And Drake’s plane surfaced at number 16 (37 flights, 1844.09 tons), between golfer Jack Nicklaus and Kenny Chesney. While Jenner has yet to address their 17-minute flight, Drake responded to some criticism on Instagram by noting that no one was on the seven-, 12-, and 14-minute flights his Boeing 767 made during a six-week span . To be honest, the explanation does him no favours.
“It’s just them taking planes to the airport where they’re stored, for anyone interested in the logistics… nobody’s taking that flight,” Drake said. (A representative from Drake did not return immediately Rolling StonePlease comment further.)