The private jets of the super-rich hunted down to pin their carbon footprint

Eturn off the light, unplug the wi-fi, turn off the air conditioning… In a context of energy crisis and global warming, the French are invited to repeat the small daily gestures to reduce their electricity consumption and their carbon footprint. “An effort” asked of households as part of a “sobriety plan” aimed at getting through the winter without power cuts, due to the war in Ukraine. However, the super-rich French will continue to use their private jets for trips (professional or personal) that can be made by train or car. A double standard denounced by Internet users on social networks.

In recent months, Twitter and Instagram accounts have been following the movements of the personal planes of the big bosses of the CAC 40, including Martin Bouygues (Bouygues) or Bernard Arnault (LVMH), detailing the kilometers traveled and calculating their carbon footprint. A sometimes very short distance for several tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere. For example, the account I steal Bernard (“Bernard’s plane”) reports that Vincent Bolloré’s jet (Vivendi) made a Paris-Marseille round trip in the same afternoon, thus consuming 6 tonnes of CO2 for a few hours in Marseille. “63 French billionaires emit as much CO2 than 50% of the population”, reports this Twitter account, according to calculations by Oxfam and Greenpeace in 2022.

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A private jet pollutes much more than a conventional airliner

In addition to French fortunes, showbiz stars are also singled out for the repeated use of private jets. The marketing agency Yard used an algorithm using open source data to determine the ranking of the private jets of American artists who pollute the most. Singer Taylor Swift would take the lead in this top 10, with 170 trips since January, or 80 minutes and 224 kilometers of flight on average. In this list, we also find director Steven Spielberg, businesswoman Kim Kardashian and rapper Jay-Z.

In France, Karim Benzema has come under considerable criticism for his luxurious vacations deemed indecent in a context of environmental disturbances. The Real Madrid striker shared a polished video in early July showing sports cars and private jets in Miami, all polluting activities. According to a Transport & Environment study published in 2021, business aviation pollutes up to 14 times more than a regular company plane per passenger. Recently, the environmental group of the Senate proposed measures to “register energy sobriety in our daily lives”, including in particular the banning of private jets under conditions.

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