As the world literally burns and floods, it is important to remember that individualism will not really solve the climate crisis, especially in relation to, say, the general dismantling of the brutal grip of the fossil fuel industry on modern society. Still, some people could probably do a little more to lessen their carbon footprint – among them the super-rich who frequently use carbon-spewing private jets. (And let’s not even start yachts.)
While private jets are used by wealthy people of all stripes, their use by celebrities has recently come under intense scrutiny, with reports like Drake and Kylie Jenner take flights that lasted less than 20 minutes. In response, the sustainable marketing company Court has prepared a new report using data to rank the celebrities whose private jets have flown the most so far this year – and subsequently dumped the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Drake and Jenner both appear on the list, but they’re actually far from the top, which is occupied by none other than Taylor Swift. According to Yard, Swift’s jet flew 170 times between Jan. 1 and July 19 (the Yard study window), totaling 22,923 minutes, or 15.9 days, in the air. This production created total flight emissions estimated at 8,293.54 tonnes of carbon, which Yard says is 1,184.8 times more than the total annual emissions of an average person. (At least one other flight can also be added to this list: the Celebrity Jets flight-tracking Twitter account notes that Swift’s plane flew today, July 29.)
To create this report, Yard pulled data from Celebrity jetswhich in turn derives its information from ADS-B exchange (“the world’s largest public source of unfiltered flight data,” according to its website). Yard based its carbon emissions estimates on a UK Department for Transport estimate that an aircraft traveling at around 850 km/h emits 134 kg of CO2 per hour; this estimate of 134 kg was multiplied by the time spent in the air and a factor of 2.7 to account for “radiative forcing”, which includes other harmful emissions such as nitrous oxide (2.7 a was taken from the book by Mark Lynas carbon meter). This number was then divided by 1000 to be converted into tons.
Behind Swift’s plane on Yard’s list was a plane belonging to boxer Floyd Mayweather, which has emitted an estimated 7,076.8 tonnes of CO2 from 177 flights so far this year (one of those flights n lasted only 10 minutes). Jay-Z came in third on the list, though his placement comes with a caveat: the data pulled for Jay is related to the Puma Jeta Gulfstream GV that Jay — the creative director of Puma — would have convinced the sneaker giant to buy as a benefit to the athletes he endorses.
While Jay-Z is not the only person to steal on the Puma Jet, a representative for Yard said, “We awarded the jet to Jay-Z on this occasion because he requested the Puma Jet as part of his sign-up deal to become Creative Director of Basketball -ball Puma. Puma jet tail numbers are N444SC at Jay-Z’s request. N, the standard registration code for American private jets, 444, referring to his album of the same name and SC for his birth name, Shawn Carter. Without Jay-Z, this jet would cease to exist.
Yard’s other top 10 celebrities appear to own the jets that provided the flight data for the report. For this purpose, however, it is impossible to say whether the specific owners are those who travel on these planes for each specific flight. For example, Swift actually has two planes tracked by CelebJets, and obviously she can’t use both at the same time.
So beyond the Jay-Z/Puma Jet, next on Yard’s list is former baseball star Alex Rodriguez’s plane, which made 106 flights and emitted 5,342.7 tonnes of CO2. And rounding out the top five was a jet owned by country star Blake Shelton, which has so far performed 111 flights and emitted 4,495 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, 3,033.3 tons).
Reps for all the top 10 celebrities on Yard’s list didn’t immediately return rolling stonerequest for comment.
As for the two celebrities who helped inspire Yard’s study: Kylie Jenner’s jet landed at number 19 (64 flights, 1682.7 tons), sandwiched between Jim Carey and Tom Cruise. And Drake’s plane appeared at number 16 (37 flights, 1844.09 tons), between golfer Jack Nicklaus and Kenny Chesney. While Jenner has yet to tackle her 17-minute flight, drake replied to some critics on Instagram noting that no one was even on the seven-minute, 12-minute, and 14-minute flights his Boeing 767 took over a six-week period. The explanation, in all honesty, does him a disservice.
“They’re just the ones moving planes to the airport where they’re stored for anyone who cares about logistics…nobody’s taking that flight,” Drake said. (A rep for Drake did not return immediately. rolling stonerequest for additional comments.)