‘Wasteful luxury’: Private jet pollution more than doubles in Europe

A private jet carrying A$AP Rocky leaves Stockholm's Arlanda airport on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019.
A private jet carrying A$AP Rocky leaves Stockholm's Arlanda airport on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. Copyright Fredrik Persson/AP
By Joshua Askew
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As millions face fuel poverty, a Greenpeace study has found that number of private jet flights is soaring in Europe.

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Emissions from private jets have soared in Europe, according to a new Greenpeace report.

The environmental group found that private jets emitted a total of 5.3 million tonnes of CO2 in the last three years, with the number of flights skyrocketing from nearly 119,000 in 2020 to 573,000 in 2022.

That amount of carbon dioxide is more than Uganda - a country of some 46 million people - produces in a year.

'Hugely unfair'

The findings highlight the devastating climatic impact of global elites, Greenpeace said, calling for private jets to be banned.

“Vulnerable people are on the front lines of climate destruction and are the ones pushed into poverty by spiking fuel prices, but have done the least to cause these crises,” said Greenpeace EU transport campaigner Thomas Gelin.

“It's hugely unfair that rich people can wreck the climate this way.”

Researchers found the number of private jet flights in Europe increased by 64 per cent last year, with CO2 emissions more than doubling.

The most private jet flights were taken in France, the UK and Germany - Europe’s largest and richest nations - and across distances under 750 km.

Just how bad are private jets for the environment?

Personal planes have significantly higher emissions than other modes of transport.

An average journey in one produces CO2 equivalent to driving a petrol car from Paris to Rome 16 times.

Greenpeace are calling on governments and the EU to ban private jets and short-haul flights where a reasonable train connection already exists.

Steve Marcus/LAS VEGAS SUN
Brian May, left, and Roger Taylor of Queen arrive by private jet in Las Vegas Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018.Steve Marcus/LAS VEGAS SUN

“Pollution for wasteful luxury has to be the first to go, we need a ban on private jets,” said Greenpeace campaigner Gelin.

In November, Oxfam found that billionaires are responsible for a million times more greenhouse gas emissions than the average person.

It added to calls for the world’s ultra-rich to shoulder more of the financial responsibility for tackling the climate emergency.

Should private jets be banned?

The busiest private jet route in Europe last year was Paris-London, with an average of nine voyages between those cities every day, according to the Greenpeace report.

This route has a direct and regular train connection that takes just under two hours.

The French government has been pushing for the EU to tighten rules on private jets, short-haul flights and very cheap flights.

At a meeting of EU transport ministers in December, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Portugal expressed their support for France’s call.

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Curbing emissions from aviation is a part of tackling climate change, though there needs to be drastic action in many other areas.

The sector accounts for more than two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions

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