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Disclaimer:

Yard's Digital PR team is aware that this list is not conclusive to the biggest offenders, but the biggest offenders according to the data as presented on the CelebrityJets Twitter page.

Yard's Digital PR team is also aware this data is based on these celebrities’ planes and whilst there is no way to determine if these celebrities were on all the recorded flights the purpose of this study is to highlight the damaging impact of private jet usage.

Following the release of our data, Rolling Stone contacted each of the celebrities representatives for comment. Taylor Swift's representative said the following:

“Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.”

After publication of our original data, a lawyer for Jay-Z told The Washington Post the rapper does not own the private jet in question. CelebJets and Yard attributed the jet to Jay-Z as according to news sources, he had requested the PUMA jet as part of his sign-up deal to become the creative director of Puma basketball. The Puma jet's tail numbers are N444SC at Jay-Z's request. N, the standard US private jet registration code, 444, referring to his album of the same name and SC for his birth name, Shawn Carter.

Which celebrities are the worst private jet CO2 emission offenders? A Yard Study.

It’s no secret that travelling by aeroplane is the least environmentally friendly method. Emissions per mile travelled are significantly less efficient than any other form of transport; however, the average person flying on a packed passenger flight somewhat mitigates this impact.

The real trouble with air travel is those flying privately. Private jets have a disproportionate impact on the environment. Private jets are the worst offenders for emissions per passenger. It’s a particularly popular form of travel among celebrities, who often opt for incredibly short-haul flights instead of choosing a more environmentally friendly alternative. 

Here at Yard, we feel strongly that it's our collective responsibility to understand the impact of such choices. And so, we wanted to find out which celebrities have clocked up the most carbon emissions from private jet travel since the beginning of 2022. We’ve researched over 1,500 flights to find out, here’s what we found.

Methodology

After Kylie Jenner posted this Instagram of her and beau, Travis Scott's private jets captioned: "you wanna take mine or yours?" the internet went crazy and many people took to social media platforms to share their feelings on Kylie's private jet fiasco.

Our Campaigns Team, alongside the Technical SEO team, decided to take a deep dive into just how much celebrities' flights impact our environment.  

Scraping data from Celebrity Jets, we measured the top celebrity private jet offenders. We cross-compared the data with the general population's CO2 emissions (CO2e) and each celebrity's CO2e. The data looks at the number of flights each star has taken so far, the average time of their flights, miles, and total CO2e just since the beginning of the year. Shockingly, Miss Jenner didn't even make the top 10 CO2e offenders from their jet-set lifestyles – in fact, she's 19th.

  • Our data reveals that the celebs have emitted an average of 3376.64 tonnes of CO2 emissions in just their private jet usage in 2022 so far.

  • That's 482.37 times more than the average person’s annual emissions.

  • Average flight times came in at just 71.77 minutes with an average of 66.92 miles travelled per flight.

  • Some of the biggest offenders include Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Travis Scott.

What the experts say

Previous data has shown that just 15% of the population takes 70% of the flights every year, and our data reveals that the average amount of CO2e produced by our celebrities - only by their private jets - in 2022 so far is 3376.64 tonnes each. To put that in perspective, the average person emits just 7 tonnes of CO2e - annually

On average, that's 482.37 times more than our annual emissions, and the year isn't even over yet. Looking at the 21 celebrities mentioned on the Celebrity Jets account since the beginning of the year, average flight times came in at just 71.77 minutes, with an average of 66.92 miles travelled per flight

We asked our Digital Sustainability Director, Chris Butterworth, his thoughts:

“It’s easy to get lost in the dazzling lives of the rich and famous, but unfortunately, they’re a massive part of the CO2e problem we have with the aviation industry. Aviation is responsible for 2.4% of human-produced CO2e every year, and research shows a vast divide between the super-rich and the rest of us regarding flights, travel, and even general emissions.

“Tackling climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges that we face. It’s understandably frustrating when most of the population does their bit to lower their personal CO2e, whether that’s separating their cardboard from plastic, reducing their meat consumption, reducing their digital footprints by turning off their devices if they don’t use them for two hours or more or even just clearing out their email inboxes. However, when you do fly, there are now many ways you can offset easily. Things like taking out travel insurance which has the facility can offset your flight emissions, is a great place to start”. 

A full breakdown of the top 10 celebrity CO2e offenders:

1. Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift might be today's pop princess, but Yard's research found that Miss Swift is the biggest celebrity CO2e polluter of this year so far. Racking up a total of 170 flights since January, Taylor's jet has amassed a vast 22,923 minutes in the air – 15.9 days. Quite a large amount considering that she is not currently touring. 

Taylor's jet has an average flight time of just 80 minutes and an average of 139.36 miles per flight. Her total flight emissions for the year come in at 8,293.54 tonnes, or 1,184.8 times more than the average person's total annual emissions. Taylor’s shortest recorded flight of 2022 was just 36 minutes, flying from Missouri to Nashville.

2. Floyd Mayweather

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather comes in closely behind Taylor, emitting 7,076.8 tonnes of CO2 from his private jet this year. That’s 1,011 times more than the average person’s yearly.

However, Mayweather's jet has amassed more flights than any other celebrity on this list, taking 177 so far this year – an average of 25 flights per month: almost one every single day!

The shortest flight recorded by Mayweather was just 10 minutes, landing in Las Vegas and emitting 1 ton of CO2

3. Jay-Z

Third on the list is rapper and husband of Beyonce, Jay-Z. Yard’s research found that so far this year, Jay-Z's private jet has taken 136 flights, emitting 6,981.3 tonnes of CO2. That’s 997.3 times more than the average person’s yearly emissions.

Like Taylor, Jay-Z is not currently on tour and his average flight time is just over an hour at 67 minutes. So far in 2022, his jet has clocked up 19,296 minutes in flight time – 13.4 days. Flights include a 35-minute journey from New Jersey to Boston and a 29-minute flight from North Carolina to Ohio.

4. A-Rod

J-Lo's ex-fiance and baseball player, A-Rod, has quite a jet-set lifestyle. The data reveals A-Rod to be the fourth biggest CO2e flight offender, racking up 5,342.7 tonnes of CO2 from his private jet so far this year – 763.24 times more emissions than the average person produces in a year

Like the other celebs, A-Rod's jet is guilty of some short flights, with his shortest coming in at just 34 minutes.

Since January, A-Rod's jet has taken 106 flights, spending an average of just 80 minutes in the air

5. Blake Shelton

American country music singer and husband of Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, has taken a whopping 111 flights on his private jet this year with 12,424 minutes spent in the air – or 8.6 days

Like many of his fellow private jetters, Blake's jet has an average flight time of just over an hour, at 64.37 minutes. So far, Blake’s jet has emitted 4495 tonnes of CO2, 642 times more than what the average person produces in an entire year

Shortest flights include a 38-minute journey from Texas to Oklahoma and a 27-minute flight from Van Nuys Airport in LA, California, to San Diego Airport, also in California.

6. Steven Spielberg

Legendary film director Steven Spielberg is sixth on the list, with his jet taking 61 flights this year and emitting 4,465 tonnes of CO2 637.9 times more than the average person’s annual emissions. Spielberg, however, has the second-longest average flight time on this list, coming in at 107.31 minutes, or about an hour and 47 minutes. 

The total time his private jet has spent flying this year is 12,341 minutes: 8.57 days. Shortest flights include a 25-minute journey from Francis S. Gabreski Airport in New York state to New Jersey and an 18-minute flight from Amsterdam to Rotterdam: a 48.5-mile trip

7. Kim Kardashian

Like her sister Kylie, Kim K is no stranger to sharing her private jet with her 326M followers on Instagram. She often shares snaps of inside and outside the aircraft when she uses it, most recently sharing this snap of the jet from her daughter North West’s birthday party. 

So far this year, Kim’s jet emitted 4268.5 tonnes of carbon emissions over 57 flights: 609.8 times more than the average person emits in a year. Kim’s jet has an average flight time of 85.49 minutes, for an average journey length of 99.78 miles

Her shortest journeys include a 38-minute flight to Palm Spring, emitting 3 tonnes of CO2, and a 23-minute flight from San Diego, California, to Camarillo, also California. 

8. Mark Wahlberg

Next on the list is actor Mark Wahlberg who has emitted 3772.85 tonnes of CO2 emissions over 101 flights so far in 2022 – that's 538.9 times more than the average person's yearly. The total flight time of Mark's jet comes in at 10,428 minutes, or 7.2 days in the air. His average flight time is the longest on this list, yet is still just 117.45 minutes, averaging about 87.47 miles per flight.

Mark's shortest flights include a 29-minute journey from Van Nuys, California, to Palm Springs, also California and a 46-minute flight landing in London, causing 4 tonnes of CO2e.

9. Oprah Winfrey

Multi-billionaire television host Oprah Winfrey has emitted an estimated 3,493.17 tonnes of CO2 from her use of her private jet this year through a total of 68 flights – 499 times more than the average person’s total annual emissions.

Winfrey’s $75 million private jet travels for an average of 81.13 minutes at a time with an averagejourney length of 101.26 miles. Shortest flights include a 14-minute flight from Van Nuys, California to Santa Barbara, also California and a 16-minute flight causing 1 tonne of CO2e.

10. Travis Scott

Whilst Kylie Jenner’s average flight time might be just 24.5 minutes, Yard’s research found that she doesn’t make the top 10 of celebrity emitters. However, her beau, Travis Scott does, racking up 3033.3 tonnes of CO2e just this year, with an average flight journey of just 7.31 miles – the shortest average in the top 10.

Travis' jet has a total flight time of 8,384 minutes, or 5.8 days, so far in 2022.

Additional information

If you choose to run this story, please provide a link back to: https://weareyard.com/  

If you choose to include Chris’ commentary, please also provide a link back to: https://aline.to/

If you wish to enquire about Yard’s Digital PR & Campaigns service for your own business, please contact lou.ali@yard.email

All CO2e estimates were made by a sustainability professional.

Methodology

All celebrity data was pulled from Celebrity Jets on 19/7/22 and analysed from 1/1/22 onwards

Celebrity Jets pull data from https://www.adsbexchange.com/

Data for Mark Wahlberg was revised on 29/7/22 due to a spelling error on the Celebrity Jets Twitter account - ‘Mark Whalburg’ was consolidated with ‘Mark Wahlberg’. The registration on the jet tracking for both surname spellings was the same, concluding the spelling error from the first data pull.

CO2e estimates based on 134kg (DfT) and includes radiative forcing at a ratio of 2.7 = (The calculation works out as (timeinair x y)/1000 where x 134 kg/h as reported by the DfT and y = 2.7 which as reported by the book Carbon Counter by Mark Lynas and is the factor to include radiative forcing to include other emissions that create an impact such as nitrous oxide that can damage the ozone layer. Dividing the total by 1000 to convert to tonnes)

Source: Mark Lynas (2007) Carbon Counter (Collins), Carbon Emission Assumptions (Sep 2007), UK Department for Transport journey planner

Yard is aware that this list is not conclusive to the biggest offenders, but the biggest offenders according to the data as presented on the CelebrityJets Twitter page.

Yard is aware this data is based on these celebrities’ planes, so it is not known if these celebrities were on all the recorded flights.

Addendum (05/08/2022)

We have received an incredibly positive response to our original findings, more so than we ever could have anticipated. In the last 12 months our agency has begun thinking more about digital sustainability, alongside sustainability as a wider topic. Using the angle of private jet usage, a topic already in the media we thought an interesting way to ignite conversation on the topic of over consumption with a new and wider audience. Our methodology has always been described in full, however our assumptions have been rightly challenged by aviation experts who have since shared with us useful sources of information which show there are different ways to calculate emissions. 

One of the key assumptions we made related to the DfT estimate of CO2e as a result of these flights. However, this finding broadly assumes that all celebrities were using the same grade of private jet, whereas, in reality, there are some jets on the list which emit far more emissions than others. Therefore, revisiting calculations, taking into account the specific jets being used, rather than use a broad estimate of CO2e, we have the consumption of jet fuel during each of these trips, and then identified the CO2e per gallon of jet fuel. 

Interestingly these different calculations, we see that the jet owned by Drake uses an average of 1,722 gallons of jet fuel per hour, whereas Taylor Swift’s jet uses a much lower 347 gallons per hour. 

However, the top 10 and the estimated CO2e do change, as per the table below: 

PositionCelebrity JetCO2e
1Taylor Swift2,971.50
2Drake2,904.25
3Floyd Mayweather2,205.22
4Puma/Jay-Z 2,107.72
5Kim Kardashian1,752.51
6A-Rod1,731.10
7Steven Spielberg1,485.69
8Mark Wahlberg*1,443.27
9Blake Shelton1,357.85
10Jack Nicklaus1,129.66 

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