Taylor Swift has flown a private jet to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. An analysis of her round trip to and from Japan estimates it created a carbon footprint equal to that of the annual number of 14 Americans. The wealthy, or corporations, will fly over 1,000 private jets into the four around Las Vegas. The green damage effect of the flights is huge.
WingX tracks flight traffic around the world. This year’s Super Bowl, according to its experts, will top the figures from the game a year ago. “2023 set the record in terms of total outbound departures following a Super Bowl. So with it happening in Las Vegas coming, which is already a top bizjet hub, we would expect a very large post-event bizjet activity after this weekend.”
Billionaire jet owners have devised several rationalizations about the giant carbon footprints their jets cause. Bill Gates, one of the world’s ten wealthiest people, says that since his philanthropic work for the environment and other philanthropic programs is so important, the damage his jet does is justified. He recently told the BBC, ‘I spend billions of dollars on climate innovation. So, you know, should I stay at home and not come to Kenya and learn about farming and malaria. Anyway.’
The Carbon Footprint Of The Rich
Although the rich sometimes say they need a private jet for personal and corporate travel, their negative effect on the environment would be much smaller if they took commercial aircraft. The Institute for Policy Studies released a research paper titled, High Flyers 2023: How Ultrarich Private Plan Travel Costs The Rest of Us and Burns Up The Planet. Among the conclusions was that Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, had private jet activity that created 2,112 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2022. That is 132 times the average annual carbon footprint of a US resident. The paper also pointed out that the rich can try to dodge their climate responsibility by putting jet ownership in the names of corporations.
The private jet problem contributes to a much larger one. The world’s wealthiest people are part of a pattern among wealthy individuals and corporations. There are about 15,000 private jets in the United States, and companies own most of them. Unlike commercial jets, these operate on schedules not limited by the profits or losses of airlines. Private jet owners can fly when they want to.