Private jets (AKA PJs) are really bad for the environment, like really bad. We’ve looked at efforts to ban PJs before, this time let’s examine the relative carbon emissions of different classes of flying. If you’re not rich enough to afford a PJ or a first class ticket then you’re already demonstrating more care for the environment. The wealthy have had a disproportionate impact on climate change.
Of course, the best thing to do with flying emissions is to eliminate them entirely by building more and faster trains.
A 747 flight from London to New York creates 200 tonnes of CO2. If that is divided between all the passengers, that’s 572kg each. Except that business class and first class passengers use more space, and are therefore less efficient and more polluting. A first class ticket on the same plane uses 2,835kg – and why some have suggestedending first classas a quick-win way to reduce aviation emissions.
The emissions from first class seats are knocked into a top hat by the emissions of private planes. Take your own jet to New York, and you’re looking at over 25 tonnes of CO2.
Car drivers take up way more road space than they need since the size of their vehicles are disproportionate to their usefulness. Smart countries aim to limit the number of single occupant vehicles on the road for this reason and to ensure that all people can easily get from one place to the next. Traffic is so bad in some places that countries, like France, are now paying people to give up on their car.
France is working hard to push urban drivers out of cars and towards smaller and more environmentally responsible forms of transportation. In large cities like Paris, reduction in traffic from a switch to bicycles and scooters is perhaps just as important to many residents as the environmental effects.
We recently covered the case of anelectric bicycle company that is switching from vans to cargo e-bikesto increase the number of electric bikes it could deliver each day. The company’s delivery vans were simply too slow in Paris traffic, and switching to cargo e-bikes will help ramp up deliveries by using smaller, quicker, and more efficient vehicles.
Road users always complain that other people are breaking the law, every group of road users accuess another of breaking the most traffic rules. Truckers think cars are the worst, car drivers think cyclists are the worse, and cyclists think all vehicles are bad.
When it comes to an objective analysis of which category of road users are the worst: it’s the car. Bicyclists are the least likely to break laws.
Studies elsewhere in Europe have previously found that the image of the law-breaking “Lycra lout”is wrong. ATransport for London studyinvestigated the “hypothesis that the majority of cyclists ride through red lights” and discovered that 84% of cyclists stopped on reds. The study concluded that the “majority of cyclists obey red traffic lights” and that “violation is not endemic.”
There’s a fiction that cars are needed in cities and we should provide parts of our limited land in urban centres so one person can leave their car. This fiction perpetuated by car brains hurts our cities and is really not good, to solve this problem the city of Rotterdam create a parking pad that fits more than one vehicle using the same plot of land. Yes, it’s a bike rack. A special rack. The bicycle rack is placed on a mobile platform that is the size of a single car. The city can then easily trial out new bike rack locations, gauge demand, and get local communities to support a permanent parking solution.
The idea came originally from planners in the city of Rotterdam, who were brainstorming ideas in 2015 to help increase biking in a neighborhood that had extra car parking. “We figured, why couldn’t we develop a bicycle platform in order to just test if there’s demand for bicycle parking in this neighborhood—launch it as a test and experiment to help change the mindset of people in this neighborhood,” says urban planner José Besselink. “We also thought it would help us in accelerating this transition because we know that eliminating car parking is a tough thing anywhere in the world.”
In The Hague, neighbors can request a platform for their own block. On one of the streets where bike parking was installed this spring, the project helped residents realize they wanted to do more, says Schutte. “The residents of the street want to go even further and are investigating whether there could be more greenery in the street and whether the street could be made car-free,” she says. “It has also made residents more aware of their living environment and that you can do something about it, together with other residents and the municipality.”
A forward-looking individual decided to start a campaign to ban private jets and it’s gaining steam. The movement to get rid of private jets is growing and now celebrities like Elon Musk and Taylor Swift are getting lambasted in the press about their planet-destroying transportation options. Given how much damage the air industry does to the planet, focussing on banning private jets, which are used by a very tiny percentage of people, should be socially acceptable by everyone.
Maybe we should start championing private trains instead 😉
The argument in favor of banning private jets is a simple one. If you were trying, for whatever reason, to have as large of a carbon footprint as possible, the first thing you would do is fly in a private plane. You would especially do so for very short flights, because taking off is the most energy-intensive part of any flight. A common model of a private plane burns 226 gallons of jet fuel an hour on average. And jet fuel—which is typically not taxed—emits more toxic gasses than gasoline.
Not only is flying in a private plane just about the worst thing one can do for the planet, it is also one of the habits with the easiest substitutes. Private jets emit approximately seven times as much greenhouse gasses as a business class ticket on a commercial airliner, 10 times as much as an economy seat, and some 150 times more than an electric train journey. Although “ban private jets” sounds like a radical argument, it is really quite modest, since rich people would still have any number of ultra-luxurious alternatives at their disposal and plenty of money to hire security guards to ensure the privacy they say flying private ensures.