It’s an announcement that the LVMH boss is great at: appearing last month, the Instagram account “L’avion de Bernard” already has more than 38,000 subscribers. It consists from public data the journeys of private jet registered F-GVMA, a Bombardier Global Express with an estimated value of 48 million euros, and estimates its carbon footprint. This jet is the plane of Bernard Arnault, the third richest man in the world.
On the date of June 7, for example, the account shows a Paris-Farnborough round trip (around London). Duration: three quarters of an hour. CO2 released: 1.6 tons! In comparison, a Paris-London Eurostar takes two and a quarter hours, for 2.3 kilograms of CO.2 given to each passenger.
For the month of May, a summary has a total of forty -six flight hours and 176 tons of CO.2 in the meter of the billionaire’s device. This is 26 times the emissions of an average French person in a year and 88 times the maximum level of emissions that a French person must respect in 2050 to meet national climate goals, ie 2 tonnes. of CO.2.
The Internet user tracking Bernard’s plane was inspired by the account of an American teenager who did the same on Elon Musk’s jet, with a stated purpose. “show the polluting lifestyle of the richest”. After Bernard’s plane, who’s next?
Business aviation is leaving, as are its emissions
This unveil comes in a context where business aviation is emerging. Organized at the end of May in Geneva, the twentieth edition of the European exhibition for professionals in the sector was a great moment of enthusiasm, both for aircraft orders and for the second-hand market or for sales hours of flight. .
Between 2019 and 2021, the number of private jet flights will increase by 22%. The number of customers will increase by 50% between 2020 and 2021.
Inevitably, CO emissions2 accordingly. At the European level, while CO emissions2 of commercial aviation rose 25% between 2005 and 2019, business aviation climbed faster, by 31%, according to a study by the NGO Transport & Environment.
This trend accelerated following the pandemic, both because since then the wealthy have become more affluent and because when they can, they avoid mixing with the masses more. For the Cannes Film Festival, arrivals by private jet have nearly doubled compared to 2019.
Trips are not just for business
” Business is business ”, some would say in defense of these dirty journeys: after all, aren’t they a necessary evil in a globalized economy like ours?
This idea is largely a myth. As Transport & Environment points out, many thefts have nothing to do with business. The business airports of Cannes, Ibiza or Palma de Mallorca experience heavy traffic in the summer, but this is not the case in January…
Moreover, the time-saved argument is often artificial. To cross oceans, an Airbus or a Boeing is better than a private jet, whose travel speed is lower.
As for short-haul flights, where most business aviation is concentrated in Europe, in most cases there are alternative rails (with WiFi on board) with less than a three-hour difference. Often the Paris-London that Bernard Arnault loved.
Taxing the pollution of the rich
True, business aviation represents only 2% of air transport emissions. But that’s no reason to let things go. The NGO Transport & Environment is pleading for a 2030 ban on private flights less than 1,000 kilometers burning fossil fuels and, at that time, for a heavy taxation of kerosene (now excluded from all taxation). This was proposed by the Citizens’ Climate Convention, a proposal rejected by the government and its majority.
Be careful, however, not to turn the spotlight on the super-rich pollution scandal, which is a super-minority. On a global scale, half of air emissions come from 1% of the population. The richest 10% focus on between a third and a half of global emissions. Pointing out Bernard and his plane is good, but it’s not enough: the pollution of the rich (and not just the very rich) should be taxed.
However, they can sleep peacefully. Amélie de Montchalin, the Minister for Ecological Transition, didn’t she recently invite “all French people not to overuse their air conditioning”? This is called high-flying politics! Or, of your choice, soar to high altitude.