‘Incredibly selfish’: This millionaire is selling his private jet after learning how polluting it is
It’s never too late to change - just ask Stephen Prince. The American multimillionaire is selling his private jet after learning how polluting it is.
The Georgia businessman started flying in small jets six years ago, and compared the experience to a cocaine habit.
“Don’t do it unless you’re ready to get addicted to it,” he told Business Insider.
The gift-card magnate once owned three jets. Now, he’s selling his last one.
"I get on my plane and I'll spew ten times as much carbon into the atmosphere as I do when I get on a first-class flight on Delta or American Airlines," he said.
"It's just unconscionable — It's incredibly selfish."
Stephen Prince is co-chair of the ‘Patriotic Millionaires’ organisation, a group of rich Americans who call for higher taxes on the rich.
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How bad is flying for the environment?
Any form of flying is bad for the environment.
An economy class return flight from London to New York emits around 1.48 tonnes of CO2 per passenger - more than double the average person in Ghana produces in a whole year.
But private jets magnify this impact by a factor of at least 14, according to a report by Transport & Environment, a European clean transport campaigning organisation.
This makes them roughly 50 times more polluting per passenger than trains.
Prince will miss jet flying - but can no longer stomach the environmental consequences.
"It [flying private] is a very amazing way to live one's life," Prince said. "If you can get over the amazingly selfish attributes that it represents."
The anti-private jet movement is growing
Just one per cent of people cause 50 per cent of global aviation emissions. But as the climate crisis bites, the anti-private jet movement is growing.
In February, climate scientists blocked several private jet terminals around the world.
“It is time to ban private jets and tax frequent flyers to the ground”, says NASA climate scientist Dr Peter Kalmus from activism organisation Scientist Rebellion.
“We cannot allow the rich to sacrifice our present and future in the pursuit of their luxury lifestyles."
Many celebrities have faced online backlash for their frequent flying.
Elon Musk shut down a twitter account that tracked his private jet movements last year. It has since been reinstated with a 24 hour delay.The Twitter CEO and billionaire took 171 flights in 2022 - equivalent to almost one flight every two days.
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Teenager Akash Shendure ‘Climate Jets’ project went viral earlier this year. The 17-year-old compiled date that shows the fossil fuel footprint of 163 private jet users.
Thomas Siebel - the billionaire founder of Siebel Systems and the top polluter listed by the Shendure’s ClimateJets project - emitted 4,649 tonnes of CO2 from private flights during 2022.
According to new research, there were a record 5.3 million private jet flights in 2022, while the total private fleet expanded to around 23,000 aircraft.