The two countries together account for nearly 40% of private jet emissions in Europe, and six of the 10 most polluting routes for private aviation in Europe arrive or depart from London airports.
Carbon emissions from private jets on the continent increased by nearly a third (31%) between 2005 and 2019, according to the report from the European NGO and the Transport & Environment (T&E) campaign group.
Entitled “Private Jets: Can the Super Rich Supercharge Zero Emission Aviation?” The study reports that a four-hour private flight emits as much as the average person does in a year.
Research also found that CO2 emissions from the use of private jets have increased faster than those from commercial flights.
Private jets are 10 times more carbon intensive than other planes on average and 50 times more polluting than trains.
The study highlighted the continued use of private jets over the past year despite the pandemic.
By August 2020, with most Europeans still grounded and commercial flights down 60% year-over-year, private jet traffic had returned to pre-Covid levels.
A private jet operator reported an 11.3% increase in flight sales in July 2020.
But despite the climate impact of private jets, they are untaxed in most European countries due to exemptions from the EU Carbon Pricing System (EU ETS) and untaxed kerosene.
“Flying in a private jet is probably the worst thing you can do for the environment,” said Andrew Murphy, director of aviation at T&E.
“And yet the super-rich polluters are flying like there is no climate crisis.
“The upside is that the private jet market is perfectly suited to help create the Tesla moment of aviation, making hydrogen and electric planes a reality.”
The report makes three recommendations to advance the decarbonisation of the sector and mitigate the climate impact of the use of private jets:
- By 2030, regulators should only allow the use of green hydrogen or electric powered airplanes for private jet flights of less than 1,000 km in Europe.
- Until a ban in 2030, a combination of an effective price on carbon, jet fuel, and flight taxes should be imposed on fossil-fueled private jets, based on flight distance and aircraft weight, to take into account their disproportionate climate impact.
- Businesses and individuals should commit to drastically reducing the use of private jets. As new technologies emerge, flights should be banned where there are alternatives that do not increase travel time by more than 2.5 hours.