Having three dogs is as bad for the environment as taking a private jet, claims travel boss

Pet dogs are as polluting as private jets, a luxury airline executive has claimed, amid rising scrutiny of the industry.

Patrick Hansen, the boss of Luxaviation, told a Financial Times summit that the carbon footprint of private jets must “be put into perspective”.

He claimed that one of the company’s customers emitted just 2.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, roughly the same as the emissions of three pet dogs.

Mr Hansen was referring to estimates by carbon footprint consultant and writer Mike Berners-Lee, who has said that a labrador has an annual carbon footprint of around 770kg.

Luxaviation did not immediately respond to questions from The Telegraph about the distance or number of journeys travelled by the customer used in his example.

Mr Berners-Lee told the Financial Times that the figure of 2.1 tonnes of CO2 seemed “suspiciously” low, and was likely only accounting for short flights taken in small planes.

A private jet can emit 2 tonnes of CO2 in one hour, according to estimates from green NGO Transport and Environment, compared to 8.2 tonnes of CO2 emitted by the average person in Europe.

Private jets are 50 times more polluting than trains

A study from the group in 2021 found that private jets were 5 to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger, and 50 times more polluting than trains.

Private jets emissions increased 31 per cent between 2005 and 2019 even as concern over the impacts of climate change became mainstream. Their use has boomed since the pandemic, rising 14 per cent between 2019 and 2022, as wealthy individuals sought to avoid the new restrictions and hassle of air travel.

Rishi Sunak is among several public figures to have faced criticism over their use of private planes. The prime minister took £500,000 worth of private jet trips in less than a fortnight earlier this year, prompting criticism from the Liberal Democrats that the Government was “trashing their own green promises”.

Taylor Swift, the pop star, was forced to release a statement clarifying that her private jet was regularly loaned out to other individuals after a Twitter account calculating the emissions impact of several celebrities’ flights went viral.

Climate activists in Europe have targeted private jet use with disruption at airports, including in Geneva on Tuesday. Last year hundreds of protesters stopped private jets taking off from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Five months later the airport announced that it planned to ban private jets by 2026.

Private jet use is ‘not going away’

Mr Hansen told the Financial Times summit in Monaco that private jet use was “not going away, because they provide a service of time” to wealthy people.

He added that the industry was aware of criticism and working to reduce its emissions impact, although the scarcity of sustainable aviation fuels meant they were not a practical solution.

However, he said that sometimes it was better not to take planes for shorter journeys.

“We tell our customers, don’t fly from Paris to Lyon.”

The UK’s climate change citizens assembly, convened from a representative cross-section of society, called for a ban on private jets and a frequent flyer levy in its recommendations in 2020.

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