Drake, the rapper, has sought to defend his use of a large private jet for a series of flights that lasted less than 20 minutes – by revealing the plane was moved to a storage location with no passengers on board.
The Canadian music star and several other celebrities, including socialite and business owner Kylie Jenner, have recently come under fire online for using their private jets for short trips that can easily be completed by car or public transport.
The 14-minute trip burned through 426 gallons of fuel and caused four tons of carbon emissions, which is the same as the total annual carbon footprint of an average person, according to Celebrity Jets, an automated Twitter account that tracks the private flights of the rich and famous.
Responding on Instagram to the criticism of those flights, Drake wrote: “This is just them moving planes to whatever airport they’re stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics… nobody takes that flight.”
While several of Drake’s fans responded with support, arguing that celebrities often move their planes for convenience, others pointed out that the pollution from the plane was even more pointless since it wasn’t carrying anyone.
One response to Drake said: “OK but it’s worse, you don’t see how it’s worse?”
Private jets contribute in a relatively small but significant way to the climate crisis, emitting more than 33 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, more than the country of Denmark, each year.
Because they carry so few people, they are five to 14 times more polluting than commercial airplanes, per passenger, and 50 times more polluting than trains, researchers have found.
Drake’s empty flights would have been even more carbon intensive, given the lack of people on board.
“Drake lives in his own meme if he thinks an empty private jet is better than a wasted one with a celebrity on board,” said Scott Hochberg, a transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“This is a prime example of wasteful carbon emissions leading to even more wasteful carbon emissions. These extreme flights add climate-warming pollution throughout the journey, from taxiing on the runway to the ground vehicles servicing the aircraft.
“Ultra-short, non-essential flying only multiplies travel’s climate impacts, and we hope celebrities will wake up to the harmful impact of their frivolous flying.”
Drake’s climate impact is greater than many other celebrities with private jets due to the sheer size of his personal plane. The $185 million Boeing 767, which has been dubbed the “Air Drake,” normally seats hundreds of people for commercial flights, but has been modified to the rapper’s own taste.
Drake proudly showed off the renovation of his jet in a video posted online three years ago, showing the plane with leather recliners, luxury bathrooms and a full kitchen.