In the wake of a recent spate of incidents on US domestic airlines, The Wall Street Journal released an article detailing the differences major airlines are undergoing in the aim to gain more consumers – even less perks for the “economy” seats, and even more for the first-class and business travelers:
Battling it out with discount carriers, the world’s biggest airlines are rolling out ultracheap economy-class tickets, or cutting back sharply on basic amenities for their lowest-paying customers. At the same time, they are pulling out the stops to lavish their premium fliers with more perks.
American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. all now offer super-low fares, dubbed “basic economy,” that strip out even once-standard allowances, such as carry-on baggage or a choice of seat before boarding.
But at the front of the plane, the same carriers are showering premium passengers with ever more comfort. Middle East and Asian airlines are among those leading the way, with U.S. carriers trying to catch up. American Airlines has upgraded its business class. Delta last year unveiled plans for business-class suites, effectively small cabins that can be closed off from others, with fully reclining seats. The suites should feature on planes this year.
Bear in mind, this is the same Wall Street Journal that shamelessly published the Shultz/Baker/Paulson essay on why a “carbon tax” is essential, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. So why hasn’t the publication looked at the increase in emissions generated by first class, and more importantly, private aviation?
If you examine the global breakdown of CO2 emissions as per the IEA, transportation comes in second, at 23%:
Electricity and heat production are two things that just aren’t going away at the moment, unless the world is prepared to replace every coal-fired plant with nuclear power. Manufacturing and construction are the backbones of our economy, and like electricity and heat production, the carbon effects are all meted out across the entire population, not solely the direct consumer – for example, that coal-fired plant might power millions of homes, and the carbon impact of goods sold in stores are borne out by everyone who consumes goods anywhere.
Therefore, transportation is the single biggest place any individual has the most profound impact on their “carbon footprint”, whether it is via abstaining from travel altogether, or by traveling via more efficient means (i.e. riding a motorcycle to work instead of driving an SUV). Yale Climate Connections states that the US aviation industry produces 11 percent of US transportation emissions are produced by aviation, and estimates the number at 2-3% of all global CO2 emissions per annum are produced by aviation. 2-3% globally is almost certainly accurate, since 11% of the above 23% is 2.53%, so we’ll just call it 2.5% for simplicity’s sake.
Allow that to sink in for a minute – aviation accounts for 2.5% of the world’s global emissions. If the “climate change” crowd was serious, they would look into aviation far more closely, as it is the single biggest per-capita elective activity when it comes to carbon emissions. The New York Times exposed this over four years ago, and it was likely the first (and maybe last) time you’d heard it discussed:
For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.
So if you take five long flights a year, they may well account for three-quarters of the emissions you create. “For many people in New York City, who don’t drive much and live in apartments, this is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint,” says Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based environmental consultant.
It is for me. And for people like Al Gore or Richard Branson who crisscross the world, often by private jet, proclaiming their devotion to the environment.
With that in mind, take a look at the layout provided by The Wall Street Journal for a United Airlines 777:
Just from the eyeball test, it looks as though each business class seat could fit at least six economy seats. Which indeed corresponds to Quartz and The Daily Mail claiming that flying first or business class can increase a passenger’s “carbon footprint” by between six and nine times that of an economy traveler. And do not buy the nonsense of the first/business class flyer “subsidizing” the economy passengers – many of those seats are provided for free via “upgrade” to “preferred” travelers, or financed by businesses who pay reduced fares for bulk purchases of tickets. How much of a “subsidy” can the first class cabin be if airlines are willing to give it away?
An all-economy version of the largest jumbo-jet plane in existence, the Airbus A380, could fit up to 840 passengers. Yet, as cited by Wikipedia, all but one configuration offers 517 or less seats, with the lone exception being an Emirates version that carries 615. So, the average A380 carries 60% of its total possible passengers, because far more space is left for the first class passengers.
Yes, nine first class seats and two “residence” seats on Etihad’s A380 upper deck take up as much room as 78 economy seats directly below on the main deck. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the “climate change” crowd to suggest a 6-9x “carbon tax” for first-class aviation.
Of course, Etihad’s “residence” seats are hardly the most inefficient form of air travel available – that title belongs to private aviation. As Free Market Shooter has previously pointed out, private flights are far more carbon intensive, using up to 37 times as much emissions as commercial…
…and that is before you factor in the increased emissions borne out by the first class passengers. The Daily Caller did an analysis of (one of) Leonardo DiCaprio’s private flights, and the statistics are astounding:
“The Revenant” actor burned more than 17,000 gallons of jet fuel during the trip, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator, equals approximately 169,400 lbs. of coal burned, or about 90 tons of coal.
His 8,000-mile trip used more total greenhouse gas emission than 33 passenger vehicles over a one-year period of time, as well as that of 57 tons of waste sent to a landfill. The total trip also burned more carbon emissions than 20 U.S. homes’ electricity use over one year. DiCaprio did all of this in just one back and forth trip.
Yet, as ridiculous as those statistics may sound, they are absolutely nothing compared to a Saudi prince’s outfitting of the aforementioned double-decker A380 for private use only:
When you have £16billion in the bank, a Cessna is simply not an option. Instead, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud is about to take delivery of an Airbus A380, the world’s biggest private jet.
The same model is used by Singapore Airlines and Emirates and can fly 800 passengers 8,000 miles before refuelling. But the Saudi prince doesn’t need 800 seats, so he will have them removed to make room for an opulent, marble-finished Turkish bath and a parking space for his Rolls-Royce.
So, while governments of the world have no problem elaborating at length on why a “carbon tax” (which disproportionately affects the poor) is essential for “the survival of the human race”, they have no problem with a Saudi prince single-handedly putting as much carbon in the atmosphere as the equivalent of over 800 people would in an all-economy long-haul flight.
And before you hear the “nothing to see here folks, move along” from the “climate change” crowd, don’t forget about Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who took ten aircraft and brought 500 limousines to meet him in Japan…
The king’s delegation arrived in Japan on 10 aircraft and according to the Japanese press, an entourage so large even Japanese government officials didn’t have an accurate number of how many people to expect. In preparation for the royal visit, 1,200 rooms in Tokyo’s best hotels were booked for the delegation.
King Salman appears to have upped his game since visiting the US and, most recently, Indonesia, where he brought two limousines with him. In Japan, an entire fleet of up to 500 limousines were sourced from around the country according to RT. “Maintenance costs for luxury models are high and there is little constant demand for such vehicles,” a limousine industry insider told Asahi Shimbun. “Because we are unable to secure the needed number only in Tokyo, we are gathering the vehicles from Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures as well as the Tokai region.”
…or President Obama and Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, who (in)famously took Air Force One to the Everglades (on Earth Day, no less) to discuss how “climate change” is an immediate threat, but it seems both chose to ignore the irony of how much CO2 the Presidential envoy emitted:
An Earth Day outing to the Everglades seems like a great way to raise awareness about climate change, but let’s think about that for a moment. Google Maps calculates the distance between the White House and the Everglades at approximately 1,000 miles. Air Force One is a modified 747. How Stuff Works found that, when there are 500 people on a 747, the it’s actually pretty fuel efficient, and you get around 100 miles per gallon per person. But when it’s basically just Barack Obama, Bill Nye, and some staffers on board, the math is less generous. The plane burns about five gallons of fuel per mile, so the approximately 2,000-mile roundtrip would burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 gallons of jet fuel, which checks out with CBS News White House reporter Mark Knollers’ ballpark estimate.
Pres Obama's Earth Day trip will cover 1,836 miles roundtrip and consume 9,180 gallons of fuel on Air Force One.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) April 22, 2015
That’s almost 90 metric tons of carbon. The green house gas emissions of the trip are equivalent to burning 95,000 pounds of coal or consuming 207 barrels of oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And that’s to say nothing of the presidential motorcade or any other aspect of the trip.
For the record, I’m not in opposition to private or first-class flight – count me firmly in the “denier” camp, as someone who thinks that CO2 is not the end-all-be-all that the left claims it to be. However, I’m also not Obama and Nye, who both hypocritically state that “carbon emissions will doom us all” while simultaneously emitting as much CO2 on one flight as thousands of Americans (already ranked #8 on the per-capita CO2 emissions list worldwide) do in a full year.
In fact, Nye seems more apt to look towards making “climate change” political, as he spent this past weekend decrying President Trump for his policies at yet another Trump protest, this one labeled the “March for Science” in Washington DC:
Nye, who served as an honorary co-chair for the March for Science, chided lawmakers who ignore scientific research in areas like climate change and railed against the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts.
Perhaps Nye would be taken more seriously if instead of complaining about Trump’s budget cuts, he instead decided to cut into his own hypocrisy and eschew the planet’s wealthy who emit far more CO2 on one flight than nearly all Americans do over the course of an entire year.
Then again, good luck taking Bill Nye seriously about anything these days; the self-proclaimed “Science Guy” appears just as intent on educating his viewers about “gender politics” and “sex junk” as he does with “climate change”:
It would be funny, if it weren’t already so sad.