- ROBIN UTRECHT / AFP / Getty Images
- On Monday, Sir Elton John shared a statement on Twitter supporting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after the couple faced a backlash for their extensive use of private jets.
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were accused of hypocrisy due to their outspoken support of environmentalism.
- However, John wrote that he had paid to make the royal couple’s trip to his home in the south of France carbon neutral using a carbon offset service.
- According to the BBC, Harry and Markle’s jet emitted around 18 tonnes of CO2 on their round trip from London to Nice.
- Carbon Footprint calculates that this could have been offset by donating $135 to its “Global Portfolio” of carbon reduction programs.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have come under fire this week for their extensive use of private jets.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly chartered four private flights in 11 days, first traveling to Ibiza for a vacation at a resort nicknamed the “billionaire’s playground,” and then on to Sir Elton John’s home in Nice, France.
The royal couple have been accused of hypocrisy due to their outspoken support of environmentalism. In a recent interview with British Vogue, for instance, Harry urged readers to leave “something better behind for the next generation.”
However, the couple was defended by John – who was a close friend of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana – in a strongly-worded statement on Monday, where the singer wrote that he had paid to have the carbon emissions from their flight offset by making a contribution to Carbon Footprint.
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I am deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private stay at my home in Nice last week. Prince Harry’s Mother, Diana Princess Of Wales was one of my dearest friends. I feel a profound sense of obligation to protect Harry and his family from the unnecessary press intrusion that contributed to Diana’s untimely death. After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home. To maintain a high level of much-needed protection, we provided them with a private jet flight. To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint™ I highly respect and applaud both Harry and Meghan’s commitment to charity and I’m calling on the press to cease these relentless and untrue assassinations on their character that are spuriously crafted on an almost daily basis.
But how much CO2 does a private jet produce, and how much would it cost to make the trip carbon neutral?
Fortunately, the BBC worked it out.
The couple reportedly travelled in a Cessna Citation Sovereign, which is a 12-seater business jet.
According to Jet Advisors, the jet has a fuel consumption of 247 gallons per hour. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that 2.52 kg of CO2 are emitted for every liter of aviation turbine fuel burned, the BBC wrote.
Over the course of the one-hour, 40-minute flight from London to Nice, the Cessna would have burned around 411 gallons of aviation fuel, which equates to 4.7 tonnes of CO2 produced.
Assuming John paid to make the whole trip carbon neutral, this figure is doubled to 9.4 tonnes of CO2 when you include the return flight.
- Ian Vogler / Pool via REUTERS
The BBC also notes that BEIS says CO2 emissions figures should be multiplied by 1.9 when in relation to aviation, since the negative climate impact of these emissions is magnified at higher altitudes.
This takes the total CO2 emissions for the round trip to 17.9 tonnes, which is almost as much as the average American produces in an entire year (21.5 tonnes), according to the University of Michigan.
John said he made the Sussex’s visit carbon neutral by making the “appropriate contribution” to Carbon Footprint, which is a service that allows you to calculate the cost of your CO2 emissions and donate to environmental projects that offset negative impacts of those emissions.
According to Carbon Footprint, 17.9 tonnes of CO2 can be offset by donating $135 to its “Global Portfolio” of carbon reduction programmes, which is its cheapest options.
If the singer wanted to go further, he could have paid $292 to plant trees in the UK. For each tonne of CO2 produced, one tree is planted in the UK, Carbon Footprint says.
For $215, he could have funded the planting of native broad-leaved trees in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya – a region close to Harry’s heart.
The BBC notes, however, that some activists have denounced carbon offsetting as a justification for further pollution. Planting trees, for instance, is a great practice, but a sapling takes 10 to 20 years to convert significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, according to Wired.
Insider has reached out to representatives of Sir Elton John for comment.