Over recent years, Henry Charles Albert David, also known as Prince Harry, has preached to the masses about the environment but rarely hear him talk of his own carbon footprint. He recently appeared in a comedy sketch in New Zealand to encourage sustainable travel. A few years ago, he posted on Instagram that “every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference”. It appears his own actions make a difference, and it is certainly not positive.
After relinquishing royal duties, Harry moved to Los Angeles, and mixing with the rich and famous gives him access to several private jets. Last year there were claims he and his wife used 21 private jets in two years. For those not privileged to have access to such a mode of transport, they tough it out on commercial flights. Surely, with Harry being such an eco-warrior, he would want to do his best to minimise his carbon footprint? Well, of course not, the hypocrisy continues with Harry yet again going private as he flew in for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Return private jet from LA to London has 18x the carbon footprint of the average Briton in a whole year
I do not know the private jet Harry used for his recent journey to the UK, but when covering so many miles in a single trek, the only jet capable of making the journey is a heavy jet. The website stratosjets recommend using an Embraer Legacy 650 which has a fuel consumption of around 362 gallons per hour. The flight time from LA to London is about 11 hours 10 minutes, which would mean a fuel requirement of 4,042 gallons (18,376 litres). A BBC article explains that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says 2.52kg of carbon dioxide is emitted for every litre of aviation turbine fuel burned. Therefore, the private flight from LA to London would produce 46.3 tonnes of CO2.
BEIS recommends that to “capture the maximum climate impact” of flights, CO2 emissions figures should be multiplied by 1.9 to reflect the effect of non-CO2 emissions released by planes at high altitudes, which, scientists say, increase the warming effect. This would increase the total emissions of a private flight from LA to London to 88 tonnes of CO2.
|The carbon footprint of a private flight from LA to London
|Flight time from Los Angeles to London
|11 hours 10 mins
|Fuel consumption (based on Embraer Legacy 650) per hour
|362 gallons per hour
|Total fuel consumption
|4,042 gallons (18,376 litres)
|Carbon footprint of 1 litre of aviation fuel
|2.52kg per litre
|Tonnes of CO2 for a single flight
|46.2 tonnes of CO2
|Adjust for total climate impact (multiply by 1.9)
|88 tonnes of CO2
|176 tonnes of CO2
Carbon independent estimates that for the average person in the UK, their carbon footprint including imports/exports and aviation is about 10 tonnes of CO2 per year. Therefore, a private jet from LA to London would be responsible for nine times the annual carbon footprint of the average person in a single journey. Factor in a return journey, then the private flight for Harry would be around 18 times the carbon footprint of the average Briton. He obviously was not the only person on the flight, but factoring in the whole family the carbon footprint per person on a return journey would be higher than the average Briton in a year.
If Harry uses private jets and has access to them, then should anyone else care? After all, we live in a global world where freedom of choice is a fundamental right to most. I don’t expect Harry to confine himself to one place, but as a face of campaigns to encourage sustainable travel and someone who preaches to others, his own actions become our business. He clearly lives by the mantra, ‘do as I say not as I do’. Maybe Prince Harry should reflect on his own carbon footprint.
There are around 42 scheduled flights from Los Angeles to London each week, around six per day, from a range of carriers, operating seats from economy to first class. But despite this significant opportunity to minimise his own carbon footprint, Harry uses a private jet. When flying privately, the emissions per person from the plane are significantly higher than when sharing a flight with many other people.
Next time you see him pushing his climate agenda on the rest of us, just ignore it. Trust me, the hypocrisy is not worth it.
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