Harry and Meghan Take a Private Jet – AGAIN! – This Time from a NYC Climate Action Event Back to LA

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Hapless Prince Harry and his duchess have once again scored an environmental own goal, with the noted eco-warriors choosing to take a carbon-spewing private jet back to Los Angeles, after attending a September climate action event in New York City.

This is far from a unique event for them and in fact, they’ve flown private 21 times during the past two years, according to GEO TV, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle blasted for leaving NYC in a private jet.

Now, I admit I thought the decision of the former spare and his missus to decamp from Old Blighty to LA was a shrewd move. Rather than being distracted by their earnestly expressed good intentions, I thought instead of the grifting opportunities open to them in this hemisphere, where the couple currently has a pretty clear field. Back in the old country, the Queen has her throne and her castles. Prince Charles and Prince William, due to their position in the order of succession, are not going anywhere: they’re closely bound to staying put. (And Prince Andrew, a former frequent princely visitor to our shores, surely understands this isn’t a good time to see America.)

I’ll leave aside the snark for a moment. Harry and Meghan’s brand is to carve out a higher profile to engage with pressing issues of the day. Fair enough. Rather than reflexively scoff at their declared interest per se – as IIRC Bill did when Monica sought to share her thoughts on educational policy – let’s take them at their word.

The climate crisis tops the list of catastrophes civilisation faces. And it’s unfolding now, throughout the world, in the form of extreme storms and fierce wildfires, among other unprecedented events.

I think we should take support for addressing the problem wherever we find it.

So, they have my attention. And what have they done with it?

Squander it, by yet again, as reported in Prince Harry and Meghan Took a Private Jet From an Event About Climate Action – by Marie Claire publication not renowned for bashing Royals:

We’ve already discussed why Prince Harry should opt to start flying commercial rather than continuing to jet-set in private planes, but apparently it bears repeating. That’s because Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left their whirlwind NYC jaunt on a private plane, mere hours after they appeared onstage at the Global Citizen Live event, which promoted, in part, cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2030. Ugh.

Now, it’s not as if this is the first time the couple has been criticised for their obvious  hypocrisy. The first time I remember an uproar over their carbon-spewing ways was when they attended the Goggle climate summit in 2019, flying there via private jet and kipping on a carbon-spewing super yacht, as reported by The Sun, YACHT WAS HE THINKING? Eco warrior Prince Harry ‘stayed on a gas guzzling super-yacht during Google’s environment summit where he railed against the evils of selfies’.

After the barrage of bad publicity, you would think that Meghan and Harry might have reconsidered their future travel choices – that is, if they wanted their concerns over climate change to be taken seriously.

No such luck. I wouldn’t be writing this if the couple had only availed themselves of private air travel to rush back to Old Blighty for the death or illness  of a  close family member.

But that’s not what we’re dealing with here. Last month, Harry was called out for taking a private’ jet back to LA in August after participating in a charity polo match in Colorado.  On the plus side, polo ain’t NASCAR – I think it’s an environmentally-friendly sport. Polo ponies, not motorcars.

After that private jet escapade, criticisms seeped into the ‘quality’ press, including The Independent, PRINCE HARRY CRITICISED AFTER FLYING IN PRIVATE JET AFTER CHARITY POLO MATCH:

Harry, who is outspoken about the impact of the climate crisis and previously described it as one of the “most pressing issues we are facing”, was dubbed a “hypocrite” by royal commentators and members of the public on social media.

According to a report by Transport & Environment, a single private jet can emit as much as two tonnes of carbon dioxide in just one hour. Private jets are up to 14 times more polluting than commercial planes per passenger, but are twice as likely to be used for short trips under 500km (approximately 310 miles).

In May, the duke warned that mental health and climate change were linked and told Oprah Winfrey: “I know lots of people out there are doing as best they can to try and fix these issues, but that whole sort of analogy of walking into the bathroom with a mop when the bath is over-flooding, rather than just turning the tap off.

Okay, I get it.

Switch off the tap.

A simple solution.

So, what did the dynamic duo do the next time they flew cross-country? Surely by now, they knew what they should do, yes?

Alas, in for a penny, in for a pound.  Perhaps they thought we wouldn’t notice.

Back to Marie Claire’s take on that recent cross-country flight, the one back to LA after the climate action event:

Look, rich people gonna rich. And given the threats and scrutiny Prince Harry and Meghan Markle come under, you can kind of understand why they want to make their whereabouts hard to track, especially while traveling. They’re also held to an enormously high standard, higher even than some of their other royal family counterparts…

But surely flying a private jet from New York City to Southern California—a single flight which, according to Blue Sky Model, emitted about 65 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere—isn’t the only way to protect themselves. The fact that Harry and Meghan insist on flying private feels worse because they want to be seen, first and foremost, as advocates for change. Their purported reason for moving to the U.S. and stepping away from their royal duties in the first place was to spend more time on the causes they care about—the Archewell website even has as its slogan, “Shared Purpose, Global Action.” And climate action is one of the topics that they’ve brought up again and again.

I do think it’s actually worse that Harry and Meghan seem to understand that climate change is a real threat rather than being completely clueless. Yet although they talk the talk, they’re not willing to walk the walk. Over to Marie Claire again:

That’s why, when they call for global change and then refuse to reflect those same changes in their own lives—probably the easiest place for them to create change, if you think about it!—it makes their message feel hollow and hypocritical. Like, you want us plebs to cut our emissions without applying it to yourselves? By virtue of Harry’s birth, they have one of the biggest platforms of any couple alive. That’s a huge amount of responsibility, and it’s great they want to use it to create a better world. But what good is calling for change when they undercut their message through their very actions?

So stop it with the private jets, Harry and Meghan. It’d be a lot cooler if you did.

Okay. So far, Harry and Meghan haven’t thought it necessary to alter their carbon-spewing behavior.  I’d like to imagine it might be possible for them to start walking the walk, but perhaps that’s too much to expect from a man who’s spent a good part of his life within heartbeats of the throne.

What about other members of the private jet set? Are Harry and Meghan unique? Surely the number of people opting to fly private must be dropping, as it’s no longer possible to deny how rapidly climate change is occurring?

Actually, the opposite is happening, as this CNBC article. Private jet rage grows as a record number of fliers strain the system, causing plane shortages, which I linked to this morning discusses:

Private jet fliers are facing increasing delays, cancellations and lack of available flights as the industry struggles to serve a record number of new fliers, while facing supply chain troubles.

July was the busiest month ever for private jet flights, with more than 300,000 flights, according to Argus International. While business usually cools in the fall, September saw nearly 300,000 flights and Argus projects October’s pace will break the July record.

The flood of new private jet customers — driven by health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic and the rapid creation of wealth — is now taxing an industry geared for slower growth. A shortage of new and used planes, delays getting aircraft parts, crew and pilot shortages, catering snafus, and air traffic problems are combining to create a growing number of delays and cancellations, according to industry executives.

So, not only has the use of private jets not dropped – it’s surged.  Look, I get it. The pandemic has made each of us alter our ‘normal’ behavior.  I understand why people who don’t have to mix with hoi polloi don’t want to do so in the midst of the pandemic.  But as Harry reminded us, the climate tub is over-flooding. It’s about to come crashing through the ceiling. Clearly,  we must shut off the tap.

Note that the CNBC article describes how many of those availing themselves of private jet services, aren’t practicing any offsetting austerity. Private jets are just another arena in which the rich can exercise their privilege and behave badly. I’ll spare you  further details as they’re too depressing but the article lays them out for those who are made of sterner stuff.

Unfortunately, per CNBC, with no end in sight:

The big question is whether the more than 10,000 customers who started flying private for the first time during the pandemic will stick around if the problems continue to mount. Gollan said that while customers may complain about service issues, none of the 300 it surveyed said they planned to go back to commercial airlines.

That’s more bad news for the planet. The only silver lining here is that the pandemic has caused regular jet travel to crater.

 

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39 comments

  1. fjallstrom

    I’ve been mulling over an idea about how to start tackling private jets: emission caps.

    If I’ve understood correctly airports has passenger rosters. If you take emission of plane (from flight data and technical data of airplane) divided by number of passengers, you get emission per passenger. Put a limit to emission per passenger and ban takeoff and landing for planes that are over the limit. The limit can gradually be lowered to encourage fuel efficiency, but intially just ban the worst offenders.

    This can be implemented on a country level (unless there are international treaties that ban it), doesn’t require more surveillance than we already got, and hurts no one poor.

    There probably needs to be exceptions for medical transports and other corner cases, but does the commentariat find any faults in my proposal above? (Implementing it is another question.)

    Reply
    1. OscarWildeDog

      Great idea, but remember: if the top 1% wields 80% of the wealth of the world (give or take), and their lawyers (plus the corporations and the lobbies they control) write the legislation that governments take up (tax/domain/sovereignty laws, this will be an uphill slog. Anecdotally, I read in a couple of polls that only about 1.7% of the bottom 99% of the U.S. population have ever ridden ONCE in a private jet, so the pushback from the top 1% (just about everyone has ridden in a private jet multiple times, let alone, perhaps owns or leases one) will be voluminous.

      Reply
  2. Gc54

    Time for a per Capita carbon allocation. If the rich want to continue to fly everywhere, they can fund new luxurious Zeppelins.

    Reply
    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      They should travel the old-fashioned luxury way: go by private train car. They could have it coupled to the back end of a unit train of empty containers on their way back to Long Beach. What a way to experience the amenities of America’s high-speed rail transport!

      Reply
      1. InThePines

        Ooh, a little slack action two miles back would really be an attitude and spine adjustment. If they managed to nab an express train of FedEx piggybacks they’d have higher priority than Amtrak.

        Reply
        1. Alex Cox

          Amtrak is obliged to accept private coaches, attached to the back of the train. One often sees them coupled to the Coast Starlight.

          They could make like Station to Station era Bowie!

          Reply
  3. ambrit

    Somehow, I can see Harry and Meghan starring in a reboot of the wonderful English film, “Kind Hearts and Coronets.” Harry is perfect for the Dennis Price role. Meghan, I dunno.

    Reply
    1. Vandemonian

      Actually, it was the Queen of Hearts:

      “Get up!” said the Queen, in a shrill, loud voice, and the three gardeners instantly jumped up, and began bowing to the King, the Queen, the royal children, and everybody else.
      “Leave off that!” screamed the Queen. “You make me giddy.” And then, turning to the rose-tree, she went on, “What have you been doing here?”
      “May it please your Majesty,” said Two, in a very humble tone, going down on one knee as he spoke, “we were trying—”
      “I see!” said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. “Off with their heads!” and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners, who ran to Alice for protection.
      “You shan’t be beheaded!” said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others.

      Reply
  4. Tom Stone

    I doubt either Hairy or Meghan can understand that they are acting in a hypocritical manner.
    It would never cross their minds and if anyone brought it up they would get a blank look in return.
    You could plumb the depths of their souls without having the slime overtop your wingtips.

    Reply
    1. petal

      Hairy, probably not as he’s pretty thick. MM, she knows and doesn’t care. She thinks she is better than everyone else and deserves it.

      Reply
  5. Carla

    We have relatives who fly on private jets. They live in another universe. I really don’t know if it’s the precise CO2’s emitted by the private jets that do the most damage, or just the pollution caused by all their money. And I mean that literally.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      All the CO2 is additive until it reaches a thresh-holdative tipping point level. The private jetters get to add their own additive bit of private jet CO2 which the rest of us don’t even get an opportunity to add. And of course they use their general money-power to keep the whole political-economy based on fossil carbon skyflooding.

      Reply
  6. MonkeyBusiness

    If Meghan hadn’t married Harry, she would be flying commercial for sure. Harry is really the private jet, and Meghan will ride it till the end of days.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Oh, no, you have it in reverse. She was flying private with her former hubby. She mistakenly assumed she’d get to fly private as a royal. But Prince Charles was forced to cut that out since he started pumping for the environment. Charles controlled Harry’s allowance. Paying for private class out of that would really bite.

      One of my friends who is a close observer of the super rich believe that the right to fly private was the driver of Meghan picking a fight with the royals so she could pretend to be aggrieved.

      Reply
      1. MonkeyBusiness

        Well I don’t think she received any money from her previous husband after the divorce? All I am trying to say is without Harry’s celebrity/royal status, no one would bother giving Meghan a free ride on a private jet.

        Reply
      2. JohnA

        I am no fan of royalty, but William, the older brother of Harry, has flown budget airline to Scotland. Of course, he also helps himself to a helicopter now and again. Harry actually went on a binge in Las Vegas supposedly with hookers and substances, pre-Meghan, when he was on an elite air force pilot training course in the US. Amusingly, the Daily Mail, which is ultra conservative, is no fan of the royals and a font of tacky stories about their goings-on.
        Back in the day, Charles alwasy used to insist on taking the joystick when being flown till he made such a hash of a landing and pretty much wrote off the plane.
        I dont think Meghan realised Harry was only the spare and now several more rungs down the next in line ladder,

        Reply
  7. Ben Dalton

    Let us look at this from a Climate change denier’s perspective. They see a bunch of elite celebrities arguing to shut down coal mines and oil wells and move to renewables and EVs, while they jet around the world. (Remember that climate conference in Italy a couple of years ago where more than a hundred private jets were parked about in the airport?) If confronted, they say stuff like “If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle” (John Kerry).

    I would forgive Bubba for thinking, “They want me to cut my lifestyle radically, but they will keep doing the same? Even when it is clear as day that their life habits are a lot more carbon-emitting than mine. They must be either fools or fraudsters. They are rich and famous, so they cannot be fools. They must be fraudsters then. Ergo, climate change is a hoax”.

    Reply
    1. Zamfir

      I am not so convinced of this. If people don’t want to do anything about climate change, they will happily pick up any excuse to defend that position. The excuse is not the reason.

      Suppose that Harry and Megan took climate change genuinely serious, and tried hard to keep their CO2 impact low. Climate change deniers would not change their mind one bit. They would ignore them and turn attention to someone else who can be accused of hypocrisy. Or they would mock them, for being smug elitists, or emasculated hippies.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Ordinary climachange-skeptic citizens and professional Climate Change Denialists are two different groups of people.

      For the time being, ordinary climachange-reality-based accepter citizens will not have the power to shut down the 1%’s private jets. And climachange-skeptic citizens are more likely to encounter climachange-accepter citizens than they are likely to encounter private-jetsetters.

      So it becomes up to ordinary climachange accepters to downscale their own carbon-skyflooding in a visibly modeled and displayable way so as to have ” personal walk-the-walk credibility” in case an ordinary climachange-skeptic decides to ask such a reduced-carbon-skyflooding person what he/she really thinks about ” this global warming crap”.

      Reply
  8. vlade

    Harry is IMO pretty naive, and I haven’t seen any evidence he’d be smart either (I’d say evidence that he’s not smart is that Megan, who’s not smart either even if she’s cunning, is running circles around him, but that happened to smarter men when they stopped using their brain and started using something else to drive their behaviour, so not really any evidence).

    Hey ho, it’s his choice ultimately.

    Reply
  9. disc_writes

    I mean, sure, the couple is iconic of everything that is wrong with woke celebrities today.

    But this is the second article about M&H in a short period of time. Is Naked Capitalism turning into some sort of a tabloid?

    The British Royal family is cringeworthy, sure. But at the end of the day, I have better things to do than reading about their antics.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well then, don’t read about them. You can easily skip any articles about Harry and Meghan if you really and truly ” don’t want” to read about them.

        God made a scroll button.

        Reply
  10. OscarWildeDog

    The “Rials” (as in, “riling” everyone up) fit into the cohort of fat doctors telling you you’re outta shape and eat too much, religious “leaders” who invariably fail at (name any of the Ten Commandments here) or, of course, any and all politicians who campaign on “I’m fighting for YOU” but ostensibly “govern” by “I’m taking from THEM” (fat cats, lobbyists, rich donors, etc.).

    They’re just the “Do as I say, not as I do” 2021 edition.

    Reply
  11. Pat

    I was more amused, aka appalled but not surprised, that they were doing all this “we’re doing bullshit disguised as good” as part of an appearance at a Global Citizen event.

    That group and its concert is one of the biggest new charity cons around. I have been watching it grow for years. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Markles don’t attempt at least some part of their business model for Archewell, if they haven’t already.

    And just for the record, now four people living in a house with 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms plus a two bedroom guest house, shows a lot of disdain for both climate change and sustainability.

    Reply
  12. petal

    The plane was also apparently owned by Guthy Renker, so there’s speculation she may be involved in/setting up some kind of deal with them. Grift grift grift. The plane is available to rent, but seems this was not the case for their(MM&H) use of it. Yes, I admit I read and am on a board about them-it’s my escape. Good fun with some nice people in several countries that I’d love to buy some proverbial beers for some day. For an escape it’s been either that or doing genealogy and with that I’m getting so far back I’m starting to run out of records.

    Reply
  13. juno mas

    What baffles me is that these two, H & M, could have done this remotely, like their neighbor Oprah.

    There are plenty of video production companies ready to beam their countenance from the Left Coast to the Right Coast for less than the price of a private flight. Heck, Elton John has done it at least twice during the pandemic.

    Reply

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