Aviation accounts for a growing share of carbon emissions

Private jets are seductive. Warren Buffett once called his “The Indefensible” — a nod to his criticism of corporate profligacy — but soon renamed it “The Indispensable”. The Berkshire Hathaway boss is not alone. Private plane use has risen in line with profit margins of US companies… But their value is more in question than ever. It is not just a question of whether time savings and security benefits justify the financial costs. Increasingly, there is another budget to consider — carbon. Some flights are hard to justify. Famously, a RJR Nabisco boss once flew his dog by corporate jet under the passenger name “G Shepherd”. A spare jet followed the aircraft bearing Jeff Immelt when he was boss of General Electric in case of mechanical failure… Security may be a factor too. Apple’s board bans Tim Cook from commercial flights for leisure as well as work… Aviation is likely to account for a growing share of carbon emissions. Technical fixes are elusive. Flights can be made carbon-neutral by planting trees and the like. But many climate experts are sceptical about offsets. Paying for absolution can be seen as the modern equivalent of medieval indulgences. As companies ratchet up their promises to tackle global warming, pressure to junk the jets will grow.