Banning private jets is a “common sense” thing to do, a councillor from An Rabharta Glas-Green Left
Liam Sinclair tabled a motion at a meeting of South Dublin County Council, calling on the Government to ban the use of a private aeroplane for commercial or leisure purposes.
The motion was defeated but Cllr Sinclair plans to continue campaigning on the issue.
“Private airplanes, they are something that very few people have access to - the super rich only,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“They make a lot of pollution, so I think it’s just an easy way to have an impact on very few people and get rid of some of the pollution we’re putting into the atmosphere.”
Jets are the favourite method of travel for the super rich and the CEOs of large multinational corporations - many of whom invest in Ireland.
However, Cllr Sinclair does not believe a ban would put Ireland at a competitive disadvantage.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“There’s plenty of passenger airlines flying in and out of Dublin every day… We’re sending out a message that we’re going to insist on climate positive actions.”
Private jets are responsible for around 33 million tons of greenhouse gases annually - which is more carbon than people living in Denmark use in a single year.
Due to the small number of passengers they carry, they are as much as 14 times as polluting as a commercial plane and 50 times as polluting as a train.
Banning them, Cllr Sinclair added, would help reduce global carbon emissions.
“This is a common sense thing that is going to have a minimal impact,” he said.
“A lot of these companies are aware of what’s going on with the climate and are reducing their private jet and flight [usage] anyway.
“So, they’ll take a step back. They’ll say, ‘Well, this was going to happen eventually. We’ll just fly commercial’ - which is damaging in its own.
“So, I don’t think that this small change would have much of an impact.”
The motion exempts private jets that are used for diplomacy or medical emergencies - meaning the Government Jet would not be scrapped.
“Ideally, I think the Government should be using their jet as little as possible but I have attempted to be flexible in my motion,” he added.
The motion was defeated by 15 votes to eight with one abstention.
Main image: Business people using a private plane. Image: Alamy.com