Fifteen activists were arrested for shutting down the entrances to airports serving private jets across the United States on Thursday as part of worldwide climate protests led by groups including Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion, New York Communities for Change, and the New York City chapter of the youth-led Sunrise Movement.
“Taking a private jet while the planet is on fire is utter insanity.”
According to a representative of New York Communities for Change, seven demonstrators were arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey—the nation’s busiest private jetport—while four activists were apprehended at Van Nuys Airport outside Los Angeles, and four protesters were taken into police custody at Wilson Air Terminal at Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina.
“The rich are burning down the planet and the damage is irreversible,” climate scientist Peter Kalmus, who was arrested in Charlotte, said in a statement. “We must stop them. Banning private jets would be a start.”
Referring to the billionaire founders of Amazon.com and Microsoft respectively, Scientist Rebellion member Gianluca Grimalda said: “It is obscene that Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates can fly their private jets tax-free, while global communities starve. It’s only fair that wealthy polluters pay the most into climate loss and damage funds to help the most vulnerable countries adapt.”
While private jets account for a tiny fraction of global greenhouse emissions, the world’s richest 1% produce more than double the emissions of the poorest 50%, and a single billionaire produces a million times more emissions than an average person, as an Oxfam study reported by Common Dreams earlier this week explained.
Earlier this week, more than 100 activists were arrested during a similar protest against private jets in Amsterdam.
“Taking a private jet while the planet is on fire is utter insanity,” said Will Livernois, a bioelectronics researcher at the University of Washington who took part in a protest in Seattle on Thursday. “The science has been clear for half a century and we have not changed trajectory. The elite who have funded this crisis must pay back what they have taken from our world.”