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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio speaks during the Paris Agreement on climate change ceremony, Friday, April 22, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
CARBON CONTRAIL

Leonardo DiCaprio took an outrageous 8000 mile trip in a private jet to pick up an environmental award

Kate Groetzinger
By Kate Groetzinger

Ideas fellow

Leonardo DiCaprio expanded his carbon footprint last week, taking a one-day trans-Atlantic roundtrip in a private jet. The actor, who entreated viewers to “work together” to fight climate change while accepting his first Oscar in March, flew 8,000 miles from Cannes to New York City to pick up an award from a clean-water advocacy group at the Riverkeeper Fishermen’s Ball, according to Page Six.

The actor then flew back to Cannes to attend an AIDS benefit gala 24 hours later.

DiCaprio has been positioning himself as an environmental advocate. His foundation, which he named after himself, pledged $15 million in grants to help protect the environment at the World Economic Forum in July 2015. In March, he cited climate change in his Oscar acceptance speech for The Revenant. And, in April, the actor spoke at the UN Paris Agreement signing, reminding the audience that “our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.”

But the attention DiCaprio is getting comes at a cost. Environmentalists have been quick to note that the actor’s lifestyle choices are less-than-exemplary by environmental standards. Clean energy analyst Robert Rapier tallied up the actor’s carbon footprint in a recent Forbes op-ed. DiCaprio chartered the world’s fifth largest yacht, owned by a UAE oil tycoon, in 2014, Rapier writes. He also took six trips on a private jet over the course of six weeks that same year.

DiCaprio claims that he offsets his annual 11-ton carbon footprint by participating in a organization called Future Forests, which plants trees based on the amount of carbon travelers emit into the atmosphere by taking planes, trains, and—in the case at hand—luxury yachts. But the organization is severely underestimating the actor’s yearly carbon emissions, according to Rapier, who estimates the actor’s carbon footprint adds up to much more than 11 tons.

DiCaprio’s six-week, six-flight binge in 2014 would have added up to 44 tons had the actor taken commercial flights—and private jets typically emit 37 times the personal carbon emissions of commercial flights, according to an article in the Daily Mail. Add in the actor’s yacht habit, and you’re well above 11 tons, according to Rapier. ”In case you are wondering, neither the jets nor the yacht run on solar power,” he says.

We reached out to DiCaprio’s representatives for comment and have not yet heard back.

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