News Story

Whitmer’s Private Jet Trip During Pandemic Flies In Face Of Her Carbon Order Claims

Do what I say ...

Deadline Detroit has reported that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer flew to Florida in a private business jet six months after issuing an executive order declaring climate change to be a crisis and declaring that Michigan must make itself carbon neutral by 2050.

The governor was flown on a private Gulfstream G-280 SuperMid Business Jet on March 12 to West Palm Beach, Florida, and returned to Lansing on March 15, according to Deadline Detroit. The round trip flight from Lansing to Florida takes five hours.

Liberal organizations have criticized celebrities for using private jets, arguing that the fuel consumption and carbon emissions of the planes harm the environment. Whitmer has also been critical in her public comments and orders. Some people have argued for a tax on private jets to deter their use.

Estimates and descriptions of carbon emissions from business jets vary and often use imprecise labels and metrics, so it is difficult to determine the actual environmental impact of Whitmer’s flights. If estimates from are used and combined with an online calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency, they suggest that Whitmer’s trip was responsible for carbon emissions equivalent to:

3.7 passenger vehicles being driven for a year, or

1,890 gallons of gasoline used, or

3.1 homes’ electricity used in one year, or

18,569 pounds of coal burned, or

38.9 barrels of oil consumed, or

2,043,596 smart phones charged

In a September 2020 executive order, the governor asserted that addressing climate change and reducing carbon emissions was an urgent matter:

“Climate change already degrades Michigan’s environment, hurts our economy, and threatens the health and well-being of our residents, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering most. Inaction over the last half-century has already wrought devastating consequences for future generations, and absent immediate action, these harmful effects will only intensify.”

“But we can avoid some of the worst harms by quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting nimbly to our changing environment.”

The order directed officials to create something called the MI Healthy Climate Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and seek carbon neutrality.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Environmental Council, and the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association were asked about Whitmer’s use of a private jet and its effect on the environment. They did not comment on her trip.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.