The environmental campaign group Just Stop Oil has targeted private jets in its latest action to put pressure on businesses and governments to divest from fossil fuel exploration and accelerate the shift to net zero. 

Its latest action, like many previously, involved orange paint or dye. Two “supporters” broke into the private jet area of Stansted Airport in the UK and sprayed at least two private business jets, with paint stored re-purposed fire extinguishers. 

Just Stop Oil said Cole Macdonald, 22, and Jennifer Kowalski, 28, were responsible for the action. Videos shared by the group showed Macdonald cutting the exterior fence with an angle grinder, before spraying the jets. 

The private airfield was targeted because of its high-profile users, including singer Taylor Swift, who landed at the airport “hours” before the protest. 

The campaign group is asking governments to sign up to a “Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty,” targeted first at wealthy countries and businesses with high oil consumption. 

“Governments are allowing oil corporations to run amok destroying our communities, the actions of individuals mean very little. That’s why Just Stop Oil is demanding that our next government sign up to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030,” a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil said. 

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“Failure to defend the people they represent will mean Just Stop Oil supporters, along with citizens from Austria, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland will join in resistance this summer, if their own governments do not take meaningful action.”

One of the protestors, Cole Macdonald, said the private jet industry is emblematic of the wider energy inequality around the globe.

“We’re living in two worlds: one where billionaires live in luxury, able to fly in private jets away from the other, where unlivable conditions are being imposed on countless millions. Meanwhile, this system that is allowing extreme wealth to be accrued by a few, to the detriment of everyone else, is destroying the conditions necessary to support human life in a rapidly accelerating never-ending ‘cruel summer’. Billionaires are not untouchable, climate breakdown will affect every single one of us,” Macdonald said. 

Essex Police said two people were arrested “on suspicion of criminal damage and interference with the use or operation of national infrastructure.” The local force said officers were on scene within minutes of the security breach. 

According to the European Federation for Transport and Environment, private flying can be up to 14 times more polluting than commercial flying. 

And even as Swift and other high profile individuals are targeted for their use of such jets, the industry is less convinced of the problem. 

Holger Krahmer of the European Business Aviation Association has called discussions of possible bans “completely irrational”.