The problem appears when you draw the line between what you do and what you say. If a celebrity, whether it’s an actor or musician, uses their platform to raise awareness and call for action on the issue of climate change, and then hops on their private plane to get back home, then we have a disconnect that can’t be ignored. Why should people listen to someone who pumps more CO2 into the atmosphere with that single flight, when we’re already doing our best, reducing plastics, recycling, washing out those tin cans and turning off those lights?
That’s the conversation being had online right now, as new research by British marketing firm Yard has gone viral. “Research” is perhaps too fine a term, since it’s more of an analysis of publicly-available data, namely flight tracking info posted to Twitter by Jack Sweeney, the student who first made headlines for tracking Elon Musk’s private jet, and who is now running the @CelebJets channel.
ADS-B Exchange pertaining to public or privately owned aircraft, Taylor Swift is the real “climate criminal.” The dubious distinction was awarded last week to Kylie Jenner, for choosing to fly private for just 17 minutes, when she could have easily made the same trip by car in under an hour. Rapper Drake came close, too.
Until early May, when the world shuttered with the international health crisis, Swift owned two private planes: she decided to sell one since she anticipated not touring for a while. As of the time of press, she owns a 2009 Dassault Falcon 7X jet, which has flown 170 times this year alone, totaling 22,923 minutes, or 15.9 days in the air. Total emissions from the flights is 8,293.54 tons of carbon, so about 1,184.8 times more than the average person’s total emissions in an entire year. Taylor has only performed a couple of times this year, in one-off appearances, so she’s not touring.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Swift’s publicist shuts down the report, saying “Taylor’s jet is loaned out regularly to other individuals. To attribute most or all of these trips to her is blatantly incorrect.” Translation: her private jet produced these emissions, but don’t hold her directly responsible for it.
This fine nuance aside, Taylor Swift is in fine company. Second up on that list is Floyd Mayweather, whose excessive private jet use is documented by himself on social media, because showing off is part of the Money Team brand. With 177 flights this year, he’s responsible for total emissions of 7,076 tons.
The rest of the list reads as follows: rapper Jay-Z (6,981 tons), American baseball player Alex Rodriguez (5,342 tons), country singer Blake Shelton (4,495 tons), movie director Steven Spielberg (4,465 tons), reality star Kim Kardashian (4,268 tons), actor Mark Wahlberg (3,772 tons), television personality Oprah Winfrey (3,493 tons), and rapper Travis Scott (3,033 tons).
traveling private or, when none is available, there are carbon offsetting programs that would lessen the damage.
“It's easy to get lost in the dazzling lives of the rich and famous, but unfortunately, they're a massive part of the CO2e problem we have with the aviation industry,” Butterworth says. “Aviation is responsible for 2.4 percent of human-produced CO2 every year, and research shows a vast divide between the super-rich and the rest of us regarding flights, travel, and even general emissions.”
In other words, it wouldn’t hurt if celebrities would think of others before putting their personal comfort first for a change. It’s an idealist take, but if there’s no planet to fly around for business and leisure, owning a private jet won’t make much of a difference.
Taylor Swift's Falcon 7X Landed in Nashville, Tennessee, US. Apx. flt. time 1 Hour : 58 Mins. pic.twitter.com/TxG9HhuYC5— Celebrity Jets (@CelebJets) July 30, 2022