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Taylor Swift Is the Real “Climate Criminal” With Her Private Jet Use, New Research Shows
There’s bitter irony in the thought that, while you’re washing out tin cans for recycling and turning off the lights when you’re not in the room, celebrities self-absolve from these obligations – or even make things worse, by hopping on a plane or a superyacht.

Taylor Swift Is the Real “Climate Criminal” With Her Private Jet Use, New Research Shows

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The super-rich have always lived life according to a different set of principles than the rest of the world. Not that you can blame them. In a moment of complete honesty, anyone would do the same if they could afford it; after all, who wouldn’t want to live a life of pure luxury, especially when they worked their butts off for it?

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.

According to this data, which uses bots to read info from 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).

Without a doubt, these people are successful businessmen and women, all of them with very urgent business to take care of and no more time in a day than the 24 hours us normies get. No one is criticizing them for using or even owning a private jet, because it’s their money, they worked hard for it, and they can spend it whichever way they like. The problem, as Yard Digital Sustainability Director Chris Butterworth puts it, is that there are other options to 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.



Editor's note: Photos in the gallery show Floyd Mayweather, Kim Kardashian, Drake, and Kylie Jenner's private jets.

 
 
 
 
 

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