No one doubts that Taylor Swift is a busy woman. In the last week alone, the musician attended the 2024 Grammys in Los Angeles where she picked up her fourth Album of the Year win, she's jetted to Tokyo for the Japanese leg of her Eras tour, on February 11 she's due in Las Vegas to watch her boyfriend play the Super Bowl, and five days later she'll touch down in Melbourne for seven Australian shows. If it sounds like an impossible schedule, well, it's not if you're a celebrity with a private jet. But for the sake of the environment it should be.
Taylor Swift sues Jack Sweeney
Swift has recently made headlines for her frequent private flier status. According to The Washington Post, in December the musician's attorneys sent a cease-and-desist letter to a 21-year-old college student who reports on the private jet usage of celebrities through various social media accounts. The threatening letter to Jack Sweeney demanded that the University of Central Florida junior stop his "stalking and harassing behavior", referring to it as a "life-or-death matter".
On February 7, Business Insider reported that Swift quietly sold one her two private jets on January 30 – a Dassault Falcon 900, the smaller of the pair which is designed for shorter trips.
Sweeney, who posts live updates from publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration, told the BBC "no where do I intend for harm... I believe in transparency and public information".
In 2022, Elon Musk the owner of X – formerly Twitter – banned Sweeney's account @ElonJet from the platform in order to suppress what the billionaire eye-rollingly called his "assassination coordinates". Since then, Sweeney posts on X with a 24-hour delay between trips.
How many emissions come from a private jet?
It's a good question. Private planes have a disproportionate impact on the environment. In just one hour a single private jet can emit two tonnes of CO2. They release 14 times more carbon per passenger than commercial planes, and 50 times more than trains, according to a report by Transport & Environment. Importantly, about 40% of private flights are empty, flown simply to get the aircraft in the right location to pick up its owner.
Taylor Swift is reportedly "top celebrity carbon-dioxide polluter"
Taylor Swift, who has built her brand on being "relatable," is expected to become a billionaire off her earnings from the Eras Tour. During the tour which began in March 2023, and up until August 31, Business Insider reported that Swift had taken 86 private flights, a number which has only increased in the months following. Taylor Swift is the number one celebrity carbon-dioxide polluter, according to a 2022 report by sustainability marketing firm Yard, with emissions 1,100 times the amount of the average person.
To put that into perspective, the average Australian household (2.6 people) emits an average of 15 to 20 tonnes of CO2 every year, which is already well above the recommended two tonnes per person if we want to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. By July 2022, according to that same Yard report, Swift had racked up a carbon footprint of 8,293.54 tonnes for the first six months of the year just based on flying. Meanwhile, on average, an Indian citizen will produce 1.32 tons of carbon each year.
Swifts publicist told The Post that she had bought more than double the carbon credits needed to offset her travel before her Eras Tour kicked off – though it's widely recognised that carbon offsetting is flawed, often used as a band-aid solution to the climate crisis.
If this is what Swifties mean by world domination, I don't want it.