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The Perennial

The Perennial

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Should Taylor Swift Be Held Accountable for Her Carbon Emissions?

Emma Hwang

   “Criticize the way you fly when you’re soarin’ through the sky.” As pop star Taylor Swift soars to new heights with her undeniable contributions to the music industry, her large carbon footprint has sparked controversy among critics. Though the lyrics come from Swift’s song “Nothing New,” they ironically describe the slander that she has faced.

   Many criticized her for emitting an estimated 8,300 tons of carbon dioxide in 2022, over 1,000 times that of an average person. In a 2020 interview, Swift claimed that climate change was one of the most “horrific situations that we find ourselves facing.” While Swift clearly understands the severity and detriments of climate change, she has yet to take the necessary actions to combat it.

   Despite these environmental consequences, many fans come to Swift’s defense. For one, many argue that Swift isn’t the sole significant contributor to carbon emissions, and vilifying her is counterproductive in achieving sustainability.

   “I know it’s a horrible thing, but I think that if we shine it on one person, we should shine it on everyone,” Junior Kaavya Mehrotra said. 

   While Taylor does have major contributions to carbon emissions, many other celebrities do as well, and Taylor shouldn’t be the only one slandered for it. Fossil fuel companies and factories emit far more carbon than Swift, reaching a total of around 34 million tons of carbon each year. 

   “I think one reason people glom on to the emissions caused by private jets is because it’s a safe way to criticize someone else’s impact on the environment,” Pinewood science teacher Sarah Prestwood said. “Most of us do not have access to private jets so it’s easy to get on your high horse about others using them.”

  In addition to these thoughts, this controversy also begs the question of whether Taylor Swift has viable alternatives to turn to.

   “As much as the use of private jets is problematic, it also is hard to imagine Taylor Swift walking through SFO or any other airport without causing actual mayhem,” Prestwood said.

   Celebrities like Taylor Swift cannot realistically board commercial flights – hundreds of fans following her in a bustling airport would pose massive safety risks.

   Even though Taylor Swift currently offsets her carbon emissions by purchasing twice the required carbon units, there are additional measures that she can take to mitigate her environmental impacts. Swift can use her large platform to advocate for the environment and make her merchandise more sustainable. If we all play our part, we can drive significant progress against climate change and adopt more sustainable habits.

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  • D

    Debbie QuintanaMar 14, 2024 at 12:59 pm

    No she needs to fly private. Too famous !

  • P

    P.weberMar 13, 2024 at 8:23 am

    Lets hold all politicians accountable as well while we are at it. Plus every other jet setting celeb. Stop picking on her.

  • J

    Jennifer BarnettMar 13, 2024 at 5:42 am

    The title should probably be changed to “ Should all owners of private jets be responsible for their carbon output”

    Soft punting difficult climate change topics on to one female isn’t real journalism. Instead of focusing on a single persons’ impact (easy, lazy, lacks ingenuity) you should focus on the whole of the industry that caters to overindulgent wasteful millionaires and billionaires.

  • R

    Ron LeathermanMar 12, 2024 at 8:52 am

    Is this about Ms. Swift or you looking for your 15 minutes of fame? What is Donald Trump’s carbon foot print flying all over to get elected? Do your home work, of the top 100 polluters world wide, not one is an airline or private jet. How many “private” jets are hidden within corporate veils of business expense? Last time I was in the Hallmark hanger in Kansas City, they had four “private” jets. Why? Print all relavant facts or keep quite. And I am not a swiftie, just hate bullies out for their own personal gain.