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The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School

TATLER

The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School

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Taylor Swift & Emissons

Taylor+Swift+Drawing.
Lael G. ’25
Taylor Swift Drawing.

Taylor Swift can keep more than the economy afloat

If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that I’d be defending a billionaire’s private jet use, I would’ve called you crazy. I think billionaires shouldn’t exist and excessive nonessential travel shouldn’t either — but there are more productive things we can do than rail against Taylor Swift’s private jet emissions.

First, we can have a larger impact by focusing attention on the broader airline industry. The Federal Aviation Administration reports that, on average, there are 45,000 passenger flights per day, just within the United States. Even if Taylor Swift took one flight per day, already
an inconceivable number for anyone who knows the effects of jetlag, the difference between 45,000 and 45,001 is negligible. In terms of global carbon emissions, while Taylor Swift’s are significant, those of the broader industry are much larger.

To achieve the greatest reduction in emissions, it makes sense to focus on making the airline industry more efficient and less carbon-intensive rather than focusing on the emissions of individuals. Reducing each flight’s emissions by 1% will do more than reducing Swift’s by 20%,
50%, or even 100%.

Responding to criticism of her travel-related emissions, Taylor Swift’s spokesperson announced that Swift purchased carbon offsets to more than counteract her travel related to the tour. The carbon offset industry (which “counteracts” emissions by paying for corresponding emissions reductions — usually by protecting forests slated for felling) is dubious at best, but at least Swift is conscious of the environmental impact of her travel and trying to do something to address it.

Either way, the situation shows how public pressure can be used most effectively. No matter how much backlash she gets, realistically, Taylor Swift is probably not going to stop flying her plane all the time. Someone with as much money and influence as her ultimately gets to decide that for themself. But the backlash convinced Swift to purchase and publicize carbon offsets, and further public pressure could drive her to invest further into counteracting her emissions. Pushing for an increased response on her end is likely to have more effect than demanding that she stop flying, a message that will fall on deaf ears.

As for Taylor Swift’s “need” to fly her plane, it’s worth mentioning the contributions that her Eras Tour has made to the economy — an estimated $4.6 billion in consumer spending,
according to Forbes. Swift’s Seattle shows drew the largest crowds to downtown Seattle since the beginning of the pandemic, helping revitalize tourism-oriented businesses downtown. I recognize that a one-off concert tour is not the most sustainable way to boost the economy, but the impact is still undeniable.

To achieve the greatest reduction in emissions, it makes sense to focus on making the airline industry more efficient and less carbon-intensive rather than focusing on the emissions of individuals.

Swift is set to tour for almost two full years, from March 2023 to December 2024. The Eras Tour is notable for its length — most tours are significantly shorter, as artists have to sacrifice their personal lives for months as they tour the country. With her private plane, Swift is able to
maintain a balance between tour life and personal life, allowing her to sustain such a long-lasting tour. Without access to her plane, the tour would likely have been much shorter and generated much less economic benefit. So while she doesn’t “need” her plane, strictly speaking, her level of success would be lower without it. And if you’re a Swiftie who got tickets to the Eras Tour, imagine what it would have been like if there were equal demand but a smaller supply of shows. I’m still not happy about the fact that a carbon-spewing private plane is Swift’s preferred method of transportation. But giving up her plane would force her to make sacrifices to her career that I’m sure fans would appreciate even less.

 

Taylor Swift needs to get her carbon emissions down to earth

If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that I’d be criticizing a billionaire’s private jet use, I would’ve believed you … Without further ado: It’s first important to understand just how much Taylor Swift uses her private jet to travel from tour location to tour location, and the ensuing carbon emissions. The aircraft tracking website JetSpy reports that by August 2023, about five months into her Eras Tour, Taylor Swift had already made 103 private jet flights in the year (17 of which were from before the tour had even started). Not all of these trips were necessary: Swift’s two jets would often make duplicate trips within the same day, or fly to the same destination from different locations. She would also frequently use her jets to visit her homes before and after concerts. Though it’s understandable to visit friends and family periodically,
there still has to be an understanding that going on tour comes with leaving your usual
comforts and routines behind, especially when other touring artists don’t have her luxuries. Remember: All these flights were from the first few months of the Eras Tour, in 2023. It’s set to end in December 2024.

These flights add up, and fast. The average length of Swift’s flights was about two hours. Data from Paramount Business Jets, Carbon Footprint, and the International Civil Aviation Organization report that for a commercial 90-minute flight, one passenger causes 174 pounds of carbon emissions (which is already pretty crazy). One 90-minute flight on a private jet? Over 45 times this, at 7,913 pounds. We might be too eager to see Swift as only one more customer of the private jet industry, rather than a contributor of thousands of pounds of emissions with every trip she takes. While the airline industry certainly has to change, Swift must join them.

Swift isn’t just a citizen who struck it rich and went joyriding, either; she’s a massively famous pop star, whose actions and interests are constantly mimicked by her millions of fans. Her individual effects are even more amplified by this popularity, as many young Swifties will automatically defend her actions before realizing their true consequences. How she chooses to travel, especially while leading this Eras Tour, will inevitably get amplified by the media, and, though she might not mean to, she could be easily normalizing these kinds of wasteful luxuries.

If Swift is reading this article and already planning to change her ways, there are already many role models out there to follow. One, for example, is Coldplay’s 2022 Music of the Spheres World Tour which aligned with the targets set by the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change. The band collaborated with BMW to power nearly their entire tour with renewable energy and to develop a rechargeable battery. They used solar panels installed at venues, and their tour bus ran on biofuel. To spread the message to fans, those who committed to low-carbon travel won discounts.

Swift’s private jet use during her Eras Tour has exponentially increased her carbon footprint, both in its direct emissions, as well as the social impact on her fans. With nearly a year left in tour dates, Swift has the opportunity to enact one of the best New Year’s resolutions ever by cutting down on her private jet trips and helping the planet!

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About the Contributors
Zane R. '24, Editor in Chief
Review: Zane: The Movie (★★★★☆) Released in early 2006, Zane quickly became a fan favorite. A charming and lovable fella, Zane has captured the hearts of watchers around the nation. Top scenes include moving across the world, surfing waves as a 6-yearold on the sunny California coast, and battling his enemies with his Black-Belt karate skills. Despite some judgement, Zane and his journalistic exploits remains well-respected by most. Critics say: "10/10 writer. 8/10 personality." - Lucy K. '24 "Fun sense of humor. Great guy all around." - Rishi L. '24 "He looks a lot like one of my friends. Actually... maybe not." - Stellan M. '23
Lael G. ’25, Copy Editor
Lael is disillusioned.   Born May 29th, the universe stopped when Lael entered the world. Per her own recollection (which is “super sharp”), that day the sun shone brilliantly upon the Earth, babies stopped crying, depression was cured, and militants around the world were perplexed as their weapons began to melt into the ground.   Yet, nothing can last forever. For that moment of “Armistice Day all over again” was infinitesimal. Now, Lael spends her days tossing and turning, giving impassioned TED talks in her head, yearning to return the world to that state of bliss. Since elementary school at St. George -- “once a dragon, always a dragon” -- she’s been rallying the masses to her causes through her work in both the “state media apparatus” (the St. George gazette) and her own, underground student operation -- the deliciously subversive “Daily Whatever.”   In high school, her world-changing career in this field has only continued, whether she’s “Doing it for the Duwamish” in her club at school or in downtown Seattle, reporting in the field on student protests for gun control. “It hasn’t been easy,” she says, “I often think philosophically, about my own life and my place in it, and it’s a burden, the weight of it all, you know?” However, despite the heavy consequences of being an ethics bowl superstar, she gets by as Tatler’s faithful copy editor (with just a little help from GamePigeon and her pet cat, Juliet).

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