The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Environmental Fallout of Celebrity Privilege

Art by: Sophia Loparo

In a world ruled by money, celebrities know how to take advantage of the luxuries their conditions grant them. Recently, many have discussed on social media the impacts of celebrities’ private jets and their frivolous use of this means of transportation. Most prominent, Taylor Swift is under scrutiny due to her excessive use of private jets, causing internet users to vocalize their concerns.

First, it is important to understand just how damaging these assets are to the environment. The main problem with private jets is the amount of carbon dioxide, CO2, they emit, which causes global temperatures to rise. According to a study by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), “private jets emit at least 10 times more pollutants than commercial planes by passenger.” Moreover, data shows that “the average amount of CO2 produced by our celebrities – only by their private jets – in 2022 [by July] is 3376.64 tonnes each. To put that in perspective, the average person emits just 7 tonnes of CO2 annually.  

With these facts, it is not surprising to see that people are rightfully upset about Taylor Swift’s constant flights to see her boyfriend’s football games, amidst a worldwide tour. Furthermore, her constant use of private flights cannot be solely attributed to her recent 2023 tour, since data from July 2022 points out that “her total flight emissions for the year [so far] come in at 8,293.54 tonnes, which is around a thousand times more than the average person’s annual emissions.


In response to the public’s concern with Taylor Swift’s CO2 emissions, the singer’s representatives have stated that she “purchased more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel. That, however, is not a magical solution to the problem. Carbon credits, also called carbon offsets, are certificates that are bought so “a person or group can fund projects that fight climate change, instead of taking actions to lower their own carbon emissions.

In theory, these projects seem like a viable solution to diminish the output of CO2 into the atmosphere, but there is still doubt about the effectiveness of this system. Many investigators have reported that results have been overestimated compared to the actual benefits of these programs. Furthermore, the efficacy of carbon credits also depends on the long-term management of the measures applied, which, considering how offset projects are “the Wild West of climate change and have been riddled with fraud, failed projects, and dubious effectiveness,” it is safe to assume that simply purchasing carbon credits is not enough. 

Not only that, but Swift’s decision to threaten legal action against a college student who tracks and posts her, alongside other celebrities’, private jet logs only stirred the conversation further, especially since the data he uses is public. Taylor Swift, however, is not the only celebrity guilty of excessive use of private jets. Personalities such as Kylie Jenner and Drake have also been condemned for less than 20-minute flights. 

(now deleted Instagram post)

Drake has even commented on the criticism about the 18-minute flight his jet took from Hamilton to Toronto, Ontario, saying “this is just them moving planes to whatever airport they are being stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics … nobody takes that flight.” Similarly, Taylor Swift’s spokesperson has said that the singer loans her jet frequently and that all flights tracked cannot be attributed to her. 

That, however, does not absolve these artists of carelessness towards the environment, since moving planes without passengers, and “burning many hundreds or thousands of gallons of jet fuel to save a carload of people or a couple of carloads of people a few hours,” is still irresponsible use of private jets, as stated by Colin Murphy, deputy director of the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy at the University of California at Davis.

It is important to highlight that, even considering the facts presented, celebrities are not the worst offenders when it comes to superfluous private flights. In fact, the title goes to political figures, as described by Jeff Colgan, professor of political science at Brown University, “overwhelmingly men over 50.” 

Celebrities are a great starting point for the topic though, since they naturally capture more attention than political figures, and despite not being the top carbon emitterswhich is alarming, considering just how much CO2 they put outthey should still be held accountable. Not being the biggest emitter should not be an argument in favor of someone who still is guilty of environmental carelessness. 

The debate surrounding Taylor Swift’s excessive use of her private jets goes beyond celebrity culture. It is about a whole class who can afford to indulge in luxuries at the cost of environmental health.


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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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