Taylor Swift made headlines this week, having been named the “biggest CO2 polluter of the year”.
Swift’s private jet was used for 170 of the first 200 days of the year and emitted 8,293.54 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 1,184.8 times what a normal person emits each year, according to a report from the company. sustainable marketing Yard.
A spokesperson for the Grammy-winning singer said Swift’s jet is “regularly loaned out to other people” and “attributing most or all of these trips to her is patently unfair.”
However, many people took to Twitter to criticize it, with one saying 170 flights is an “excruciating amount in a short amount of time”.
But does Swift really deserve this criticism?
In a new report, Northeastern University academics argue that focusing on the carbon footprint of individual celebrities diverts responsibility from fossil fuel companies.
However, they said celebrities should still make climate-conscious travel choices, to set an example for their followers.
Swift’s private jet was used for 170 of the first 200 days of the year and emitted 8,293.54 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), 1,184.8 times what a normal person emits each year, according to a report from the company. sustainable marketing Yard
|Last name||Number of flights in 2022||Tons of CO2|
|Travis Scott||N / A||3,033|
In their new report, the researchers acknowledge that Swift’s CO2 emissions controversy was a great opportunity to draw attention to the ethics of flight.
Dr Laura Kuhl, assistant professor of public policy and urban affairs and international affairs at Northeastern, said, “I think it’s great that attention is being brought to the issue of ethical considerations of flight.
“The impact of the flight, even if it is commercial flights, is very high indeed.”
While the majority (57%) of US transportation emissions come from cars, flights account for 8% of emissions, according to the researchers.
Compared to commercial flights, private jets are very inefficient, both in terms of the length of the flights they tend to complete and in the number of passengers.
A spokesperson for the Grammy-winning singer said that “Swift’s jet is regularly loaned to other people” and “attributing most or all of these trips to her is patently incorrect.” About her Here she is in the photo of her with her mother on her private jet
Companies with the highest emissions
- Exxon Mobile
- BHP Billiton
- Saudi Arabia
- Iranian national oil
- coal India
- CNPC (PetroCina)
Source: Carbon Majors report
Dr. Kuhl points out that many private jet flights are relatively short, with some, like Kylie Jenner’s flight on Sunday, lasting just a few minutes.
Most of the emissions are generated during take-off and landing, which makes these short flights particularly inefficient.
“There is really no circumstance in which flying is more efficient than driving,” said Dr. Kuhl.
However, the researchers say that focusing on the carbon footprint of individual celebrities diverts responsibility from the main driver of CO2 emissions: fossil fuel companies.
“It is true that most of the emissions are generated by a small number of fossil fuel companies that are leading the supply of fossil fuels,” said Dr. Kuhl.
“We absolutely must not lose sight of the need to implement regulations.”
A 2017 report, titled Carbon Majors Report, revealed that only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions.
According to the report, companies including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron have been the companies with the highest emissions since 1988.
However, rather than taking responsibility for these emissions, many of these companies are placing the blame on consumers, according to Dr Kuhl.
He points out that the term “carbon footprint” was coined by British Petroleum in 2004 to describe how individual actions fuel climate change.
“They wanted to push the problem on consumers, on individual responsibility,” said Dr. Kuhl.
Overall, Dr Kuhl says she doesn’t think taking responsibility for carbon emissions is an ‘either / or’ situation.
“We have to face it from all directions,” he said.
Alexandra Meise, associate professor at the Northeastern School of Law, added: “Individuals may not be able to make the same contribution, but that doesn’t mean individuals can’t make a difference.
“If we are going to achieve the goals that experts believe are necessary to keep the global temperature rise below that magical 1.5 degrees Celsius required to avoid catastrophic consequences, then we need everything we can achieve.”
WHAT ARE THE UK PLANS FOR “NET ZERO” CARBON EMISSIONS?
On June 12, 2019, Theresa May’s government released plans for the UK to become carbon neutral by 2050.
However, experts are concerned about how the proposals will work.
The report is committed to ensuring that UK-generated emissions are offset by removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere.
There are two main ways to accomplish this: by planting more trees and by installing “carbon capture” technology at the source of the pollution.
Some critics are concerned that this first option is being used by the government to export its carbon offsets to other countries.
International carbon credits allow nations to continue emitting carbon while paying for trees to plant elsewhere, balancing their emissions.
Some argue that the program is a way for developed nations to escape their environmental obligations by passing them on to poor and developing countries.