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Does Taylor Swift Really Offset Her Jet’s Carbon Footprint?

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Taylor Swift’s private-jet usage has recently come under another wave of scrutiny, thanks to her Eras tour travel and her relationship with Travis Kelce. As anyone with an X account or ESPN subscription knows, Swift has spent the past few months whizzing between international concert venues and Kelce’s games in Kansas City. For last weekend’s Super Bowl, she was famously shuttled via PJ from Tokyo to Las Vegas.

Swift’s penchant for luxury air travel has earned her accusations of contributing to climate change — private jets are said to produce 5 to 14 times more pollution per passenger than commercial planes, and Swift frequently appears at the top of lists naming the celebrities who use them the most. In 2022, a representative for Swift pinned the excessive mileage on the fact that the plane gets loaned out to other people. Now, her camp seems to be taking additional measures to fend off criticism. Business Insider recently reported that she’d sold her Dassault Falcon 900, bringing her total PJ count down to one. Her legal team sent two cease and desist letters to Jack Sweeney, the college student behind an infamous celebrity jet-tracking account, citing safety concerns about sharing her plane’s location. (She does have a lot of stalkers, though Sweeney has pointed out that the data he pulls is already public.)

But representatives for Swift have also defended her frequent reliance on jet travel by claiming she purchases carbon offsets, also known as carbon credits, to make up for the environmental damage. Carbon offsetting is a practice used largely by corporations to put out more greenhouse gas emissions while claiming not to technically be damaging the environment. While carbon credits don’t erase environmental damage, when you buy them, your money is put toward efforts to reduce emissions somewhere else, in some calculated amount that purportedly “balances out.” This is often accomplished by reforesting projects, though it can also be an investment in some sort of renewable- or efficient-energy project. If this sounds shady, well, yes. Climate experts have generally called bullshit on the whole deal, and a study published last year found that in some cases these efforts can actually make global warming worse.

Still, it seems Swift and whoever is making her travel decisions are optimistic about carbon credits’ ability to combat climate change. In August, a spokesperson told Business Insider that she had “purchased more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel” before setting off for Eras in March, though Insider couldn’t independently verify the claim. The Associated Press reported that “her publicist” repeated that line earlier this month. Still, no one has provided any further detail on how Swift’s PJ usage is being offset. She may want to bring back that umbrella?

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