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The Student News Site of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

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Andie Korenge
Celebrities who own private jets often use them with little regard for the environment. However, private jets are responsible for significantly more carbon emissions than commercial airplanes and can dispraportionately harm the environment when not used responsibly.

Celebrities need to be held accountable for their carbon dioxide emissions

Carbon dioxide emissions are the driving force behind global climate change. Celebrities are huge contributors, mainly due to their private jets; they use them constantly, often with no regard for the fact that they are actively harming the environment.

In a study done by Transport & Environment, it was discovered that private jets emit approximately two tons of carbon dioxide in just one hour. However, the average American emits about 16 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of a year. Thus, private jet usage causes disproportionate harm to the environment. In eight hours on a private jet, celebrities can emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as the average U.S. citizen does in a year.

Celebrities make the choice to fly private jets and they need to be held accountable when they do not use them responsibly. Air travel is an extremely energy-intensive activity and when celebrities abuse their access to it, they are knowingly polluting the environment.

Due to carbon being a greenhouse gas, it causes global warming when released into the atmosphere by private jets. The consequences of global warming include climate change, sea level rise, glacier ice melting, habitat loss, biodiversity loss and many other detriments. Then, these consequences do not even factor into account the fact that increased levels of atmospheric carbon also cause respiratory disease in humans and can destroy crop yields and lands, among other things.

One celebrity in particular who needs to be called out for her high level of carbon emissions is Taylor Swift. According to a study conducted by Yard, Swift had taken 170 flights on her private jet, emitting 9,142.06 tons of carbon dioxide by July 29, 2022. This made her the celebrity responsible for the most carbon emissions that year, emitting over 1,000 more tons of carbon dioxide than the person who followed her, Floyd Mayweather.

Swift’s carbon emissions are practically criminal, and as someone who has such a massive influence, this is a huge problem. She has an audience that extends worldwide, made up of people who idolize her and she is only showing them that it is perfectly acceptable to live such an unsustainable lifestyle. Thus, it is important that, in addition to enjoying her music, fans also hold her accountable for her actions.

A spokesperson for Swift has even told the public that all of these emissions cannot possibly be attributed to Swift herself, as she often loans out her jet. However, this is just a flimsy excuse that only serves to deflect blame. It is her jet and she chooses what she does with it, which is to loan it out and emit even more carbon dioxide.

Additionally, Swift’s disproportionately high level of carbon emissions in 2022 was no isolated incident. This year, she has been found to have produced 138 tons of carbon dioxide over the course of three months due to her relationship with Travis Kelce.

Swift is not the only celebrity who needs to be held accountable for her carbon emissions, though. The other celebrities who have emitted incredibly high levels of carbon dioxide are Mayweather, Jay-Z, Alex Rodriguez, Blake Shelton, Steven Spielberg, Kim Kardashian, Mark Wahlberg, Oprah Winfrey and Travis Scott.

These celebrities and many others are not just using their private jets frequently but also for extremely short flights. They use them to travel distances that the average person would by car, which causes a greater amount of carbon emissions and is once again a choice made by them with no regard for its consequences.

Kylie Jenner is among the celebrities who were and need to continue to be called out for their carbon emissions for this reason. In 2022, she faced backlash after deciding to take a 17-minute flight as opposed to a 40-minute car ride from Camarillo, California, to Van Nuys. This trip was estimated to have emitted one ton of carbon dioxide, which could have easily been avoided had she cared enough about the environment.

Another celebrity who has faced backlash for a similar reason is Drake. In June 2022, his private jet took three flights under 20 minutes long, causing carbon emissions that, just like in Jenner’s case, were easily avoidable. Drake has, however, given the public an excuse, claiming that these trips were made in order to bring his jet to an airport at which it would be stored, meaning that no one was actually on the flight.

Still, this is simply another excuse for a bigger problem: the use and ownership of private jets. Maybe no one was actually on that flight, but it is still his jet that is causing unnecessary and avoidable carbon emissions and it is therefore still completely his fault.

All of this is not to say that there are no reasons why a celebrity may want to own or use a private jet. After all, they may not want to fly commercially out of fear of being swarmed by fans or even potentially harmed. As well, it is understandable that they may need a quick mode of transportation for appearances and tours.

It is impossible to expect all celebrities to give up their private jets, but it is not too much to ask that they be more environmentally conscious when using them. If a celebrity owns one, being mindful of the harm they are causing the environment and trying to minimize their damages is the least they can do to compensate for its usage.

Celebrities can be more mindful by not using their private jets to travel short distances as well as by planting trees to offset their carbon emissions. Doing this as a celebrity is the bare minimum and if they feel comfortable enough to knowingly continue to abuse their access to private jets and do nothing to minimize their ecological footprint, they are the problem and the fact that they are needs to be acknowledged.

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About the Contributor
Andie Korenge, Feature Editor
Andie Korenge is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Feature Editor for Eagle Eye News. She enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her family and friends in her free time.
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