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After making history on Sunday by winning her fourth Grammy award for album of the year, Taylor Swift is in Japan to perform in Tokyo for four nights this week. She will then probably fly back to the US to see her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, compete in the Superbowl on Sunday. This jet-setting racks up about 31,200 kilometers (19,400 miles) on her private plane before she heads back to Asia for a nearly month-long tour ahead of a European leg that ends in August.
But Tay Tay, usually the world’s sweetheart, has been facing criticism about the amount of carbon emissions she produces with her private jet. According to sustainability marketing firm Yard, she allegedly emitted around 8,300 metric tons of emissions in 2022 – 1,184 times an average person’s footprint. Her representative responded to that report, saying the numbers were skewed and couldn’t all be attributed to Swift, as she sometimes lends her plane out to other people.
To counter their impact on the environment, private jet users often buy carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions. Carbon credits are like permits companies or people buy to “make up” for when they emit CO2. They allow them to emit a certain amount of CO2, and the money goes toward funding green initiatives to balance it out. In response to the criticism, one of Swift’s reps has said that she “purchased more than double the carbon credits needed to offset all tour travel,” referring to her famous The Eras Tour.
But, the most recent controversy is with Jack Sweeney, a 21-year-old student at the University of Central Florida, who’s been tracking Swift’s private jet alongside other celebrities, billionaires and politicians. He publishes their movements and carbon emissions on his accounts for everyone to see. Sweeney does this by using publicly available data from the Federal Aviation Administration (and some info from hobbyists tracking plane signals). Sweeney has gone head to head with big names before, like billionaire Elon Musk, who suspended his account @ElonJet on Twitter after he took over the platform.
In December, Swift sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sweeney through Washington law firm Venable, with lawyer Katie Wright Morrone saying that Swift would “have no choice but to pursue any and all legal remedies” if he didn’t stop his “stalking and harassing behavior.” The letter also said, “While this may be a game to you, or an avenue that you hope will earn you wealth or fame, it is a life-or-death matter for our Client.”
Over the years, Swift has dealt with some stalkers, with one man getting arrested several times this month for trying to get into her New York City apartment. There have been others, too, with a man even taking a nap inside her townhouse in 2018.
But Sweeney shared the letter with the Washington Post, saying that it had come at a time when Swift was facing criticism for her emissions. He also argued that the information is public – and vague enough that it doesn’t specify her location any more than her touring schedule or the NFL games schedule of where her boyfriend is playing.
“This information is already out there,” Sweeney said. “Her team thinks they can control the world.”
This week, reports surfaced that Swift has downsized to just one private jet, with the FAA’s website having details of the sale of her Dassault Falcon 900 on January 30.