+15 votes
in General Factchecking by Apprentice (2.0k points)

"Swift is the world’s most carbon polluting celebrity in 2022, per digital sustainability consultancy study. Their results show that Swift had flown 170 times since January that year, equivalent to 22,923 minutes in the air."

11 Answers

+5 votes
by Novice (580 points)
The biggest trend on social media right now is Taylor Swift and her carbon usage. Although it is true that Taylor Swift's private jet has let out more carbon pollution than any other celebrity this year according to carboncredit.com, a website that tracks carbon usage. According to a Buzzfeed interview, Swift's representatives claim that the jet gets loaned out to other people so it's not just her. The jet does belong to her, therefore this claim could be misleading but it is fairly true. Austin Whitman who is an expert in carbon footprint measures, and the CEO of The Change Climate Project did an interview with Vise. He said that her usage is "colossally bad, she is in the 8,000-10,000 tonne range which usually is where companies are at, not individuals." This leads me to believe that Swift's jet used more carbon credits than any other celebrity in 2022, but big companies use just as much per year.

In conclusion, this claim is slightly exaggerated but it is true that she has released the most carbon this year with her private jet than any other celebrity.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellendurney/taylor-swift-private-jet-emissions-backlash

https://www.vice.com/en/article/88x7bx/taylor-swift-private-jet-emissions-explained

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/aug/02/taylor-swift-private-jet-carbon-emissions-blatantly-incorrect

https://carboncredits.com/taylor-swift-turns-to-carbon-offsets-for-her-sky-high-footprint/#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20digital%20sustainability,70%25%20of%20the%20flights%20annually.
by Apprentice (1.1k points)
Great job fact checking this claim. I do think Taylor Swift sparks more conversation with how popular and trendy she is right now. If the jet does get loaned out to other celebrities, it would make sense that she faces a lot of backlash for her carbon footprint.
by Novice (720 points)
This is a great fact-check. I liked the amount of sources you used for it and how it backed up your information. I also really liked how you explained the jet usage and how she isn't the only one who uses it and that it gets loaned. This is a very important part of the story.
by Newbie (430 points)
I think you did a great job fact checking this statement. I also like how you put in a good amount of different sources to back up your claim. I can see why there is a debate on whether Taylor swift is part of the carbon problem. You did a great job explaining the different points of views for the statement.
by Genius (36.2k points)
How would you ultimately rate the claim? True, misleading? Don't forget to select a rating for each fact-check going forward. Thanks!
ago by Novice (620 points)
Wonderful job. This is a great fact check, as it not only acknowledges the truth in the claim, but also provides sources and elaborations to back up the claim. Great work!
+7 votes
by Apprentice (1.0k points)
This claim is true. Carbon Credits is the article cited which is one of the top sources for carbon news, pricing and opportunities. The author of the article, Jennifer L., has written 705 articles on this site. She is a journalist who focuses on environmental sustainability and carbon credits. She seems to be a reliable source.

The article said, "Swift is the world's most carbon polluting celebrity of 2022." Since January of that year, Swift has flown "170 times" with emissions totaling over 8,293 tons. This is where the claim on News Detective came from. The article goes on to note that a private jet emits two metric tons of carbon dioxide per hour per person. A U.S. domestic flight releases 0.04 tons. This data, from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shows how they calculated Swift's total carbon emissions.

I looked up this claim on Google and found another article on Swift's carbon emissions published by The Associated Press. The article mentions that this topic became trending after Yard, a U.K. based sustainability marketing agency, published a list of celebrity carbon emissions. The Yard article was published on July 29, 2022 by their digital PR team. At the beginning it states, "Yard's team is aware that this list is not conclusive to the biggest offenders, but the biggest offenders according to the data as presented on the CelebrityJets Twitter page...whilst there is no way to determine if these celebrities were on all the recorded flights the purpose of this study is to highlight the damaging impact of private jet usage." The Associated Press noted that the Yard article is not peer-reviewed either. The Yard article lists Swift as the top celebrity contributor.

I then went to the CelebrityJets Twitter page but it has been suspended. Yard noted that CelebrityJets pull their data from ADS-B Exchange, the world's largest source of unfiltered flight data. I visited this site and found it collects data from radio signals transmitted from aircrafts. This is how CelebrityJets was able to track the flight of Swift and other celebrities. This data is public information. ADS-B Exchange notes their goal is to "bring transparency and inclusivity to the world of aviation." Their main reasonings behind publishing this information is for public awareness, improving safety measures, research purposes and emergency response efforts. They seem very reliable.

This claim is true because with the flight information provided by ADS-B Exchange, one can calculate how much carbon emissions private jets emit based off the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Swift emerges as the top celebrity contributor. The claim should add this is for 2022.
True
by Novice (510 points)
Very strong fact-check! I appreciated how you went and checked the source where the Twitter page would get their data from to ensure that it was correct. Well done!
by Novice (580 points)
This is what great fact checking looks like! I like how after you found the original source you didn't stop researching until you figured out where each source their data from to make sure it was reliable information. Also, just pointing out that 8,293 tons is incorrect and if you scroll down to the bottom the Yard article you find that the number has been dropped drastically to 2,971 tons. I have no other notes though on this fact check, you did a great job!
by Newbie (390 points)
Your fact-checking is impressively thorough, demonstrating a deep dive into multiple sources to validate the claim about Swift's carbon emissions. The effort to trace information back to its original data source, including the analysis of flight tracking and emissions calculations, showcases your commitment to accuracy and detail. Your analysis not only confirms the claim but also enriches our understanding of the broader context regarding celebrity travel's environmental impact.
by Novice (670 points)
Your response to the question of if Taylor Swift is the highest carbon producing celebrity was awesome. The depth of your response really helped create a well rounded explanation to your answer. The addition of pointing out the flight tracking was also a great addition to your post.
ago by Novice (550 points)
This is a very in-depth fact-check! This explains why Taylor Swift has the biggest carbon emissions and why media outlets are reporting it now. I also appreciated you adding the information on carbon credits and how in each outlet Swift is the biggest carbon contributor. I also tried to visit the flight tracking website and was not able to fine any information.
+3 votes
by Novice (910 points)
This claim is true. According to an article written by The Washington Post, popular X account CelebJets tracked Swift's jet flight logs and found that she had been on 170 flights since the beginning of January. This has resulted in 8,293 metric tons of CO2 emissions, currently making her the highest CO2-polluting celebrity.

Even though these statistics are coming from an outside source, CelebJets seems to be reliable due to their transparency in how they retrieve their data. They use bots to track public flight log data, which allows them to track where celebrity jets are flying. They are also often sourced by articles across the internet for these facts. Recently, the college student who has been running this project, Jack Sweeny, has been threatened by Swift's attorneys to stop tracking her jets. Moreover, the Carbon Credits website also seems to be reliable. It has an abundance of information revolving around climate change and the impact of carbon emissions. Jennifer L also has hundreds of articles on the site. Overall, this claim seems to be true because there is public data to confirm it.

Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/08/02/taylor-swift-kylie-jenner-private-jet-emissions/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/02/06/taylor-swift-jet-tracking-legal-threat/

https://www.vice.com/en/article/88x7bx/taylor-swift-private-jet-emissions-explained
True
by Novice (540 points)
This is a great fact check. At first, I worried about the reliability of your sources, but I see that you also further researched the sources themselves to better understand where they gather their data. This shows me that CelebJets gathers their data on Swift's flight data from accurate public logs, and this is further backed up by the secondary source of Carbon Credits. You did a great job of not only validating the claim itself, but the places you got your information.
+3 votes
by Novice (730 points)

This article claims that Taylor Swift is the most carbon polluting celebrity in 2022. While other factors contribute to how much carbon emissions her personal jet are emitting, it is true that she is the top offender for carbon emissions. The article listed below confirms the stance in 2022, but considering recent events, we can be sure the number has increased exponentially since then. For one, her recent Eras tour took her all over the United States in 2023, in addition to South America, and now Tokyo in 2024. Her world tour is continuing throughout this year, and we can imagine her private jet will be used for these travels. Not only that, but in her new relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kielce, she has flown to watch each game. Based on the statistics from the article below, we know the claim above is correct. However, representatives of the artist claim the jet is loaned out all the time, and not all of the emissions can be traced back to Taylor herself.

https://weareyard.com/insights/worst-celebrity-private-jet-co2-emission-offenders

True
by Apprentice (1.9k points)
I think your reasoning is solid but more than one source would be beneficial to support that reasoning. The one source you did include identifies themselves as "an independently owned group of sustainably-driven businesses" which tells me there could be a level of bias.

I also think there are a considerable amount of assumptions. How do you know about the Era's Tour and Super Bowl travel? Why do you imagine her private jet will be used for future travel?

Lastly, the source you provided and your reasoning for the claim being true is only considering private jet uses. While I acknowledge it is likely true Taylor Swift's private jet use produces more carbon emissions than any other individual celebrity who uses a private jet, that is not what the claim is. The claim is that Taylor Swift is the world's most carbon-polluting celebrity, not that she is the world's most carbon-polluting celebrity based on private jet emissions. Celebrities are responsible for carbon emissions that are not related to private jets. A comprehensive carbon footprint analysis would be necessary to guarantee that this claim is correct.
+1 vote
by Novice (580 points)
This article claims that Taylor swift holds the positon of the most significant contributor to the carbon emissions. The significant carbon footprint is associated with the super bowl and it highlights Taylor Swift and addresses her carbon emissions through the use of carbon offsets. Sky high carbon emissions emphasizes the enviormental impact of Swifts private jet usage. This air travel has contributed ranking her as the celebirty with the highest CO2 pollution. We see that the enviormental impact of the super Bowl and the entertainment industry. Los Alamos, New Mexico bades spiritus estimated 12 hours, roughly 5,500 mile trip generated 40 tons of carbon emissions. This kind of transport is known to be most polluting, creating a major challenge in global decarbonization efforts. The super bowl carbon footprint undersocres the practies in the arena of sports and entertainment.

https://www.inc.com/chloe-aiello/how-this-startup-turned-taylor-swifts-super-bowl-carbon-emissions-into-a-brilliant-marketing-opportunity.html
+1 vote
by Novice (990 points)

After doing some research into the claim that "Swift is the world's most carbon polluting celebrity in 2022," I found that even though it sounds far fetched it is indeed a true statement. Carboncredit.com is a website that tracks celebrities carbon emissions through each year and based on there data it says that Taylor has emitted more carbon into the atmosphere than any other celebrity. The author is this post on carboncredit.com was done by Jennifer L. who is a very reputable author with over 700 posts on this site. She claims that Taylors carbon emissions totaled over 8,000 tons. However, there was also an article written by Buzzfeed that had her representatives saying she would rent the jet out throughout the year. So Taylor Swift herself may not be 100% to blame it is still her jet that she is responsible for. 

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellendurney/taylor-swift-private-jet-emissions-backlash

+2 votes
by Novice (580 points)

This claim seems to be true, but slightly exaggerated. While I wished the author had provided their original source to this claim, I was able to find it online in an article published by weareyard.com. This article was published on July 29, 2022, meaning that for the first half of the year, Taylor was the most carbon polluting celebrity, but not for the entire year of 2022. However, this article did get their numbers for tons of CO2 emissions wrong in their original claims and made note of it in an addendum at the bottom of the article. This makes me question the validity of the source, seeing as her flight emissions dropped by 5,322 tons after they reevaluated. Either way though, Taylor was still listed as the top celebrity for jet emissions for the first 6-8 months of 2022. The site got their data from the Celebrity Jets Twitter page, which I could not access because it was suspended, but after a quick search multiple sources reported that this data comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which "broadcasts aircraft signals to track public figures' jet use and measure their carbon footprints." Therefore, they are collecting their data from a reliable source.

I researched to see if she was top celebrity for carbon emissions in the entire year of 2022, and all the sites I found used the numbers listed in the Yard article. Multiple sources as well as the Yard article state Taylor Swift's team has said her jet is "regularly loaned out to other individuals," and that Jay-Z did not own the jet that was being tracked and used for his emissions. This could mean that not all these carbon emissions belong to these celebrities.

However, the motivation of the Yard is to "highlight the damaging impact of private jet usage," and seems to be an unbiased source that is trying to get their numbers as correct as possible. Since Taylor produced the most carbon emissions for the first 6-8 months of 2022, I conclude that this statement is true, although slightly misleading because I could not find any data on her emissions for the entire 2022 year. 

https://weareyard.com/insights/worst-celebrity-private-jet-co2-emission-offenders

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/08/02/taylor-swift-kylie-jenner-private-jet-emissions/

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/who-is-jack-sweeney-the-jet-tracker-who-angers-taylor-swift-elon-musk-5035774#:~:text=Reportedly%2C%20he%20uses%20publicly%20available,and%20measure%20their%20carbon%20footprints.

True
by Novice (760 points)
This is a really good fact check. I love that you addressed the severity of the claim. I agree that Taylor Swift's name is being thrown around even though other celebrities are not being held accountable for their carbon emissions. The statement itself is not 100% true because if the misleading nature of the original source.
0 votes
by Master (4.2k points)

This claim is true. In 2022, the UK-based sustainability marketing firm Yard named Taylor Swift as the "biggest CO2e polluter of the year." Between January 1st and July 19, 2022, Swift flew 170 times, totaling to almost 16 days in the air. According to The New Daily, she created more than 1,194 more carbon emissions than the average person. As of December 2023, Swift created 138 tonnes  of emissions in three months flying to attend Kansas City Chiefs games (most likely increased because this data was totaled in December 2023). Other people named on this list were Blake Shelton, Jay-Z, and Oprah Winfrey.

Top 10 Celebrity CO2e Offenders

True
+1 vote
by Newbie (460 points)
This claim from Carbon Credits is not necessarily false but it isn't 100% true. According to a news article by BBC, there is a student named Jack Sweeney who has legally tracked the usage of private planes owned by celebrities. The BBC article talks about how Swift claims to have bought carbon credits, which are devices used in flights meant to combat the negativities of carbon credits. Another article by Business Insider reports details about her two private plans that she owns and a map of all the cities that her private plans have touched down in. According to an article by Simple Flying, Taylor Swift's team has said that she loans out her plans to other people and that all the flights are not her personal. This means that all the flights can not be solely credited to her. However, there are some moral questions because she is the owner of the plans and has certainly used them frequently. So this claim is technically false but her usage of her plan is able to be called into question for her carbon pollution.

https://simpleflying.com/taylor-swift-rep-refutes-private-jet-claims/

https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20240213-taylor-swift-private-jet-flight-travel-carbon-footprint

https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20240213-taylor-swift-private-jet-flight-travel-carbon-footprint
Exaggerated/ Misleading
+1 vote
by Novice (670 points)

This claim that states that Taylor Swift is the worlds largest carbon polluting celebrity is true. In the past 3 months alone she cause 138 tonnes of emissions due to her using her private jet so much. To compensate this type of pollution she would have to plant 2282 trees and let them grow for a decade. Her team did say she purchased twice the carbon credits needed in order to justify the usage. 

https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/science/environment/2023/12/18/swift-carbon-emissions

https://carbonmarketwatch.org/2024/02/13/taylor-swift-and-the-top-polluters-department/

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