The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

Newsletter Signup

Get our news delivered straight to your inbox every week.

* indicates required

OPINION: Celebrity carbon emissions are out of control

OPINION%3A+Celebrity+carbon+emissions+are+out+of+control
Gracean Ratliff

Scientists estimate that due to carbon emissions, there is a 50% chance global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius around 2030. This is only six years away, so this issue must not be ignored for longer than it already has. Collectively, many people have made efforts to reduce emissions, like cutting down on fast fashion purchases or limiting plastic use. However, this same effort is not being shared by celebrities. 

Taylor Swift has been under recent fire due to reports of excessive private jet flights, leading to increased emissions. While this is true, Swift is not the only celebrity who needs to be held accountable. There are plenty of other celebrities who have made fewer headlines but are polluting more than Swift. According to a recent article, she is not even in the top 10 polluters due to private jet emissions in the last year.

Travis Scott takes the top spot, taking 137 flights in 2023, and producing over 6 million kilograms of carbon emissions. To put this in perspective, the average global carbon footprint is 4.7 tonnes, or 4700 kg. This is about 0.07% of Scott’s usage from private jets alone in 2023. 

Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk and Beyoncé are also among the other top polluters. These numbers mentioned above are just from private jet usage, not even counting emissions from celebrities’ homes and cars. 

This illustrates how CO2 emissions are unequally distributed across income groups. This is particularly problematic because many people view celebrities as role models who are key to  establishing social norms. If celebrities produce such high carbon emissions, it sends the message to the general public that this is not a pressing issue. In addition to this, the richest class has more financial means to invest in energy-efficient strategies and adopt low-emission solutions that involve high costs, like solar panel usage. Since the average citizen usually cannot invest in solutions that have initial high costs, rapid action by the richest group is essential to decarbonize the environment and slow global warming. 

To make matters worse, the impact of these carbon emissions is felt by those who are the least responsible for it: those of low socioeconomic status. With rising temperatures, there has been an increase of 226 excess heat-related deaths for every million tonnes of carbon. The ones dying are vulnerable populations who work in extreme weather, do not have access to air conditioning and are less likely to have insurance or other protections. There are already marginalized communities that are living in poverty, and these heat-related issues just put these groups more at risk. All of this occurs while the top 10% live comfortably in their air-conditioned homes. This explains how the climate crisis and the growing economic inequality crisis are interlinked. 

It is time to start holding celebrities accountable for their carbon footprint. The public should pressure celebrities to use their influence and social presence for tangible environmental changes.

 

 

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

We hope you appreciate this article! Before you move on, our student staff wanted to ask if you would consider supporting The Appalachian's award-winning journalism. We are celebrating our 90th anniversary of The Appalachian in 2024!

We receive funding from the university, which helps us to compensate our students for the work they do for The Appalachian. However, the bulk of our operational expenses — from printing and website hosting to training and entering our work into competitions — is dependent upon advertising revenue and donations. We cannot exist without the financial and educational support of our fellow departments on campus, our local and regional businesses, and donations of money and time from alumni, parents, subscribers and friends.

Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest, both on campus and within the community. From anywhere in the world, readers can access our paywall-free journalism, through our website, through our email newsletter, and through our social media channels. Our supporters help to keep us editorially independent, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.

If you can, please consider supporting us with a financial gift from $10. We appreciate your consideration and support of student journalism at Appalachian State University. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation, or if you would prefer to make a recurring monthly gift, please give to The Appalachian Student News Fund through the university here: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1727/cg20/form.aspx?sid=1727&gid=2&pgid=392&cid=1011&dids=418.15&bledit=1&sort=1.

About the Contributor
El Shedrick
El Shedrick, Opinion Writer
El Shedrick (they/them) is a junior psychology major from Cary NC. This is their second year writing for The Appalachian.
Donate to The Appalachian
$1500
$5000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Appalachian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    patrick richardsonMar 19, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    There are so many things that we can do even at our lowly financial level.
    One pet peeve is that students who are capable of using the stairs use elevators. Do they realize that each trip on a single AppState elevator uses the total power of the solar “M” in front of Peacock Hall on the sunniest day? That $65,000 photovoltaic system was 100% student funded.

    Reply