LOS ANGELES, April 4 — Taking in over 150 dates and almost as many private jet journeys, the carbon tracking app Greenly has calculated the carbon footprint of Taylor Swift’s world tour. And the results are far from green: in the space of a year, the global star has covered almost 60,000 kilometres on her American tour alone, equivalent to 77.5 tCO2e.

Undoubtedly one of the most talked-about musical events of recent years, Taylor Swift’s world tour, dubbed “The Eras Tour,” began more than a year ago and has been the subject of much hype. But the singer has also found herself under fire from critics, notably for the almost systematic use of her private jet to travel to over 50 cities on five continents. Greenly’s investigations estimate that the hundreds of flight hours logged by the global star aboard her 900LX private jet for the first leg of her tour in America could have generated over 139.1 tCO2e for almost 107,000 km travelled! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, since this calculation doesn’t include the “Bad Blood” singer’s shows in Asia and Oceania in early 2024, as well as those scheduled in Europe between May and August. And that’s not to mention the fact that the world tour is due to conclude in North America in early December.

Also pointing out that millions of spectators are expected worldwide, Greenly highlights the additional carbon impact of the various means of transport that fans will use to see their favourite singer perform on stage. To give a concrete example, the study authors polled a sample of 143 people planning to attend Taylor Swift’s shows in Lyon, France, on June 2 and 3. Of these, 37 plan to come by train (25.9 per cent), 45 by plane (31.5 per cent), 29 by car (20.2 per cent) and nine using several modes of transport (6.3 per cent). “The aim is not to put forward a random figure, but to raise public awareness of the fact that flying is not a trivial act from the point of view of the climate. However, even with a very small sample, the proportion of spectators likely to take the plane is already not negligible,” Greenly carbon methodology expert, Tommy Catherine, said in a statement.

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In its estimate of the carbon footprint of “The Eras Tour,” the analysis even takes into account online ticket booking, which could amount to some 4.7 tCO2e. This calculation is based on an ADEME estimate that a computer consumes an average of 50Wh, then multiplied by the number of simultaneous online connections, which topped the 900,000 mark on the day online ticketing opened for Taylor Swift’s two first Paris shows. Assuming that an average laptop consumes around 30 to 70 watts of electricity per hour, and that the process of getting tickets generally took a minimum of two hours, this would mean that around 90 MWh of electricity would have been consumed by Swifties getting tickets for the Paris dates alone, the report states.

And then there’s the souvenir T-shirts that many Swifties will probably be keen to get their hands on. This may be a cherished purchase in the eyes of fans, but it’s one that can quickly be worth its weight in carbon, given that the production of a classic cotton T-shirt emits an average of 5.2 kgCO2e. Assuming that half the spectators in a 50,000-seat stadium buy a T-shirt at a show, that’s an additional 130 tCO2e, or 19,760 tCO2e for the 152 dates, Greenly’s experts surmise.

While the report’s authors acknowledge the “undeniable” positive economic and cultural impact of “The Eras Tour,” they highlight the colossal impact of a musical event of this scale on the planet. Taylor Swift is not the only artist concerned, of course, and it’s the music industry as a whole that needs to rethink its operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A number of well-known bands and artists have already begun taking steps in this direction, including Coldplay, Massive Attack and Billie Eilish. — ETX Studio

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