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Photograph Source: Paolo V – CC BY 2.0

I spent a decade, like many parents, chauffeuring pre-teen and teenage girls around to a Taylor Swift soundtrack. I learned every Swift song as it was released and sang along to the chorus in the car. I even went to one of her first stadium concerts with my young Swifties.

Congrats, Taylor, for your talent and decades of consistently great songwriting. You deserve all the accolades and rewards. Here’s my one request: Give up your private jet.

Those young fans of yours that I used to shuttle around are now campaigning against climate change. They understand this is the critical decade to shift our trajectory away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

And they need you, once again, to sing a new song.

I know you’re dealing with a lot of crazy conspiracy theories in right-wing media. In their zeal to denounce you, you even succeeded in getting Fox News to admit that private jet travel contributes to climate change, which is no small feat!

They’ve said a lot of nonsense about you, but that part is true. Private jets emit 10 to 20 times more pollutants per passengerthan commercial jets. You know it’s wrong — that’s why you cover your face with an umbrella when you’re disembarking.

Maybe it’s even why you’ve decided to sell one of your jets. Why not the other?

We all have that experience of wishing we could be two places at once. I’ve been on a work trip and wished I could zip home for my daughter’s soccer game. But your private flight from your tour in Tokyo to the Super Bowl burned more carbon than six entire average U.S. households will all year.

Like so many challenges in our country, private jet pollution is increasing alongside inequality. According to a report I co-authored for the Institute for Policy Studies, High Flyers 2023, the number of private jets has grown 133 percent over the last two decades. And just 1 percent of flyers now contribute half of all carbon emissions from aviation.

Should we set off a carbon bomb so the ultra-rich can fly to their vacation destinations? More and more Americans are answering no. In Massachusetts, a grassroots coalition called Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom and Everywhere is calling on the governor to reject an airport expansion that would serve private jets. It could inspire similar fights nationally.

Banning or restricting private jet travel would be one of the easiest paths to reducing emissions if it weren’t a luxury consumed by the most wealthy and powerful people on the planet. But climate advocates are still working to find a way. In Congress, Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Nydia Velazquez have proposed hiking the tax on private jet fuel to make sure private jet users pay the real financial and ecological costs of their luxury travel.

There’s good news, Taylor: A generation of music stars toured without jets, taking the proverbial tour bus. And it sparked a lot of great songs about this amazing land.

Taylor, if you want to be green, stay on the ground. Your fans will love you and the future generations will thank you.

I believe there’s a song there.

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