Climate tech company Spiritus said it has committed to using its direct air capture technology to remove 40 tons of carbon from the atmosphere, offsetting emissions caused by Taylor Swift’s recent flight from Japan to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas.
Spiritus’ carbon removal process uses a modular design and low-energy consumption methods, which the company claims may be scaled up to capture megaton-scale levels of carbon from the atmosphere. The system mimics the human lung, according to Spiritus, using a solid sorbent to absorb carbon from ambient air through passive contacting.
Many celebrities and other private jet users have received scrutiny for their outsized carbon impact, especially as air travel is considered a hard-to-abate sector. Taylor Swift has been identified as a top contributor, causing around 8,000 tons of emissions in 2022, reportedly about 1,184 times more than the average person’s annual emissions.
Her trip from Tokyo after a weekend performance to Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII was approximately 5,500 miles producing 40 tons of carbon emissions, Spiritus said.
In an era where climate impacts are more of a focus, major emitters have been held increasingly accountable for their environmental footprint, individuals and corporations alike. By committing to carbon removal purchases, Swift may both address her own impact and set a standard for other private jet users to do the same.
Spiritus Tackles the High Cost of Carbon Removal
Based on current estimates, the carbon removal purchase from Spiritus amounted to $700 per ton of removed carbon, totaling $28,000 overall. Spiritus explains that a major focus for the company is to bring down the cost of carbon capture to a more accessible price, claiming that its direct air capture (DAC) technology has the potential to decrease the cost of carbon removal to about $100 per ton.
Carbon removal has become a controversial climate solution, both for its high cost and its potential to act as an excuse for heavy emitters to go without reducing their carbon impact in the first place. Although it should not be considered a solution to continuing to cause emissions, carbon removal will reportedly be required to meet global climate targets in the long term.
The technology largely remains in the early stages of development, and many DAC companies are currently working to scale the technology and make it more affordable.
“Today, everyone leaves a carbon footprint,” said Charles Cadieu, co-founder and CEO of Spiritus. “But carbon removal gives us all a chance to reverse the impact on the environment. Spiritus is committed to providing innovative carbon removal solutions to ensure a sustainable future and stewardship of our environment for the fans of today and the fans of tomorrow yet to be born.”