13 December 2009

Our Mayor, the Eternal Hypocrite

From today's New York Times, by Jim Dwyer:

The average New Yorker uses one-half to one-third the electricity of other Americans. Our carbon footprints are just 29 percent of people who live outside the five boroughs, and City Hall has practical plans to reduce even that amount by nearly a third over the next two decades. No wonder that this month, in a talk at the New York Academy of Science, Rohit Aggarwalat, the mayor’s chief adviser on sustainability, said the city was “the most environmentally efficient society in the United States.”

So it makes perfect sense that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is going to Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday to address the international conference on climate change: his administration is working to head off problems that will not emerge until long after he is gone.

A strong case can be made that when it comes to energy and climate issues, Mr. Bloomberg is the most visionary public official in the country.

And a strong argument can also be made that on a personal level, he ranks among the worst individual polluters ever to hold public office.

Mr. Bloomberg owns a helicopter and two jets, both Falcon 900s. He flies everywhere on private jets, by far the least efficient form of transportation on or above the earth. He takes his jet to Bermuda many weekends. He has flown around the globe on it. He uses it to go to Washington. He is planning to get to Copenhagen for the climate conference by private jet, too.

The carbon math works out like this: by taking his Falcon 900 to Denmark, Mr. Bloomberg will be responsible for the release of 37 times the carbon dioxide than if he and his entourage flew on a scheduled commercial flight. The calculations were done at my request by Dimitri Simos, the developer of software used by the airline industry to assess aircraft emission and performance. Mr. Simos said that a Falcon 900 carrying eight people from Newark to Copenhagen would produce 21.6 tons of carbon dioxide. By adding eight people to the scheduled Scandinavian Airlines flight, the aircraft, usually an Airbus A330-300, would produce an additional 0.58 tons of carbon dioxide.

Mr. Bloomberg’s routine trips to Bermuda are even more carbon costly: the private jet produces 130 times more emissions than going commercial. On those jaunts, Mr. Simos said, the Falcon produces 4.3 tons of carbon dioxide; putting another two people on an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that flies to Bermuda would produce only 66 more pounds.

Dwyer than goes on to say, "This is not Bloombergian hypocrisy; it is a paradox, shared by most of humankind."

No—it's hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

i will never respect anyone as an environmentalist so long ast they fly in private jets. that includes Bloomberg, Gore, RFK Jr, or any of the high profiled "green" players.

utter hypocrisy

Jeff said...

yeah but he takes the subway to work 8).

i would think that as a minimum token gesture, he should buy carbon offsets for his travel (he can certainly afford it).

Bluejay said...

Sure, he's a hypocrite. On the other hand, a good message is no less valid if it comes from imperfect messengers.

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. That doesn't mean "all men are created equal" is bunk; I'm still glad he wrote it.