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Archive for the ‘Ed Begley Jr.’ Category

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It’s been recently established that ex-VP and ecological warrior Al Gore uses over 20 times the amount of energy than the average American consumes, thereby illuminating a copious magnitude of hypocrisy on a man who had freshly been honored with the best documentary feature Academy Award for the runaway hit that is his global warming-cum-environmental treatise slash slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth.

Again, I’ve always been rather partial to Gore, and I really don’t mind inherent hypocrisy because honestly, as I expounded upon in this post, everyone is a hypocrite (myself included) and all hypocrisy is inherent. My central problem with Al Gore’s particular brand of hypocrisy is the fact that he’s fucking Al Gore: politician, celebrity, activist, and self-proclaimed internet architect. If he were just some guy spewing vomitous, mindless, unsolicited, insipid, and uninformed opinions in a blog on the internet that is rarely read by anyone (hmm… sounds sort of familiar), then his hypocrisies wouldn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But because he’s Al Gore (and not just any run-of-the-mill Al Gore mind you, but prognosticator and grand soothsayer to the follies of mankind in regards to global warming) we as the people of the world, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, expect the mighty almost-president to damn well practice what he damn well preaches. If he doesn’t commit to his publicly broadcast enviro-ideals, then I simply expect him to shut-up about this particular issue.

That’s not too difficult to ask, is it? It’s not like I’m pushing Mr. Gore to go live in a cave. Far from it. I would never expect that. I’m simply suggesting that as a result of his hypocrisy, he’s irreversibly cast-adrift some serious respect many have held for him, including myself, and he earnestly needs to sit down and think about how he can live his life by the code he’s urging everyone else on the planet to adopt. I would suggest looking towards Ed Begley Jr. as a good role model, and I’m being completely serious here. If you want to live your life as environmentally politically sound as possible, then you can’t do better celebrity-wise than Mr. Begley Jr. Here’s a man who would rather drive cross-country in his electric vehicle (which he does quite often) than pollute the atmosphere with copious amounts of jet plane causing carbon dioxide.

And speaking of jet planes, it appears we have a new enviro-hypocrite in the political/public arena. My own California Senator Dianne Feinstein apparently uses her wealthy husbands’ private jet to ferry her back and forth across the country–from Sacramento, California to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. According to the L.A. Times article below…

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

That’s almost twice as much carbon dioxide produced in just one cross-country trip. It would take me almost two years to produce as much CO2 that Feinstein craps out in one trip to the D.C. and back. So assuming she were to fly hither and thither say, around 100 times a year, which would not be out of the realm of possibility for someone like Feinstein who works in the nations capital but calls California her home, our senator would excrete close to 9 million pounds of CO2 in only one year. Ack! How can my poor, defenseless atmosphere stave off such a fiendish attack?

Of course the article also lists California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger as another particularly vocal enviro-hypocrite–the attitudinizer (yes, it’s an actual word) so to speak. But now a new, previously unheard of, pseudo-phrase has been thrown into the mix, created I’m assuming to excuse those who evangelize eco-friendliness while engaging in behavior that is unequivocally eco-hostile, such as Schwarzenegger’s exhortations of energy conservation despite his unbridled love affair with the Hummer–a decidedly mother nature-terminating, gas guzzling behemoth. What is this new phrase? Carbon offsets.

So what are carbon offsets? According to the always reliable Wikipedia

A carbon offset is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases. A wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common.

Proper to the LA Times article, apparently Feinstein has already been purchasing carbon offsets for a while now, while Schwarzenegger is intending to buy into this scheme imminently. And though it appears purchasing carbon offsets is a relatively inexpensive proposal, allowing the buyer a certain sense of inflated ego and magnanimity, the results are a bit questionable. I don’t mean to imply that planting trees offers no real benefit to the environment, but to offset the damage caused by brutal enviro-terrorists like Feinstein, Schwarzenegger, and Gore proves a daunting task indeed.

In order to right the damage done by only one Feinstein trip to Washington D.C., one would have to plant 1,800 trees. So what if the carbon offset organizations simply don’t have enough time or man-power to plant 1,800 trees in one go? Well, one could simply plant a much more manageable number–say 90 trees–but those trees would have to be managed for 20 years before they offered a return on only one Feinstein jet trip. Assuming Feinstein probably makes around 100 Gulfstream IV private trips back and forth, a carbon offset team would be required to plant 180,000 trees per year in order to battle the gross injustice Feinstein commits against the environment.

So are these carbon offset companies actually planting 1,800 trees per every flight Senator Feinstein embarks upon? I somehow doubt it, and this seems nothing more than a deflection scheme designed to allow the powerful and wealthy to continue their environmentally damaging behavior while they persist in preaching and condescending to the rest of us how to live our lives ecologically sound while admonishing us when we stray from their politically correct, beneficent path.

Refraining from what one preaches is harder to cover up than it seems.

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Politicians’ flights called wasteful

Schwarzenegger and Feinstein preach energy efficiency but often fly fuel-gulping small jets.

By Paul Pringle, Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2007

Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.

But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.

Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.

Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.

“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.

Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.

A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.

Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.

Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.

“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.

Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.

He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.

“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.

Noncommercial aircraft and other carbon-related indulgences have caused politicians considerable turbulence recently.

A conservative group has condemned Al Gore for racking up an average monthly electricity bill of $1,200 at his Nashville mansion last year while championing the anti-global warming cause. A Gore spokeswoman said the former vice president invests in renewable energy to offset his electricity use.

As part of an ethics push, the House and Senate are toughening restrictions on lawmakers who fly private jets, though exceptions for members and spouses who own planes are under consideration.

Earlier this month, Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of requesting a large military jet to fly her and family members between the capital and her San Francisco district.

Security protocols grant Pelosi occasional military flights because she is second in line to the presidency. Her office said she had only inquired about an aircraft with enough fuel capacity to make the trip nonstop, and would fly commercial if necessary.

Pelosi flew on private jets seven times in 2006, her spokesman said. “She made every effort to travel commercially whenever possible,” Drew Hammill said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer says she took four trips on private aircraft last year, one with multiple stops over 2 1/2 days.

“If you can take a commercial plane to get where you need to go at the time you need to be there, you should do it,” she said in an e-mail. “If not, you have to look at alternatives such as trains, fuel-efficient vehicles, buses, and in some cases, private planes.”

For that last option, Feinstein reimburses her husband, Richard Blum, for use of the jet, Gerber said. Blum bought the GIV for about $23 million in 1999. The reimbursements are based on a first-class commercial fare, with more than 90% of the money coming from Feinstein’s personal funds and the rest from campaign coffers, the spokesman said. Last year, the reimbursements to Blum totaled about $73,000, he said.

But a GIV’s operating expenses are much higher than a first-class booking. A round-trip Los Angeles-Washington flight on the Gulfstream burns about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of fuel at a cost of roughly $20,000, depending on local pump prices, said Jeff Beck, a veteran corporate pilot. And that doesn’t include pilot fees, maintenance and parking bills.

“It’s the least environmental thing that politicians can do,” Beck said. He said Gulfstreams devour so much fossil fuel per passenger that “it’s like they’re throwing dinosaur bones out of the tailpipe.”

A coast-to-coast, first-class ticket on a major airline goes for about $1,200 to $2,500, round trip, according to a sampling of three airlines’ prices Tuesday.

A Boeing 767-200 airliner burns about 1,550 gallons an hour — three times as much as a GIV. But the larger plane typically can seat about 180 passengers, as opposed to a GIV’s 12 to 14.

Eric Carlson, executive director of Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit that sells offsets, said it would charge $229 to cover the emissions from the GIV round trip.

Schwarzenegger flies a variety of leased jets, which cost his campaign $733,000 during the three months ending last September. Maile said the governor digs into his own pockets for some flights.

He also said Schwarzenegger has converted one of his Hummers to biodiesel fuel, and plans to install solar panels on his house. His other three Hummers remain gas hogs.

For her part, Feinstein drives a hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicle when she is home in San Francisco, Gerber said. But she drives a Lincoln Town Car in Washington.

Not that the eco-crowd is eager to criticize Feinstein and Schwarzenegger, who are generally viewed as key supporters of the growing movement to curb emissions.

Representatives of some environmental groups either would not comment on the two politicians’ penchant for private jets, or suggested that allowances could be made in their circumstances.

“Given the exigencies of the campaign trail, if not the demands of governing of a large state, it may not be realistic to expect elective officials to fly commercial all the time,” said Jon Coifman, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But O’Donnell, of Clean Air Watch, invoked a loftier ideal:

“It is fair to hope that our political leaders will lead by example.”

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