TWO GRAY LADIES IN ONE:
For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.
So if you take five long flights a year, they may well account for three-quarters of the emissions you create. “For many people in New York City, who don’t drive much and live in apartments, this is probably going to be by far the largest part of their carbon footprint,” says Anja Kollmuss, a Zurich-based environmental consultant.
It is for me. And for people like Al Gore or Richard Branson who crisscross the world, often by private jet, proclaiming their devotion to the environment.
Though air travel emissions now account for only about 5 percent of warming, that fraction is projected to rise significantly, since the volume of air travel is increasing much faster than gains in flight fuel efficiency. (Also, emissions from most other sectors are falling.)
—Your Biggest Carbon Sin May Be Air Travel, the New York Times, January 26, 2013.
The New York Times, a newspaper that is nominally and editorially aggrieved about income inequality in America and human-rights violations abroad, is offering its elite, ultra-wealthy readers a chance to see some of the world’s most despotic destinations in a private jet for just $135,000 per person.
“Circle the globe on an inspiring and informative journey by private jet, created by The New York Times in collaboration with luxury travel pioneers Abercrombie & Kent,” reads the promotional material for this exclusive voyage of a lifetime. “This 26-day itinerary takes you beneath the surface of some of the world’s most compelling destinations, illuminating them through the expertise of veteran Times journalists.”
Sound like fun? The private Boeing 757, which can hold up to 50 passengers in “first-class, fully lie-flat seats,” is departing in February 2018, so be sure to reserve your seats now. Travelers can fork over $135,000 for the full trip, or a stunningly cheap $13,500 to partake in a single segment of the trip.
— New York Times Offering Luxury Jet Tours for the 1% – Iran, Cuba, Morocco and More!, Heat Street, yesterday.
As Glenn would say, I’d be more inclined to believe global warming is a crisis if and when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. In the meantime, I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about my carbon footprint.