From The Wall Street Journal:
Boldly Going Where No Greens Have Gone Before
Why do Leonardo DiCaprio and Richard Branson lecture us about carbon consumption while plotting trips to space?
By Max Luke and Jenna Mukuno | Jan. 7, 2014 6:37 p.m. ET
If all goes according to plan, Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio will blast into space aboard the maiden voyage of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship sometime this year, opening up a new era of civilian space travel. This development might only be remarkable as the fulfillment of a dream long predicted by futurists and technophiles, were it not for the fact that Messrs. Branson and DiCaprio are prominent environmentalist celebrities who have warned of a coming ecological catastrophe if we fail to address our carbon problem.
Mr. Branson’s commitment to fighting climate change is praiseworthy: Over the years, he has consistently advocated for a broad mix of clean energy sources, including nuclear. He is founder and chief benefactor of the Carbon War Room, an outfit that has long advocated for carbon pricing and energy efficiency measures to help alleviate global warming. Mr. DiCaprio is on the board of trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council and has decried overconsumption. “We are the number one leading consumers, the biggest producers of waste around the world,” the actor said in 2008.
Private space travel doesn’t seem to mesh with living green, and Mr. Branson surely anticipated that his project would raise environmentalists’ eyebrows. Perhaps that’s why he announced this past May: “We have reduced the [carbon emission] cost of somebody going into space from something like two weeks of New York’s electricity supply to less than the cost of an economy round-trip from Singapore to London.”
But, and you know that there would be a but . . .
That would be a remarkable achievement in energy efficiency if it were true. Alas, it is not. According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s environmental assessment of the launch and re-entry of Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, one launch-land cycle emits about 30 tons of carbon dioxide, or about five tons per passenger. That is about five times the carbon footprint of a flight from Singapore to London.
More at the link. It would be nice if just one of the high profile climate change preachers would live his life as though he actually took seriously what he was telling the rest of us. There are, of course, some of the mostly unknown people on the left who do take climate change and Anthropogenic Global Warming theories seriously, and try to conserve energy for that reason,1 and who voluntarily live less well than they otherwise could, but when it comes to the high-profile proponents, there seems to be no living less large for them!
Mr Branson realized that this trip would draw criticism as not being ecologically sound, so he
lied made inaccurate statements about how much CO2 it would pump into the atmosphere, but that still misses the point: this trip is a purely luxury event, and does not need to be made at all. Even if Mr Bransom’s statements were true, and it did emit only as much pollution as a round trip flight to Singapore, there is no need for them to make the flight and emit any pollution at all.
It gets pretty difficult for me to listen to wealthy people telling us how we ordinary people must bear the burdens of higher taxes and fees on carbon-based fuels, so that we can continue with the necessities of our lives, and then see then turn right around and belch out pollution to pursue luxuries that most of us could never afford.
- Unlike your Editor, who does try to conserve energy for financial reasons and because he sees no reason to increase pollution unnecessarily, but doesn’t care in the slightest about the AGW theories. ↩