There’s nothing so profitable as being among the concerned climate experts who preach austerity. These enlightened few hector ordinary Americans into sacrificing their functional light bulbs, toilets and sport utility vehicles so the planet can be preserved. According to them, failure to give up these luxuries will overheat the globe and provoke devastating floods and hurricanes.
The peddlers of such apocalyptic tales rarely practice austerity themselves. Earlier this month, Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, asked Michael J. Ahearn, chairman of the board for First Solar Inc., to come and testify before a congressional oversight panel about his solar-panel business. Sun power is hailed by the left as the solution to the world’s energy needs. That’s why the Obama administration showered First Solar with $1.5 billion in taxpayer-backed gifts, recognizing the firm’s unquestioned eco-correctness.
An impious Mr. Issa, however, couldn’t help but inquire about how Mr. Ahearn made the journey from Tempe, Ariz., to Washington. According to liberals, carbon dioxide – the odorless gas that makes respiration possible – is destroying the Earth itself. So instead of driving an SUV, we’re all supposed to take the bus, ride a bicycle or even walk. Mr. Ahearn did none of these. “I flew in yesterday on a Challenger,” he explained. “A 300,” referring to the model.
According to data from Bombardier, the manufacturer of the $20 million luxury jet, the round trip would have produced about 21.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equal to five years’ worth of per-person emissions from the average household, by the Environmental Protection Agency’s reckoning. There’s no telling how many thousands of households would have to turn down the thermostat to offset the emissions from the annual travel of just one green-energy CEO.