NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

LIVING LARGE WHILE BEING GREEN

August 28, 2007

There are now 10,000 private jets swarming American skies, all burning more than 15 times as much fuel per passenger as commercial planes, and the summer seas are increasingly crowded with megayachts swallowing up to 80 gallons of fuel an hour, says the Wall Street Journal.

As a result, an increasing number of companies are launching programs designed to help the rich live large while staying green:

  • Jets.com, a private jet service, plans to start a program in early September in partnership with the Carbon Fund.
  • After they take a trip, customers will get a statement on their bills telling them how much carbon dioxide their flight emitted and what it would cost to buy offsets from the fund.
  • The offsets are a bargain compared with the flights: A round-trip private-jet flight between Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Boston costs about $20,000; the offsets for the 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted would cost about $74.

Yacht companies also are getting into the act, says the Journal:

  • Trinity Yachts, a Gulfport, Miss., builder, this month announced it will pay for part of the cost of installing special oceanographic and atmospheric monitoring systems in all of its new boats.
  • The system, called the SeaKeeper 1000, measures water temperatures and salinity, as well as air temperature and wind speed and sends the data to scientists who monitor the earth's oceans.

But not everyone is convinced of this green effort.  "Carbon offsets and these other things are feel-good solutions," says Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute.  "I'm always interested in people who buy a carbon offset for their jet to fly between their four big homes.  These kinds of programs postpone more meaningful action."

Source: Robert Frank, "Living Large While Being Green," Wall Street Journal, August 24, 2007.

 

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