October 25, 2009

THE COPENHAGEN QUESTION: “Anyway, how can there be a big climate change conference that everyone must fly to? If the situation is really so dire, why don’t they video-conference?”

Yeah, I gave a lecture to the Nashville Bar Association’s environmental section by Skype just a couple of weeks ago. But that’s me: Mr. Green! Travel restrictions, like taxes, are for the little people. But anyway, good for Obama for not flying to Copenhagen! “How big is the carbon footprint of a presidential overseas trip — or a presidential trip anywhere? Honestly, the man is set up to do his job in the White House, and he’s well protected there: Why does he ever leave that place? Ditto for all the other world leaders. Why are we supposed to cut back when they do not?” Er, because travel restrictions, like taxes, are for the little people?

And why not stay home for fundraisers, which are not only carbon-explosions but also a net financial loser: “Deval Patrick received $600,000 from donors who wanted to lunch with Obama. Federal taxpayers probably spent at least $2 million on transportation and security for the President. Commoners suffered lost wages and productivity when they found subway stations closed, streets closed, their scheduled airline flight stopped at Logan, etc. Local flight schools alone suffered at least $10,000 in lost revenue. It would be a lot cheaper if we said that every day for the next 8 years the federal government will write a $1 million check to the person of Barack Obama’s choice and in return the President will agree to stay at his desk and work.”

Stay at his desk and work. I’m beginning to discern a theme here — but note that while the costs of Obama’s travel fall on all sorts of people, the benefits go where Obama steers them. Hey, maybe that’s a theme, too . . . .