Thu 16 Oct 2008 – In an article entitled ‘Five-star Green Hypocrisy’, online publication JunkScience.com has condemned environmental NGO WWF over its promotion of a round-the-world, 25-day journey by luxury private jet to conservation areas on four continents. Using WWF’s own carbon calculator, JunkScience estimates the trip in the lavishly fitted Boeing 757 will burn about 100,000 gallons of jet fuel, producing 1,231 tons of CO2, the equivalent of putting 1,560 SUVs on the road over the same period.
WWF invites those with $64,950 and time on their hands (ex-bankers?) to “join us on a remarkable 25-day journey by luxury private jet”. Setting off from Orlando, Florida, travellers will “touch down in some of the most astonishing places on the planet to see the top wildlife, including gorillas, orangutans, rhinos, lemurs and toucans. Explore natural and cultural treasures in remote areas of South America, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa. To reach these remote corners, travel on a specially outfitted private jet that carries 88 passengers.”
JunkScience quotes the WWF website to say the average American produces 19.6 tons of CO2 annually, nearly five times the world average of 3.9 tons per person. “But during the WWF’s posh excursion, travellers will produce 14 tons of CO2 per person. That’s 71% of the average American carbon footprint and 360% of the average global footprint in a mere three-and-one-half weeks,” writes publisher Steven Milloy. “But who’s counting – especially when you’re in ‘19 rows of spacious leather seats with full ergonomic support’ enjoying ‘gourmet meals, chilled champagne [and] your own chef’?”
Neither the tour brochure nor the WWF website mention whether carbon offsets will be purchased to make the trip carbon neutral, claims JunkScience, despite the availability of WWF’s own carbon offset calculator. The publication has used the calculator to work out that it would cost over $44,000 to offset the jet travel alone.
However, JunkScience omits to mention that WWF joined other environmental NGOs six months ago in calling for tough restraints on aviation when it joins the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which included applying a two-times multiplier on aviation CO2 emissions because of the sector’s greater climate impact. Using that assumption, the true cost should work out at $88,000.
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