Image courtesy of schumachergirl1956 via flickr
The "Green Governor," as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has come to be nicknamed in the press, has at times demonstrated an almost comical disregard for the muscular environmental agenda he's trumpeted during his tenure. Whether it be his love for "green" Hummers or his administration's obfuscation in last year's CARB-gate, the Governator - in spite of his bold eco-advocacy - has often seemed satisfied to follow a "do as I say, not as I do" policy.The latest brouhaha over his supposed green credentials revolves around his heavy use of a Gulfstream private jet - which produces almost the same amount of emissions as a small car does in a year - for his near-daily commuting and extensive traveling, the LAT's Evan Halper and Michael Rothfeld report. Just as Al Gore was initially criticized for his Tennessee mansion's large energy consumption - an issue he quickly addressed by installing energy-efficient technologies and earning a gold LEED rating - Schwarzenegger has been accused of undermining his conservationist image.
His aides have defended his extensive traveling, arguing that he pays for them himself - i.e. through campaign funds donated by special interests - and that he compensates for the emissions produced by purchasing carbon offsets, spending the equivalent of $43 an hour; by comparison, his jet flights cost as much as $10,000 an hour. Unlike previous governors, Schwarzenegger has refused to relocate his family to Sacramento - he owns a lavish mansion in Brentwood; he has dismissed the complaints by calling his commuting "no big deal".
Except it is, Governor. While it's understandable that he'd want to spend as much time with his family as possible - his justification for flying back and forth between the state capital and his home - there is simply no excuse for the heavy use of such carbon-intensive transportation. Given the reputation he's worked so hard on building as a green crusader, it'd be a shame to see him undermine it so thoroughly with such actions.
Via ::Los Angeles Times: Governor's high-flying commute draws flak (newspaper)