By Michael Bastasch, DCNF
President Obama likely racked up a massive carbon dioxide tab traveling to a United Nations climate summit being held in New York City this week.
All told, the president’s entourage could emit nearly 22 times more carbon dioxide in his trip to New York than the average American emits in an entire year, according to calculations by the free-market American Energy Alliance (AEA).
How could one person’s travel emit so much carbon dioxide? Well, this is the president we are talking about and he doesn’t roll alone. When Obama travels he requires his presidential jet, massive amounts of security and a motorcade to haul his staffers around town.
The UN climate summit was called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to highlight the urgency with which global warming needs to be addressed. But the lack of warming in recent years and a lack of attendance from major world leaders has put a damper on the summit.
The UN summit was preceded by a massive march by environmentalists and their allies to show world leaders the supposed large-scale support behind addressing global warming. The climate march racked up a large carbon footprint of its own.
AEA estimates that Obama will travel on Air Force one and have a backup airplane, which combined will emit 216 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the 300 mile trip. The president is also accompanied by two C-17 Cargo Planes which will emit 164 tons of carbon during his trip to New York City.
Obama’s helicopter, Marine 1, and its two escorts will emit 5.04 metric tons of carbon dioxide in just one hour of use.
Then of course, there’s the presidential motorcade, which AEA assumes will be made up of 30 cars which will emit 0.27 metric tons of carbon dioxide if they each only travel about 20 miles — one source actually puts Obama’s motorcade at as many as 45 cars. Altogether, the president and his entourage could emit 385.31 metric tons of carbon dioxide in just one trip to New York City.
To put this in perspective, the average American emits 17.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. So, Obama’s trip to lobby for international action on global warming could emit nearly 22 times more carbon dioxide than one American emits in an entire year.
The UN climate summit this week will feature about 120 leaders from around the world, meaning Obama’s carbon footprint for the conference is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s unlikely that international leaders and delegates will travel lightly to try and pave the way for another global climate treaty.