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Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.
But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy — including cutting summertime power consumption — even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.
Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.
Some environmentalists aren’t so sure.
“There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.
Flying on a Gulfstream rather than an airliner is like driving a sport utility vehicle instead of riding a bus, O’Donnell and others say.
A single cross-country round trip on a Gulfstream IV, or GIV, the model owned by Feinstein’s husband, churns out about 83,000 to 90,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, experts say. By contrast, on a per capita basis, the average American produces 50,000 pounds from all activities in an entire year.
Nonetheless, Feinstein and Schwarzenegger intend to continue their noncommercial flying ways because their jobs demand a flexibility the airlines can’t match, spokesmen say.
Schwarzenegger’s office said he and a jet-leasing company are establishing a “carbon offset” program for the governor and fellow customers, retroactive to Jan. 1. Carbon offsets are bought from organizations that plant trees and support renewable energy enterprises, among other measures, to offset greenhouse gases produced by the buyers.
“This is big news,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile said of the governor’s undertaking with NetJets, the leasing firm.
Feinstein, however, got the jump on Schwarzenegger. She began buying carbon offsets last year to partially cover the travel on the GIV, and will purchase enough offsets this year to compensate for all the trips, spokesman Scott Gerber said.
He added that Feinstein took “numerous” commercial flights in 2006, but flew mostly on the GIV. He balked at disclosing the tally of her Gulfstream journeys.
“We’re not going to get into specifics,” he said.
Hat tip: Instapundit