Hypocrisy is nothing new to celebrities and politicians that make the push to go green. First, it was John Travolta, preaching about the catastrophic consequences global warming with five (yes, five) private jets that he likes to fly for ‘business purposes’. Next, it was Harry Reid getting out of his Chevrolet Suburban to attend a news conference on energy efficiency across the street. Now, it’s Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s time in the spotlight to showcase his green hypocrisy.
Brin and co-founder Larry Page have turned Google’s headquarters into a green machine. As Devon Pendleton of Forbes.com notes:
The 500,000-square-foot facility is heated by 9,212 solar panels; all the furniture in one building is made from recycled material, including old blue jeans as wall insulation. Employees can dine (for free) at Cafe 150, which uses ingredients only from farms within 150 miles of the kitchen.”
Going the extra mile, they both drive hybrid Toyota Priuses and Brin “reportedly has a solar-paneled rucksack to power his phone and MP3 player.” Talk about doing your part to save the planet. But before we line up Brin as the next Nobel Peace Prize winner, let’s take a look at his latest endeavor.
Just recently, Brin signed up to be a space tourist; he has recently put a $5 million down payment to take a joyride through space with Space Adventures Ltd. Is space tourism entrepreneurial? Sure. But is it green? Senior Policy Analyst David Kreutzer, Ph.D. crunched the numbers:
- The Soyuz rocket on which Sergey will ride uses 278 tonnes (metric tons) of kerosene-based fuel.
- A metric ton of gasoline (close in weight to kerosene) is equivalent to 8.53 barrels.
- There are 42 gallons to a barrel. So Sergey’s joy ride will use 278×8.5×42= 99,246 gallons of fossil fuel.
- Three people fly on each Soyuz trip; So Sergey’s share of the fuel for his joy ride is just over 33,000 gallons.
- The average car is driven 12,000 miles per year.
- A Prius averages an EPA 46 mpg and an all-wheel-drive Cadillac Escalade averages an EPA 14 mpg; That’s 260 gallons per year for the Prius and 857 gallons per year for an Escalade—a difference of 597 per year.
So, the 33,000 gallons burned by Sergey on his indulgence would be enough for him to trade in his Prius and drive an Escalade for over 55 years. Even this outrageous number does not include the considerable fuel used in the “weightless” training flights or for the air travel to and from the launch site.
There is certainly nothing wrong with energy efficiency and environmental conservatism; however, when celebrities lecture about “doing your part” and take joyrides in jets and spaceships, it is straight hypocrisy. To make matters worse, politicians implement mandates that do little environmental good with much economic harm. It’s time to expose this hypocrisy before we start paying for it, much more than we already are.