Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies with Green Tommy

Remember way back on Sunday when Tommy declared the oil spill was our fault because WE "sent BP out in the gulf to get us as much oil as possible at the cheapest price." And how inspired he was by his buddy Mark Mykleby's courageous decision to stop blaming BP and start haranguing his wife to drive a more fuel-efficient car? Well, what did Green Tommy do after urging all of us to look in the mirror?

He flew to Turkey!

Now, I'm no climatologist, but I have heard rumors that flying wasn't so good for the earth. So I went to one of those websites where you enter all sorts of data about yourself to determine your carbon footprint so that you'll feel terrible about yourself so that you'll fork over some money that goes God knows where so you can feel good about yourself again.

It turns out that for taking a round trip flight to Istanbul from Washington DC, we can assign 4,525 lbs of CO2 emissions to Thomas L. Friedman. That sounds like a lot - good thing he doesn't fly very often. I mean, in the past six months he's only gone to:
For a six-month total of 36,215 lbs of CO2. Which means Tom Friedman is on pace for more than 72,000 lbs -- or 32.7 metric tons -- of plane-related CO2 emissions this year! By comparison, the average gluttonous American emits 19 metric tons of CO2 a year from all of their activities.

So what do we get in return for Tommy's high-flying carbon belching? Let's look at today's column. There's not a single on-the-ground observation. No interviews with anyone in Istanbul. In fact, the only quote in the entire article that wasn't pulled from the Internet is a mysterious "Turkish foreign policy analyst" whose views so perfectly align with Friedman's that he or she is probably a) made up; b) Tommy's neighbor in Bethesda; or c) corporate strategy consultant Peter Schwartz. There is nothing in here that requires boarding a plane. Oh, he does has a cringe-inducing imaginary conversation with some Turks (Wait one minute, Friedman. That is a gross exaggeration, say Turkish officials), but that obviously doesn't require real airline travel, either.

There is simply no reason that Tom Friedman needs to go to Turkey to write a column. Or anywhere, for that matter. So if we really want, as a certain NYT columnist urges, to get"serious about fixing the problems that we can control," we could start by taking away Tom Friedman's passport. Maybe even place him under house arrest. Although we should probably find a more suitable house first.

Hot, Flat & Crowded Manor
Fire Tom Friedman.

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