Tiny Thoughts 010 — Spurious Arguments

This post is 700 words long, or about 3 minutes of a slow reader’s time.

As a rule, I’m not a fan of teen activists. Whatever the cause, it’s not the message; it’s that few teens have the depth required to speak as authorities on any subject. That said, I found an article in the NYT about Akash Shendure, a 17-year-old high school senior from Seattle, who created the following site: ClimateJets.

Basically, he got curious about the environmental impact of private jets, researched the matter, and built an interactive website that reports the 2022 carbon emissions by private jets belonging to Ultrarich.

It’s not the first time such information has been pointed out, but I found this elegantly simple and refreshing because it’s just data.

But, let’s be honest . . . people who complain and yell “Hypocrites!” likely would have no qualms doing the same thing.

Heck, if I came into a crap-load of money, I’d be inclined to give a hard pass on commercial flying and fly on private charters. Mind you, it doesn’t make sense (to me) to buy a private jet when there are companies that offer flights for hire. I suspect for most people who own one, it’s more of a status symbol . . . alongside an unwarranted feeling of self-importance.

The difference — one of the differences — is that I wouldn’t be flying hither and fro while vociferously demanding other people conserve and make sacrifices (LINK).

Even without a crapload of money, I don’t go around telling others what they should do to “Save The Planet!

That’s because I like keeping my living space comfortable year round (72°-73° F), I like driving an SUV (I’d still be driving a Suburban if they weren’t so dang expensive!), and while I do what seems reasonable to me, I don’t go out of my way to “Save The Planet!

I would, however, point out I’ve already done more than most for the climate . . . I opted not to reproduce. The savings in CO2 emissions due to diapers alone is 520 pounds per year (236 kg). In contrast, the 3.7M babies that will be born this year will add 873,200 metric tons of CO2 . . . again, just in diapers alone.

But I digress.

The point of this post is to comment on the excuses the Ultrarich give in justifying their disproportionate — not to mention frivolous — impact on the environment.

Not to pick on anyone in particular, but Taylor Swift pointed out it’s not her; she often loans the jet to others. Also, she’s carbon offsetting (is that a verb?), so her carbon emissions are much lower than most (or something like that).

Bill Gates has similar arguments. He’s important, you see, and he needs to fly to Kenya to tell others what needs doing.

I don’t blame him much since I’m also not a fan of using Outlook Mail, and I really can’t be bothered calling someone when I can drive to their place and tell them in person.

And, of course, he, too, spends millions (billions?) in carbon offset efforts.

Let’s recap: one says that, yes, it’s her jet, but others are using it. You know, the Pontius Pilate defense.

The other says, “Hey, I’m Bill Gates!” Yes, that’s the extent of his argument, thus endearing him to the many who aren’t Bill Gates.

But, it’s this carbon offset business I want to address . . .

Say a criminal kills someone . . . could they point to their two (probably illegitimate) kids and claim a win? You know, not only a replacement but one extra for good measure?

Say I kill someone, but I don’t have kids. Could I pay someone to have a replacement person or two and be off the hook?

Think about that for a moment.

Some will say I’m doing the same thing, rationalizing excessive consumption (I’ll ignore who determines what’s ‘excessive’).


. . . or, maybe, I’m just saying, “Screw it! I only have a few more years left,” and not worrying about saving a few pounds of CO2 while Bill, and the people who use Taylor’s jet, combined spew CO2 equal that of 250 of my lifespan.

Think about that for a moment.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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