Friday, February 1, 2008

Super Bowl: A Greenhouse Gastravaganza

It is a new record; over 400 private jets are flying into Phoenix for the Super Bowl this weekend, carrying mostly corporate types and their clients. “The Giants in particular have a huge corporate fan base" said an organizer of corporate events in the New York Times, “And 99 percent of our clients are corporations that are looking to entertain clients at these events.” Some of those corporations may even be among those who make claims to being concerned about the environment. So what is the impact of all these flights?

We did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation.

A midsize jet with four passengers uses about 1500 gallons of fuel to fly from New York to Phoenix; burning a gallon of jet fuel emits 21.095 pounds of CO2. The trip emits 31,642 pounds or 15.8 tons of CO2.

Yet that epitome of environmental evil, a hummer H2, with four passengers, can drive from New York to Phoenix emitting only 1.79 tons of CO2. (1.46 pounds per mile times 2453 miles).

Assuming that most of those planes are flying from the east coast (a stretch, but we have no way of knowing and are trying to make a point here) we have 400 planes flying round trip so that is 800 times 15.8 tons or 12,640 tons of CO2.

The average family in America emits about 20 tons per year; the Super Bowl private jets emit as much CO2 as 632 American families living for an entire year. It emits the same amount of CO2 as driving a hummer from New York to LA and back 3,130 times.

It would be really interesting to know what companies flew in what customers on those jets. It would certainly have been better if they had just invited them to a big boardroom with a big TV and a few cases of beer. It might be an interesting question to ask at the next shareholders meeting: "Why are you using corporate funds to make this much CO2 to go to a football game?" ::New York Times

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