Friday, November 2, 2007

An Eco-Warrior of Convenience

Today Mayor Bloomberg is delivering the keynote address at a Seattle climate-change conference sponsored by the United States Conference of Mayors. He will propose taxing carbon emissions, which will be levied upon companies -- not individuals themselves -- which is an important distinction.

A recent New York Post analysis of Hizzoner's real-estate portfolio and travel style found that no one holds a candle his massive energy consumption (well, except for maybe Al Gore). His personal carbon footprint equals that of "18 average Americans, 53 Europeans or 404 Guatemalans."

His (conservatively) estimated 364 annual tons of smog-inducing carbon dioxide is equivalent to "keeping 69 cars a year on the road or lighting the Empire State Building for 4 days," The Post reported.

Besides his spacious Upper East Side townhouse, the mayor owns five homes: a country house in Armonk; a farm in North Salem, both in Westchester; a four-bedroom condo in Vail, Colo.; a palatial flat on London's posh Cadogan Square, and a sprawling, 6,000-square-foot beachfront spread in Bermuda.

Together, the properties boast enough square footage to swallow two mansions like the 10,000-square-foot one owned by former Vice President Al Gore, one of several leading climate-change critics rapped lately for being voracious energy users themselves.

Bloomberg's carbon footprint swells to epic proportions when you include his penchant for reaching his far-flung getaways by one of the handful of private jets owned by his financial information firm, Bloomberg LP.

Fortunately, this chief of the Green Police has a get-out-jail card.

A City Hall spokesman said the mayor has chosen instead to donate to worthy causes -- "public health, the arts and education" -- while seeking "broader change."

Beyond taxing businesses guilty of producing the energy Americans demand, Bloomberg has also proposed city-specific policies: energy quotas on Gotham's private sector, mandatory hybrids for all cabbies, an $8 motorist tax for driving in Manhattan, new taxes on consumers' electricity bills. He's even threatening to devastate Gotham's natural landscape by planting one million new trees.

In other words, by forcing New Yorkers to consume less, the city serves as Mayor Mike's personal carbon offset.

How convenient.

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