The rich are different than you and I.
That’s especially true when it comes to escaping scrutiny from the greenhouse gas emission posse.
It may warm your heart to know the greenhouse gas tax you pay at pump that is collapsed into the price of every gallon of gas you buy in California has made the likes of Elon Musk filthy rich. That phantom pump tax goes in part to subsidize fairly well-heeled drivers to buy Teslas with the help of tax credits.
So what has Musk done with his wealth made possible in a large part through the generosity of the California Legislature siphoning money out of the pockets of poor earthbound farm workers and commuters that drive gas powered vehicles to get to work?
He’s launched space tourism along with his fellow billionaire self-proclaimed greenies — Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.
This is not a case of class envy by far.
Californians struggling to make ends have financed efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Some of it is in the form of more expensive reformulated gasoline. A lot of it is on the form of green energy that has helped send PG&E power costs sky high. There are also phantom greenhouse taxes that oil companies collapse into the price of each gallon of gas they sell that is passed onto the consumer.
There are also countless regulations as well as greenhouse taxes slapped on a wide variety of producers of food and goods. California consumers ultimately pick up the tab at the cash register.
Californians have paid a hefty price to reduce greenhouse the state’s per capita carbon footprint by 24 percent since 2001 when it was 14.1 tonnes per year. It’s now down to 10.7 tonnes annually last year according to the California Air Resources Board.
That is not a misspelling. Air pollutants are measured by the metric system. A tonne is 1,000 kilograms or the equivalent of 2,204.6 pounds. A ton, by the way, is equal to 2,000 pounds.
The Nature Conservancy reports climate scientists believe the only way to avoid a 2 degree increase in the average global temperature by 2050 is to reduce worldwide carbon footprint of 7.9 billion people from 4 tonnes a year to a bit under 2 tonnes annually.
The United States overall has among the highest carbon footprint at 16 tonnes per person annually. That’s more than 50 recent higher than that of a Californian.
According to scientists, a Musk space flight generates a carbon footprint of 100 tonnes during a 10-minute flight. That’s the equivalent of the carbon footprint of an average earthling over the course of 25 years
If Virgin Galactic reaches 400 space tourism flights a year and Branson’s competitors match that, there would be 1,200 annual launches. In a single year the 1,200 10-minute flights would translate into the annual carbon footprint of 18,000 Californians or a city the size of Ripon. Based on the worldwide average the carbon footprint for a 10 minute joy ride by basically millionaire passengers is the equivalent of the greenhouse gases 30,000 average earthlings generate on a yearly basis.
Then there are the unknowns of what such frequent space flights will have on the atmosphere given currently there are only roughly 100 rocket launches globally in a given year.
During re-entry, according to University College London researchers, the heat shields burning up converts stable nitrogen in the atmosphere into reactive nitrogen oxide.
This does significant damage to the stratosphere as nitrogen oxides and other chemicals created as the breakdown of water vapor converts ozone into oxygen. This, according to scientist Eloise Marais, depletes the ozone layer that protects the earth from harmful UV radiation.
Imagine the wrath of the Environmental Protection Agency and Greta Thunberg if Proctor & Gamble re-introduced ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons into deodorants.
Yet no one questions the wisdom of the equivalent platinum “E” ticket Disneyland style rides for millionaires that will harm the atmosphere for no purpose for greater mankind except to amuse the extremely wealthy.
Bezo’s spin machine convinced reporters that his Blue Origin flights didn’t emit a carbon footprint because they are fueled by liquid hydrogen and oxygen, a “factoid” they dutifully tossed into their stories.
The only problem is there is an enormous carbon footprint is generated by the process that creates liquid hydrogen from natural gas and purification and compression of oxygen.
Where is Al Gore when you need him?
Making things crazier are the Musks of the world are infatuated with Bitcoins and cryptocurrency in general — although he recently swore off of allowing people to use Bitcoins to purchase a Tesla.
According to the Digiconomist Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index it takes 1,544 kilowatt hours to mine one Bitcoin. That is the amount of average electricity a typical United States household consumes in 53 days.
The have been numerous reports of coal-fired power plants being put back into service or their output increased to handle the energy demand created through the manufacture of Bitcoins.
So why isn’t a millionaire’s lark in the form of 10 minute “space” flights or the energy hogs that cryptocurrency is aggressively questioned in the media or savagely attacked by greenies?
For starters both are viewed as disruptive technologies assuring them of a pass.
Old school tech is clearly evil in the world that adores the tech cabal that in many ways is not much different than the oil and steel barons that upset the proverbial apple cart just before the dawn of the 20th century.
Rest assured there are hardcore environmentalists out there who aren’t cutting Musk, Bezos, or Branson any slack nor those into cryptocurrency.
That is not the case for the vast majority of greenies that man the social media barricades but are blinded by the razzmatazz of digital tech and the financial titans it has created. They do not look at a Blue Origin flight with the same jaded eye they do a Chevrolet Suburban.
The green movement that Musk, Bezos, Branson et al pledge their allegiance are trainloads — powered by batteries of course — of greenbacks they ship daily to the bank.
The $230,000 price tag for a 10 minute flight that creates a significant uptick in a passenger’s carbon footprint is a curious venture for three men who say they are part of the vanguard fighting global warming.
In reality, just like celebrities who preach against global warming yet have a jet setter lifestyle that creates a carbon footprint the size of Peru, it is a matter of doing what I say and not as I do when it come to turning green dollars into greenhouse gases.