Monday, October 15, 2007

Do as I Say, Not as I Do

In yesterday's NY Post, the paper reported on the humongous carbon footprint of Mayor Mike Bloomberg-you know, the same guy who has expressed such a concern over the environment that he wants to tax commuters in order to reduce congestion and clean up the air. In the colorful Post mode: "America's greenest mayor generates enough greenhouse gas to choke the Lincoln Tunnel."

So here's another case of someone who's concern for the environment extends to hectoring others to behave in certain ways while he himself flouts the greener lifestyle with audacious impunity. The next thing we'll here is that Bloomberg-a la Al Gore-has purchased enough "carbon credits" to offset his wanton disregard for the ideals he's advanced for all of the less regal among us (And perhaps cashing in on the scheme just like our newest Nobel laureate).

As the Post points out, with all of the mayor's properties; "That's a carbon footprint larger than what's produced by 18 average Americans, 53 Europeans or 404 Guatemalans. It's equivalent to keeping 69 cars a year on the road or lighting the Empire State Building for 4 ½ days." But that ain't all by a long shot.

This far flung carbon generating empire doesn't include the mayor's manner of transportation and his frequent jaunts to his Bermuda abode: "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. In 2004 - before he took steps to conceal his weekend travel from the press - Bloomberg was averaging one four-hour round trip to Bermuda each month in his sleek Dassault Falcon 900.
Twelve such flights in a year would spew 40 tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, roughly as much as two Americans would produce in a year.

Now the mayor's PLaNYC seeks to cut the city's carbon emissions by a robust 7% in 2030-with a congestion tax being one of Bloomberg's key policy measures devised to achieve this laudable environmental goal. What gets us is that he has absolutely no sense of shame in this hypocritical advocacy. As the Post tells us: "The mayor says he has taken such steps himself. He's replaced incandescent light bulbs with more efficient fluorescent ones at City Hall."

We really shouldn't be surprised at all of this. As Steve Cuozzo pointed out, also in yesterday's NY Post, the mayor is extremely good at telling others how to live better. And in a real sense, Bloomberg's current environmental agenda emerges comfortably from his nanny mindset. As Cuozzo says; "For him, our waistlines, our sex lives, even the behavior of our pets are fair game for improvement. Just as rezoning will produce a more sleekly contoured New York, so will tinkering with our everyday habits yield a bountiful future where no one need be fat - or even, God forbid, stuck in traffic."

But why should Bloomberg, or Al Gore for that matter, practice what they preach. So many of the fawning glitterati are guilty of the same hypocrisy-advocating abstemiousness for others while they continue to live large, conscience assuaged, lecturing the peons on how to be better citizens of a world that they plunder at will for their own gratification.

We're from the Zero Mostel school, dramatized in The Producers: "When you got it, flaunt it!" Just don't flaunt it while scolding others to tighten their belts and live a supposed righteous lifestyle that you yourself won't deign to live. So as far as Mike Bloomberg is concerned, Tom Lehrer, commenting on the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize to Henry Kissinger is right a second time: "satire is now obsolete."