An open letter to Greta Thunberg

Dear Greta –

Congratulations on making a carbon-free trip to New York. You are setting a great example for people who believe fossil fuel use is destroying the planet. While I fully support your right to protest, I hope you’ll allow me to explain why I’m skeptical of the cause you embrace.

I’m not a scientist, but do have a degree in electrical engineering, which I mention only to point out that I have at least some basis for arriving at reasoned opinions concerning dire claims about the climate. I guess I’m what’s referred to as a climate denier, but I bend over backwards to limit my own carbon footprint. I use less than two gallons of hot water to shower, wash dishes by hand, wash clothes in cold water, never use my electric clothes dryer, never have my groceries put in plastic bags, and keep my thermostat at 61 in winter, 81 in summer. The monthly energy bill of my 1,800 sf home has never been above $100. I believe we all are duty-bound to be good stewards of the planet, but I have many doubts about man-made global warming theory. In the interest of brevity, I’ll touch on just one of those concerns here.

As you may have noticed, the wealthy people who talk the loudest about the need for “each and every one of us” to make dramatic cutbacks in the way we live aren’t making dramatic cutbacks in the way they live. These wealthy climate preachers are many in number. Since you’re aware of the most prominent, I won’t list them here. Suffice it to say that not a single member of their living-large alliance practices what they preach.

Please allow me to cite one example.

Since leaving the White House, President and Mrs. Obama have amassed an enviable fortune of $100 million. President Obama speaks passionately about how we all must choose to live in smaller homes that require less energy to heat and cool. During a speech in South Africa last year, he criticized rich people for their lavish lifestyles:

“There’s only so big a house you can have; there’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”

Big houses…

The first major purchase the Obamas made as private citizens was an 8,200 sf mansion in the nation’s capitol. They reportedly are buying another spacious mansion, a luxurious oceanside estate in Martha’s Vineyard. Maybe it’s impolite to say, but two high profile climate preachers living in such spacious homes just because they can afford it is not what most people would refer to as of environmental leadership.

Nice trip …

President Obama speaks with deep conviction about how we all must dramatically cut back on leisure trips fueled by carbon energy. As I’m sure you know, Greta, private planes are the most planet-abusive way to fly. Here’s a list of leisure trips President Obama took during the first four months of his retirement:

► The day he left office, he flew 2,200 miles in a near-empty U.S. government Boeing 747 all the way across the continent to Palm Springs, California for his first post-presidency vacation.

► After relaxing in an 11,000 sf villa at the exclusive Thunderbird Heights Resort in nearby Rancho Mirage, he flew 3,300 miles, by private jet, all the way back across the continent to the Caribbean, where he vacationed with Richard Branson on Branson’s private island.

► After that vacation, he flew 6,000 miles, by private jet, for a brief stay at Marlon Brando’s French Polynesian hideaway in Tahiti.

► He left Tahiti, by private jet, on a 2,700-mile trip to Hawaii, where he golfed for a few days before leaving, by private jet, for the 4,800-mile return trip to his DC mansion.

► Once home, he twice traveled 400 roundtrip miles to New York, both times by private jet, the first to take in a play on Broadway, the second to have dinner with U2’s Bono.

► In early May, he flew 8,400 roundtrip miles, by private jet, to Milan, Italy, where a caravan of 14 carbon-powered SUVs took him to a conference to give a speech about—sit down for this—people burning more than their fair share of fossil fuels.

► While in Italy, he flew, by private jet, from Milan to Tuscany, where he unwound at Borgo Finocchieto, an exclusive resort featuring luxury villas measuring out at 9,500 sf.

► After leaving Italy, he returned, by private jet, to his home in DC.

During his first four months of retirement, America’s most recent former president flew more than 27,000 miles, a distance greater that Earth’s circumference. There’s no telling how many private jet leisure trips he’s taken in the last two years.

Other prominent climate preachers indulge in the same type of lavishness as the Obamas. To justify living large, some purchase ‘carbon offsets,’ which allegedly are used for some green purpose, such as planting a few trees. When eco-preacher Prince Harry recently took heat for his incessant use of private jets, Elton John came to his defense by purchasing a carbon offset that purportedly neutralized the atmospheric degradation caused by the private jet flight Harry and his wife took for a leisurely stay at the famous singer’s extravagant home in Nice, France.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems carbon offsets are little more than a clever fig leaf that enables wealthy climate preachers explain away unlimited private jet travel, which cannot occur without using copious quantities of fossil fuel. These mega-rich people rationalize pigging out on fossil fuel energy by purchasing offsets, the cost of which is an infinitesimal drop in their immense financial buckets. Offsets are useful for environmental chest thumping, but do nothing to change the fact that the virtue signaling rich folks who purchase them are nevertheless guilty of burning unconscionable amounts of carbon energy in their insatiable pursuit of lavish living.

Despite your young age, Greta, you have considerable sway with the wealthy elitists whose only contribution toward saving the planet is preaching. Because you walk the walk, you have the moral standing to call them out. And you should, because they’re the same self-indulgent carbon gluttons who terrified you when you were a little girl. Their opulent lifestyles are unmistakable proof that not a single one of them is the least bit concerned that CO2 is destroying the environment.

Call them out, Greta. Make them man up. They owe it to you and the millions of other young people they traumatized, all while burning fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow.

Respectfully and best wishes,

John Eidson
Atlanta, GA


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