Having climate campaigner Al Gore round to your house is to open yourself to a self-flagellating guilt trip, Irish rock star Bono confessed Thursday.
Sharing a stage with the former US vice president at the annual gathering of world movers and shakers in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, the U2 frontman joked that their friendship was a source of pressure on the domestic front.
“He’s been round my house and it’s like… here’s the recycler Al, you know… I’ve got a posh car, but it runs on ethanol Al,” Bono said.
Acknowledging that a career in rock music was not always conducive to a green lifestyle, Bono compared a conversation with Gore to an act of religious contrition.
“It’s like being with an Irish priest. You start to confess your sins,” he said. “Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter, I am a noise-polluting, diesel-soaking, gulfstream-flying rock star.
“I’m going to kick the habit. I’m trying father Al, but oil has been very good for me — those convoys of articulated lorries, petrochemical products, hair gel.”
You know how all the wealthy elites who’ve jetted to Davos are going to “offset” their carbon footprint? By chipping in to pay for solar cookers to be sent to China. Seriously:
Andre Schneider, chief operating officer of the Geneva-based WEF, said the five-day meeting produces about 7,500 U.S. tons (6,800 metric tons) of carbon emissions, which are widely regarded as being a main cause of global warming. The figure equates to the amount released over a whole year by 1,250 passenger cars or 900 homes.
The 38-year-old Forum is trying to shrink its carbon footprint this time around by offering free transport from the Zurich airport in one of 94 Audi A8s — including 12 equipped with heavy armor — that run on low-emission biodiesel fuel.
Some 150 participants are expected to use the service.
But many of the 2,500 politicians and business leaders attending the summit will make their way to Davos by more traditional — and dirtier — means of transportation.
The Zurich airport expects about 900 additional landings and takeoffs during the event, while Davos is preparing for a daily influx of 20 helicopters. There are also separate plans for the transport of state guests, which will include U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Forum spokesman Matthias Luefkens said up to 70 percent of emissions caused by the Forum will be offset through a program that will send 17,000 solar cookers to northwest China’s Shanxi province, an impoverished region that has suffered extensive desertification and water and soil loss.
The voluntary program urges participants to pay $28 for each ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere during their flights. That equates to a $25 donation for a businessman or politician arriving from London; $62 from Moscow; and $168 from New York.
Luefkens said the Forum already has paid the emissions costs for all its staff, who were proudly wearing “I am offset” pins as they greeted arrivals on Tuesday.
Al Gore, forgiver of eco-sins, gives his blessing.
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