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Environmentalists in spaaaaace! Branson, DiCaprio set to blast off

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By Doug Powers  •  January 8, 2014 02:50 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

“Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity. We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in **promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet.”Leonardo DiCaprio
*****

The wind-up:

If all goes according to plan, Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio will blast into space aboard the maiden voyage of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship sometime this year, opening up a new era of civilian space travel. This development might only be remarkable as the fulfillment of a dream long predicted by futurists and technophiles, were it not for the fact that Messrs. Branson and DiCaprio are prominent environmentalist celebrities who have warned of a coming ecological catastrophe if we fail to address our carbon problem.

Mr. Branson’s commitment to fighting climate change is praiseworthy: Over the years, he has consistently advocated for a broad mix of clean energy sources, including nuclear. He is founder and chief benefactor of the Carbon War Room, an outfit that has long advocated for carbon pricing and energy efficiency measures to help alleviate global warming. Mr. DiCaprio is on the board of trustees of the Natural Resources Defense Council and has decried overconsumption. “We are the number one leading consumers, the biggest producers of waste around the world,” the actor said in 2008.

And the pitch:

According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s environmental assessment of the launch and re-entry of Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, one launch-land cycle emits about 30 tons of carbon dioxide, or about five tons per passenger. That is about five times the carbon footprint of a flight from Singapore to London.

The rocket doesn’t run on algae and vegetable oil? Shocked. DiCaprio must be taking Branson’s rocket to space because his private jet can’t get that high.

Eventually DiCaprio hopes to get to the moon and set up “Lunar Base Alpha Hypocrite” where those who lead by calling for everybody else to be forced to lead by example can escape the greenhouse gases they’ve left behind for the rest of us.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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