State Headliners: Feeling the after-Bern on Bernie’s jet

By Guy Page

Headliners recently reported that it’s okay to be an energy hog in Vermont if you operate a marijuana grow. Apparently it’s also OK if you are Sen. Bernie Sanders. His $300,000 nine-state October campaign tour in a rented jet was a real climate-warmer.

How much climate-changing carbon did that jet emit as it moved our junior senator farther and farther away from Vermont voters just a few weeks before the general election? Based on a string of admittedly best-guess computations, here’s our estimate: 133 tons of CO2, or the equivalent of 29 cars’ output for an entire year.

Guy Page

A typical passenger car emits 4.6 tons of CO2 annually, the US EIA reports. In other words, Bernie’s jet emitted as much carbon in nine days as 29 cars emit in an entire year.

We know the Sanders campaign told VT Digger: “This cost ($300,000 for the jet) covered the entirety of the tour from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Carolina, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, California, and back to Vermont.”

For the itinerary listed above, starting and ending in Vermont, Headliners estimates (using Google maps) that the campaign’s Apollo Jets rental flew 7,045 miles. That’s not an exact number. We know neither the precise itinerary nor whether the jet flew as straight as the proverbial crow. Could be more, could be less. But as mileage estimates go, it’s probably not far off.

We also don’t know the make or model of the jet. The Apollo website lists about 15 such jet aircraft. Apollo’s “featured” aircraft – the Falcon 8X – burns 453 gallons of fuel per hour, according to one jet geek website. If the jet traveled the 7,000 miles at its specified cruising speed of 336 MPH, it was airborne for 28 hours and consumed 12,684 gallons of fuel. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, jet fuel combustion emits 21 pounds of CO2/gallon — about 10 percent more than gasoline. So the grand estimate of carbon emissions from Sanders’ trip is: 266,364 pounds, or 133 tons.

A typical passenger car emits 4.6 tons of CO2 annually, the US EIA reports. In other words, Bernie’s jet emitted as much carbon in nine days as 29 cars emit in an entire year.

It’s fair to ask: so what? Other candidates aren’t criticized for the expense or carbon output of a campaign jet.

But other candidates aren’t Bernie Sanders, who on the same day he was jetting around the country tweeted, “Climate change is a planetary crisis. Our task is clear. We must take on the fossil fuel industry that’s largely responsible for global emissions and accelerate our transition toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources.”

Bernie could have opted to “accelerate our transition toward energy efficiency” by flying coach or taking a train or both. But he didn’t. So the next time he (or a Vermont “climate leader” who ignored Sanders’ inconsistency) urges us to sacrifice money, comfort or convenience, why should we take him seriously?

Answer: we shouldn’t. There are better ways to reduce carbon emissions than to zap the sheep with the cattle prod of expensive subsidized power, devalued pensions, and carbon taxes. For example: support nuclear and hydro power. Let consumers, not government, pick the winners in the technological race for clean power at home and on the road. Insist that mega-polluters China and India imitate the U.S. reduction in energy generation emissions. Closer to home, insist the marijuana industry meet responsible emissions standards, or go elsewhere.

Fair is fair — even for ambitious U.S. senators and the marijuana industry.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Guy Page

4 thoughts on “State Headliners: Feeling the after-Bern on Bernie’s jet

  1. Bernie, McKibben, and Gore are the jet setters of the RE movement,
    Living high on the hog on private jets on other people’s money, spewing CO2 as if there is no to-morrow.
    In the meantime Paris is burning and tourism is in the tank.
    Trump was way ahead on this.
    He saw COP21 of Paris as a raw deal for US workers, and French workers FINALLY AGREE WITH TRUMP.


    In the meantime in Montpelier VT Department of Public Service is dreaming up heat pump programs that have a change of succeeding, the same as a snowball in hell.

    As a result, Vermont State government is subsidizing a heat pump program for residential and other buildings, which could not be successful (reducing annual energy costs and CO2eq), unless at least 80% of all Vermont buildings had deep retrofits. This likely was known before the program was started, but RE rah-rah and subsidies got the program going anyway.

    The heat pumps for houses mainly are cold climate, ductless, mini-split units that have a heating/cooling unit mounted on an indoor wall and a ground-mounted compressor unit adjacent to the building. Heat pumps work best in houses with open floor plans on the downstairs floor, i.e., kitchen/living/dining is one big room. Almost all mini-split heat pumps are imported from Japan.

    After numerous complaints about a lack of energy savings, the Vermont Department of Public Service surveyed 77 existing heat pump installations at 65 locations and found the average energy savings were $200/heat pump/y, which had an installed cost of $5000/heat pump, and might last up to 15 years. Amortizing the $5000 at 5% requires monthly payments totaling $474/y, i.e., heat pumps used in typical Vermont houses are a money looser, and would be even more of a money looser if annual maintenance contracts were added.

    The main problem is the typical Vermont house is an energy hog and has a high peak heating demand during colder winter days, which makes it unsuitable for heat pumps.

    Heat pumps used in such typical houses would displace only 32% of the Btus, which would not provide adequate $savings.

    Heat pumps used in highly insulated and sealed houses would displace 100% of the Btus, which would provide adequate $savings.

  2. Let me say again that Bernie and all the cohorts like him such as Al Gore want you to do as they say, not as they do. The crap that they spew is for the common people, not them. They’re special.
    Hypocrites every one of them but the liberals still buy all their bulls–t. Just a bunch of sheep.

  3. You know and Bernie knows that his jet travel isn’t going to have any effect on the climate. His campaign can afford it, and it’s how the money gets from the rich down to the middle class, to the people who pump the jet fuel and empty the ashtrays. None of the uber participants in the AGW religion have gone sack cloth and ashes. Do you think they’re fools enough to actually believe what they’re pushing? And look at Dizzy Lizzy: Gives an emotion fraught campaign speech about how she supports Medicare and blithely cruises on to how she supports Obamacare, overlooking that Obamacare robbed Medicare of many billions of dollars to keep the scam afloat while the exchanges economically went down like rubber duckies going over a waterfall. And she knew it, just counted – like Gruber – on the stupidity of her target audience. Like Bernie and Global Warming.

  4. Hey ” Socialist” Sanders, instead of polluting the ” Friendly Sky’s ” with your rent-a-jet why aren’t
    you doing your traveling in a Prius, for someone that is always spewing his rhetoric about
    saving the world ( global warming ) ………..what a hypocrite…..but that’s Bernie the ” BS ” artist.

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