BEHRENS: Elon Musk And The Short Flight Hall Of Shame

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Larry Behrens Contributor
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Elon Musk is the latest to join the Short Flight Hall of Shame. 

That’s the growing list of A-list green preeners who preach “limit your carbon footprint” but avail themselves of private airplane flights that are extremely short in distance and duration but long on hypocrisy and exhaust fumes.  

Recently, news reports revealed that Musk’s private jet flew from San Jose to San Francisco, a 35-mile trip that lasted nine minutes. The trip is about a 40-minute drive, and, as one tweeter pointed out, five stops on the commuter rail line.   

This is coming from the same guy who says global warming is “the biggest threat that humanity faces this century (except for AI).”  

Admittedly, we are getting closer to The Jetsons, where tiny jets will become the Model-Ts of the modern era, and today’s stars on short flights will become yesterday’s owners of $300 digital watches and 10-pound cell phones. 

But we’re still in an age where, according to the New York Post, Taylor Swift, Floyd Mayweather, Jay-Z, Alex Rodriguez, Blake Shelton, Steve Spielberg, Mark Wahlberg and Oprah Winfrey also have been criticized for taking small private plane trips with large carbon footprints. And that’s not to mention longtime well-known climate hypocrites such as John Kerry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore.

Kerry and Gore are the leaders of the global warming alarmism movement. They devote their lives to warning people about the imminent dangers of fossil fuel use. Yet Kerry’s jet is not only said to have emitted 30 times more carbon in 2021 than the average vehicle — he also took a private jet to receive a climate award last year. He then responded to criticism saying it is the “only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”   

Gore, who has said global warming is the “gravest threat facing our nation,” had a swimming pool that consumed enough power by itself to light up an average of six U.S. homes.  

Musk’s case is different though. It’s not just that he’s called global warming the biggest threat to humanity other than artificial intelligence. Many of the stars on that list have made apocalyptic predictions about global warming.   

Those other stars did not become the richest man in the world by profiting off concern about global warming. The big three sources of his wealth are Tesla, which makes electric cars and solar panels, and SpaceX, which promotes space travel. All are green-leaning business, and significantly funded by government  

Musk, who was born in South Africa but is now a US citizen, has received tens of billions in loans and financing from the public sector. He has received at least $1.6 billion in funding from the communist government in China – almost all on his promise to improve the environment.   

But the Short Plane Hall of Shame flight and the $70 million Gulfstream jet that made it possible are not the only blots on Musk’s record when it comes to environmental stewardship. Residents in far south Texas, where Musk has built one of only two private space launch sites in the US, say Musk’s Starbase facility has created noise, air and possibly water pollution and cut off access to a beach that is a sacred place for a local tribe.   

Tesla’s plant in Fremont, Calif., has been fined by the EPA for hazardous waste violations stemming from the use of toxic chemicals in paints, including formaldehyde, ethylbenzene, naphthalene and xylene. It has paid $55,000 to the Fremont Fire Department for emergency response equipment after four fires broke out in a year in the paint shop. It also was fined $1 million by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District after being cited for 33 violations.  

Stars are stars – they’re never going to live in our world or bother with being consistent. Grifters are grifters – Kerry and Gore know they don’t live like they urge others to, but they don’t care because it’s their jobs not to care.   

But Musk’s whole world centers around presenting global warming as an impending crisis and addressing it as a moral imperative – so imperative that governments should sink tens of billions into it. For him to take a 9-minute flight – or order someone to move his plane closer to him by taking a 9-minute flight – shows you the degree to which you should take these preachers of doom seriously.

The answer is: Not much. 


Larry Behrens is the Communications Director for Power The Future, a non-profit that advocates for America’s energy workers. You can find him on Twitter @larrybehrens or you can email him: larry@powerthefuture.com