An inconvenient truth: airport officials in Bali are concerned that an influx of private jets--for a UN conference on climate change--will crowd parking ramps, and force some attendees to park their aircraft at other airfields (Gulfstream photo).
Scores of world leaders and environmentalists will gather in Bali next month, for the much-hyped UN Climate Change Conference (3-13 December). This will be the thirteenth such meeting, which brings together nations and organizations that generated the fatally-flawed Kyoto Protocols back in 1994. And, in the "spirit" of Kyoto, the gloom-and-doom template for next month's Bali meeting has already been established. In the words of Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC):"The Bali conference will be the culmination of a momentous twelve months in the climate debate and needs a breakthrough in the form of a roadmap for a future climate change deal. Early in the year, scientific evidence of global warming, as set out in the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), put the reality of human-induced global warming beyond any doubt. What we are facing is not only an environmental problem, but has much wider implications: For economic growth, water and food security, and for people's survival - especially those living in the poorest communities in developing countries."
"...we urgently need to take increased action, given climate change projections and the corresponding global adaptation needs. Prompt and aggressive mitigation will drive down the costs involved in adaptation. In the context of climate change, projections of economic growth and increases in energy demand over the next 20 years, especially in developing countries, point to the urgent need to green these trends.
Mr. de Boer's concerns about climate change, energy demands and the need to "green these trends" ought to start with his own little gathering. Not only is the conference being held in an exotic (but remote) location, it turns out that many of the swells--you guessed it--will be traveling on private jets. Dennis Collins at Daily Aviator found this press release from Bali Discovery Tours, warning that ramp space at Ngurah Rai International Airport will be severely constrained, due to the expected influx of private jets for the U.N. Conference.
"...the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.
The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar.
Let's see...how much fuel does a Gulfstream V burn on a flight from Europe or North America to Bali. Then, you've got the "parking hop" from Ngurah Rai to another airport, the flight back to Bali and the journey home. Quite a carbon footprint, eh?
Not that we'd expect U.N. swells and their environmentalist friends to use commercial flights for that trip to Bali. Why, it's a 24-hour flight from LAX, and depending on their routing/airlines, they'd probably have to change planes in Seoul or Taipei. No need to fly with the tourist riff-raff when you can arrive in style on your own private jet.
Never mind that a single hour of operating expenses for a Gulfstream V or G550 is comparable to a round-trip airline ticket between Los Angeles and Bali. And, in fairness, we should point out that various Gulfstream models are the most efficient in their class; the costs of flying other private jets to Bali and back would be even more expensive.
Not that it really matters. This is merely another example of the environmental movement--formally institutionalized by the UN--asking the rest of us to emulate their rhetoric, rather than their deeds. For all their concern about "greenhouse gases" and "global warming," they have no problem discussing those issues in Bali (one of the most distant, albeit beautiful locations on earth), and flying to the conference in a fleet of inefficient, private jets.
ADDENDUM: From what we understand, Al Gore will not be at the Bali meeting. Instead, he'll be in Oslo, to pick-up his recently-awarded Nobel Peace Prize for "disseminating greater knowledge about man-made climate change." There's still no word on how Mr. Gore plans to travel to Norway. We know that he has a preference for private jets, but for his Next Big Moment on the World Stage, will the former Vice-President actually practice what he preaches? In his science blog at The New York Times, Jon Tierney posted this rather timely reminder from Al Gore's Oscar-winning "documentary."
Flying is another form of transportation that produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. Reducing air travel even by one or two flights per year can significantly reduce emissions. . . . If your airplane travel is for business, consider whether you can telecommute instead.
Call us skeptics, but we don't see Mr. Gore accepting his Nobel via a webcast from Nashville and Oslo. Just as we'll confidently predict that the parking ramp at Ngurah Rai airport will be crowded with private jets next month, in support of that UN conference on climate change.