Copenhagen carbon load: 1,200 limos, 140 private jets

Nothing new, but still pretty amazing. After Climategate, which the UN’s own climate chief now acknowledges is a PR nightmare, and with recent polls showing growing skepticism about global warming — and not just U.S. polls, either — you’d think the AGW crowd would go the extra mile at its big photo op to demonstrate the urgency of the crisis. Instead, this. Either they still don’t realize they have an image problem or they don’t care, opting to pay for their sins with indulgences from the corrupt carbon-offsets industry instead of emulating the average joe and doing without luxury transportation for two weeks. For a bunch of politicians, they sure are stupid about optics.

On a normal day, Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen’s biggest limousine company, says her firm has twelve vehicles on the road. During the “summit to save the world”, which opens here tomorrow, she will have 200.

“We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention,” she says. “But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report.”

Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand,” she says. “We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden.”

And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? “Five,” says Ms Jorgensen. “The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it’s very Danish.”…

The temptation, then, is to dismiss the whole thing as a ridiculous circus. Many of the participants do not really need to be here. And far from “saving the world,” the world’s leaders have already agreed that this conference will not produce any kind of binding deal, merely an interim statement of intent.

There are so many jets headed there that the local airport can’t accommodate them all; after dropping off their passengers in Copenhagen, some will have to fly on to other regional airports so that they can “park.” All this for the privilege of rubbing elbows at a conference that’s not only aiming at the wrong target, but is destined not to hit it. Exit quotation from Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Programme and a PR genius every bit as brilliant as, say, Barbara Boxer: “This is not ‘climategate’ it’s ‘hackergate’. Let’s not forget the word ‘gate’ refers to a place [Watergate] where data was stolen by people who were paid to do so. So the media should direct its investigations into that.”