While board members at the Sierra Club and NRDC may commute to work by gas-guzzling vehicles, at least they’re not flying. The same can’t be said for Greenpeace senior executive Pascal Husting, who the Telegraph reports is commuting to work in Amsterdam from his Luxembourg home by plane.
These travel arrangements fly in the face (if you’ll pardon the pun) of Greenpeace’s expectations for the rest of us. It claims, “In terms of damage to the climate, flying is 10 times worse than taking the train.” Ironically, Greenpeace places special emphasis on eliminating short haul routes like Pascal’s.
Each one of Pascal’s 500 mile round trips generates 313 pounds of carbon emissions, according to Dutch airline KLM. Given that he made the trip about twice a month, this implies 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the two year time frame of his travels–more carbon dioxide than the average American emits driving over two years.
Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naido absolves Pascal’s travel arrangements on the grounds that commuting by train would take too long. Of course, he’s correct—but that same defense could be used by anyone who decides to fly to their destination. Why does Pascal get a pass while the rest of us don’t?
Such galling hypocrisy has clearly struck a nerve with Greenpeace donors. One donor commented that she is “[s]o disappointed. Hardly had 2 pennies to rub together but have supported GP [Greenpeace] for 35+ years. Cancelling dd [direct debit] for while.” Many other similar comments go on in this vein.
This embarrassing revelation comes on the heels of last week’s admission that Greenpeace lost $5.2 million as part of a bad trade and leaked internal documents that show widespread incompetence and mismanagement at the $400 million organization. Board meeting minutes revealed that “reserves are stretched and income is substantially lower than projected.” If widespread pledges to end donations because of this travel hypocrisy are any indication, reserves are set to be stretched further still.