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Saturday, May 16, 2009

We Agree With Oprah on Jets, Homes and Wealth

Oprah has put the conundrum on mitigating global warming and climate change in perspective. Americans want opulence but want to prevent pollution of our environment. At the same time most people will feel glee over the prospect of 'green jobs' and conservation, they are also thinking about running down to Best Buy or Costco and buying the latest electrical gadget. How can these two impulses be reconciled? We believe they can be reconciled through technological innovation combined with appropriate government oversight along with efficient production and consumption of supplies and products. This is America after all...the innovation capital of the world.

Oprah Winfrey's praise of private jet ownership shows how a self-made rich person should be free to express her purchase choices. Of course, she can buy carbon offsets to reduce her carbon footprint just as Al Gore does. And we would be happy to sell them to her. We hate going through airport security vulgarly having to remove our shoes and belts. We prefer to sit in 1st class as opposed to coach. God bless Oprah because it has always angered us when celebrities come out talking about their Prius ownership but do not mention the other 15 cars they own. We have hated it when they show us the energy efficiency items and structures in their home, but do not mention the other 5 homes they own.

Speaking to Duke University graduates during their commencement, Oprah:

“And I will have to say, it is a wonderful thing to have a beautiful home, or homes….and it is really fantastic to have your own jet, and anybody who says it isn’t is lying to you. That jet thing is really good.”
Hooray for Oprah. AAEA promotes the availability of abundant energy supplies at reasonable prices. We also promote the efficient use of natural resources and protection of the environment. As President Obama says, and we agree, the two are not mutually exclusive. But what is insulting is when the rich tell the rest of us to conserve while they consume. We want what they have. Our challenge is for society to provide it to as many people as possible in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible.
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