He flew to Turkey!
Now, I'm no climatologist, but I have heard rumors that flying wasn't so good for the earth. So I went to one of those websites where you enter all sorts of data about yourself to determine your carbon footprint so that you'll feel terrible about yourself so that you'll fork over some money that goes God knows where so you can feel good about yourself again.
It turns out that for taking a round trip flight to Istanbul from Washington DC, we can assign 4,525 lbs of CO2 emissions to Thomas L. Friedman. That sounds like a lot - good thing he doesn't fly very often. I mean, in the past six months he's only gone to:
- London -2,867 lbs of CO2
- Athens - 4,463 lbs of CO2
- Mexico City - 1,740 lbs of CO2
- St. Louis - 1,074 lbs of CO2
- Qatar and Yemen - 7,123 lbs of CO2
- Hong Kong and Taiwan - 7,586 lbs of CO2
- Davos -3,682 lbs of CO2
- Copenhagen (for the summit on climate change) - 3,760 lbs of CO2
So what do we get in return for Tommy's high-flying carbon belching? Let's look at today's column. There's not a single on-the-ground observation. No interviews with anyone in Istanbul. In fact, the only quote in the entire article that wasn't pulled from the Internet is a mysterious "Turkish foreign policy analyst" whose views so perfectly align with Friedman's that he or she is probably a) made up; b) Tommy's neighbor in Bethesda; or c) corporate strategy consultant Peter Schwartz. There is nothing in here that requires boarding a plane. Oh, he does has a cringe-inducing imaginary conversation with some Turks (Wait one minute, Friedman. That is a gross exaggeration, say Turkish officials), but that obviously doesn't require real airline travel, either.
There is simply no reason that Tom Friedman needs to go to Turkey to write a column. Or anywhere, for that matter. So if we really want, as a certain NYT columnist urges, to get"serious about fixing the problems that we can control," we could start by taking away Tom Friedman's passport. Maybe even place him under house arrest. Although we should probably find a more suitable house first.