First Eco-President – Inauguration 2009 Anything but Green

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The 2009 presidential inauguration is a historical event that promises an unprecedented turn out – not only is Barack Obama the first African-American to take charge of the White House, he also aspires to be the greenest president in American history…but just how green with this eco-Presidential inauguration be?

The National Mall 2 days before inauguration 2009.  Photo by AnyaLogic
The National Mall 2 days before Inauguration 2009. Photo by AnyaLogic

We’ll probably never know the exact number attending Obama’s inauguration.  The largest recorded turnout was Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration in 1963 with 1.2 million in attendance, but the Park Service stopped official head counts in 1995.  Most officials are estimating a similar turnout for January 20, 2009 – but there have been rumors of as many as 4 to 5 million showing up for the event.

Whether it’s 1.5 million, 3.5 million, or 6 million – that’s a lot of people traveling to DC from around the world…and travel usually always means carbon…

So how much CO2 should we expect from Inauguration ’09?

HO/AFP/Getty Images
Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images

Aside from Obama’s new gas guzzling limo (pictured above) and the transportation of fine California wines especially for the inauguration luncheon – what type of environmental impact will so many people all traveling to and around Washington have?

The Institute for Liberty has put together a report estimating 575 million pounds of carbon – or the annual carbon footprint of a small town – as a result of the inauguration. (Read it here – PDF)

  • Over 25 million pounds from private jets,
  • More than 260 million pounds of CO2 from personal vehicles driving to and from the inauguration,
  • 5 million pounds from the completely booked DC area hotels,
  • Nearly 3 million pounds from the Metro rail – which is expected to not meet the transportation demands for the event,
  • Another million pounds of CO2 from alternative ways of getting around – taxis, buses, private cars, etc.

This not-so-eco presidential inauguration will require some major offsetting if Obama plans to live up to his green expectations!

The Institute for Liberty report mentions a few things they did not include in their carbon emissions total for Inauguration ’09 – transporting special foods for the event; the production of souvenirs and trinkets for the celebration; extended hours for local businesses.  A few other things the report doesn’t consider:

  • Police, FBI, and other security agents traveling from out of town to assist the secret service.
  • The number of stretch limos that will be hired rather than public transportation or taxis.
  • Additional energy consumption from outdoor lighting, speaker systems, the 20 Jumbotrons recently installed, etc.

It seems there’s no way around this not-so-green inauguration – the enormous carbon footprint, along with that 20 mpg Caddy are definitely not an eco-start for our first green president!

12 thoughts on “First Eco-President – Inauguration 2009 Anything but Green”

  1. Agreed, but the need to be “green” must always be balanced with other considerations. A President who lived off the grid and walked everywhere by foot would be very green but not a very good President. While I'm not a big fan of American cars, at least that tank, errr . . . limo, wasn't shipped from overseas. There is a bit relativity to buying local I think.

  2. I agree with the first commenter that special considerations have to be taken for the president, such as protection. Let's face it, him being driven around in a little Prius just ain't gonna cut it.

    That having been said, there's no need for excess in other areas, particularly in the inaugural celebrations, both in terms of wasting energy and $$ being spent. Now that the liberals are in power, get used to this kind of hypocrisy.

  3. I agree with the first commenter that special considerations have to be taken for the president, such as protection. Let's face it, him being driven around in a little Prius just ain't gonna cut it.

    That having been said, there's no need for excess in other areas, particularly in the inaugural celebrations, both in terms of wasting energy and $$ being spent. Now that the liberals are in power, get used to this kind of hypocrisy.

  4. Yeah, that is one tricked out car. I heard it was over 1 million to produce, and there's supposed to be two of them. I guess that's one way the auto company will try to get some government 'help'

  5. the limo is so pretty and expensive i think, there are 2 limo that was used in the motorcade one for the president and one for his bodyguards as i read in a blog both the limo are bullet proof

  6. the limo is so pretty and expensive i think, there are 2 limo that was used in the motorcade one for the president and one for his bodyguards as i read in a blog both the limo are bullet proof

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