The Hill reports that a new program, initiated by Pelosi, to “green” Capitol Hill offices has been taken up by the House Chief Administration Officer who said last week that all offices belonging to members, officers and committees would have “green” consultations by the end of the year. 

The Hill reports that since Pelosi launched the My Green Office program in April 2009, the House has saved one million sheets of paper per month and 175,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. 

Wow.  One million sheets of paper!  175,000 kilowatt hours of electricity! That sounds impressive.  

It’s not. 

Let’s put those figures into perspective.  According to the CAO, total yearly energy consumption of the House of Representatives is over 103,000,000 kilowatts of electricity.   That means that Pelosi’s 175,000 kilowatts savings makes up less than two-tenths of one percent of the total consumption of the House’s electricity usage (.169 percent, to be exact).  Once again…that’s less than one percent of savings.  That’s not much to brag about. 

And I’m wondering how many sheets of paper might have been saved if the Democrats managed to control themselves legislatively and refrained from producing massive bills–like the 1000-plus page stimulus bill and the 1200-page cap and trade bill.  

The Hill also reports that by 2011 the CAO is “aiming to spread the ‘greening’ office initiatives to 450 of the more than 900 district offices of members. CAO staff are planning to use video conferencing technology instead of traveling in person to advise offices on greening techniques.”

Well, can someone in the CAO’s office please tell Pelosi about this “conferencing technology”?  I’m sure if she’d known about it, she wouldn’t have made that costly trip to Copenhagen to lobby for…..what was it….what was it?  Oh yeah, tighter regulations on carbon emissions.

Under Pelosi’s own measurements, the recent congressional junket to Copenhagen was a gross display of carbon excess.  David Ridenour at the National Center for Public Policy Research broke down the numbers:

  • The delegation consisted of at least 101 people, including 20 members of Congress that it required three military aircraft to transport them.
  • The aircraft were two 737s (presumably, 737-700s) and one Gulfstream V (presumably, a  Gulfstream 500 or 550).
  • Assuming the highest possible performance for these models, the Gulfstream V spewed about 60 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere for the 8,100 mile round-trip journey while the 737s together produced an additional 262 metric tons of the greenhouse gas.
  • But the three aircraft weren’t enough.  Due to space limitations, at least 37 of the attendees had to fly a somewhat longer commercial flight.  That added perhaps another 56 metric tons in emissions (based on a CarbonFund calculator and assuming a stop at Heathrow), so the delegation produced at least 378 metric tons of CO2 and probably considerably more.
  • It takes 1,303 Bangladeshis to produce that amount of carbon over an entire year.  It takes 326 Indians to do the same thing.