Climate Hypocrites and the Media that Love Them

The not-so-green habits of Hollywood gasbags

Leonardo DiCaprio: Drowning in a Sea of Hypocrisy

Net worth: $220 Million

Houses: Two adjoining properties in the Hollywood Hills, six-bedroom mansion in Palm Springs, California, two apartments in Battery Park City, New York, an apartment in Greenwich Village, New York, beachfront estate in Malibu, California (sold in 2014)

Yachts, planes, cars: Personal party yacht, rented yacht, frequent flier

Foundation: The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (part of the $1 billion California Community Foundation)

Board Seats: World Wildlife Fund, Oceans 5, Pristine Seas, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Fund for Animal Welfare

Eco-awards: United Nations Messenger of Peace, Clinton Global Citizen Award

Famous for: Actor (Titanic, The Aviator, Inception, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street)

Notable Quote: “I am not a scientist.”

Former Titanic heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio is a classic example of a celebrity climate change phony. DiCaprio is one of the most vocal climate change alarmists in Hollywood. He even created his own climate change documentary, The 11th Hour, and was awarded the status of “UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change.”

But, when he’s not blaming conservatives for destroying the planet, DiCaprio is cruising in his private yacht, or flying among the four houses he owns, scattered on both coasts. DiCaprio seems to think that his own air travel doesn’t affect the environment the way he claims it does for other people, even telling the German daily Bild that he planned to “fly around the world doing good for the environment.”

Addressing the UN in September 2014, DiCaprio argued “I am not a scientist, but I don’t need to be. Because the world’s scientific community has spoken, and they have given us our prognosis: if we do not act together, we will surely perish.”

He added, “we need to put a price tag on carbon emissions and eliminate government subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies. We need to end the free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free-market economy. They don’t deserve our tax dollars  –  they deserve our scrutiny. For the economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse.”

His movie-star charisma and urgent appeals made DiCaprio a news media favorite. On ABC’s Good Morning America on Sept. 24, 2014, Lara Spencer praised DiCaprio’s activism, without even hinting at his hypocrisy.

“Let do some pop news, shall we?” Spencer said. “We begin with Leonardo DiCaprio. He has joined Instagram and not to post selfies. He's using it to advance a cause that he is incredibly committed to. His first post is a snapshot with the UN secretary-general at the United Nations Climate Summit, where he spoke on Tuesday, advocating bold changes to tackle climate change.

“He also posted a picture with climate activist and former Vice President Al Gore. And Leo's not just talking the talk here, people. He launched a nonprofit organization focused on the environment and was recently named a UN messenger of peace for promoting the cause.”

But DiCaprio is absolutely just talking the talk. Despite making a big deal out of flying commercial, DiCaprio took a private plane to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. While there, he stayed on the 470-foot yacht of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahayan -- the chair of Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company. DiCaprio had rented the same yacht in April 2014, to co-host an ‘80s themed party with Jamie Foxx and Orlando Bloom.

On New Year’s Eve 2013, DiCaprio and fellow actor Jonah Hill flew from Sydney, Australia to Las Vegas on a chartered 747, according to The New York Post – just to attend two separate parties.

According to The Daily Mail (UK), “even if he flew on a commercial jet for all of flights, his carbon footprint so far [September 23] in 2014 would be a minimum of 40 million metric tons of CO2 spewed into the atmosphere, more than twice the average American output for an entire year.” And that was with three months left in the year!

The same article mentioned that a private jet’s carbon emissions can be more than 37 times higher than those produced by flying commercial. The New York Times also used this statistic, adding that some private jets (the article specifically referred to one that former-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg flew to Bermuda routinely) can produce up to 130 times the emissions of a commercial flight.

Yet, somehow this hypocrisy didn’t disqualify DiCaprio from becoming a poster child for the environmental movement. According to his foundation’s website, DiCaprio “currently serves on the board of the World Wildlife Fund, Oceans 5, Pristine Seas, The Natural Resources Defense Council, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.” The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is a component fund of the California Community Foundation.

DiCaprio is also a partner and board member at Oceans 5 (which is ironic, since he’s practically the only person in Hollywood who wasn’t involved in one of the Oceans movies). Oceans 5 is a project of the liberal Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and coordinates the donations of several liberal foundations, including Pew Charitable Trusts, the Clinton Global Initiative, EarthJustice, the Environmental Policy Institute and, of course, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

ABC also used DiCaprio in 2000 to interview then-president Bill Clinton during its Planet Earth 2000 special. Among other questions, DiCaprio asked Clinton how the U.S. could “not practice what we preach” in regards to taking action to prevent the climate change apocalypse. He also asked if there was a way to “promote hybrid vehicles and convince people to give up their SUVs.”