To Talk about Carbon Footprint, ABC Crew Flies Cross-Country

     Charles Gibson highlighted two San Franciscans’ carbon footprints on the May 9 “World News with Charles Gibson,” but hypocritically traveled to San Francisco for the report.


     The “Going Green” segment featured two different men: Daniel Oppenheim, who lives alone, drives a vintage Land Rover and has “no idea how much” carbon he emits; and Peter Boyer, who drives a hybrid, uses solar panels on his roof and buys “squiggly” light bulbs.


     Gibson supported the green choices of Boyer, but left out important information for the viewer about solar energy and how much carbon he must have emitted to travel to San Francisco (with news crew in tow).


     The California solar energy situation is now “a mess,” according to the Los Angeles Times.


     “Many homeowners quickly decided that it might not be worth going solar under the new requirements. The costs would be burdensome for those who couldn’t afford or lacked the roof space to buy systems that would supply all of their energy needs,” the Times reported on May 8.


     Gibson also left out the up-front costs of solar panels, a hybrid car and even energy-efficient lighting used by Boyer. The Times article estimated solar panels costs $10,000 or more, even with a rebate from California and a federal tax credit.


      But ABC’s hypocrisy was highlighted by (presumably) flying Gibson all the way to San Francisco for the story, which is roughly 0.5 tons of CO2 each way, according to the carbon calculator on – Al Gore’s site. The same page lists the average carbon footprint at 7.5 tons per year, so Gibson’s one round-trip flight alone used roughly 13 percent of the average person’s yearly emissions.


     On May 10, Gibson will be reporting from Seattle, Wash. Similarly, ABC’s “Good Morning America” flew reporters to several continents to report for their “Planet Earth 2007” special on April 20.


     At the end of the segment, Gibson referred viewers to the ABC Web site for links to carbon footprint calculators. The site included the EPA’s own calculator as well as left-wing Environmental Defense, which ABC called simply a “nonprofit organization.”


[Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to Peter Boyer as Peter Boyd. BMI regrets the error.]