How polluting are we journalists?
It’s a bit of a cheap shot – to ask any of the world leaders at the climate change summit whether they think the 15 car motorcades they drive around in, blocking the streets of Manhattan, send the right message at a summit on global warming.
But of course someone asked it anyway.
One of the American diplomats shot back – maybe it will encourage the UN to invest in some electric cars.
The Americans are by far the worst offenders. They have the longest motorcades with the heaviest vehicles in them and they don’t seem to be in a hurry to replace any of them with electric models anytime soon.
It would be too hard for the secret service to look tough and menacing in an SUV that hummed like a lawnmower. But it’s not just the queues of cars that are polluting the east side of Manhattan.
I spent a lot of my day hanging out by the very long line of satellite trucks parked outside the UN building. All of them running their engine constantly to generate the power needed for all those live broadcasts.
Chocking us with the fumes at the same time. But that’s not the worst of it. Nearly every one of the correspondents, producers, camera operators and editors that are attached to the live broadcast trucks flew in here, with all their heavy equipment, to cover a climate change conference.
And the irony really does seem to be lost on the media.
We are all very quick to criticise the politicians who do the same, quick to bark questions at Al Gore who is on an almost perpetual global journey to warn of the dangers of rising carbon emissions. But we are extremely slow to turn the same spotlight of hierocracy on ourselves.
Our Channel 4 news team only had to travel to from Washington DC to get to New York so our short one hour flight won’t be the worst offender among the press corps – but is that really an excuse?
Like Al Gore every one of us would argue we have to be here to draw attention to the problem and scrutinise the world leaders who claim to be doing their best to arrest rising world temperatures.
But there are an awful lot of journalists here, an awful lot, and we may all need to start asking questions of each other as well as our leaders.