Hey Mr. Green,
If global warming is so catastrophic, and so manmade, then why does the Sierra Club engage in such monumental hypocrisy, such as:
1. SIERRA magazine ads for travels. I mean, if we're ordered by the Green Police to "cut back emissions 80% by 2050," even as the world population grows about 40 percent, all discretionary travel is out of the question.
2. Giving patches for climbing 25 peaks and 100 peaks, all of which have to be driven to.
Please stop the AlGorian hypocrisy. --Alan in Irvine, California
I certainly share your concerns about air travel, which now accounts for more than 3 percent of global-warming gas emissions. I also share your skepticism about the woes of senseless driving. May have to hit the Dramamine to combat motion sickness from just thinking about it. Ideally, we might all follow the example of Sierra Club founder John Muir, who hoofed it 1,000 miles from Louisville, Kentucky, to the Gulf Coast, and logged 300 or so on a tramp from San Francisco to Yosemite. But Muir was young then, and had a lot more time on his hands than today's average traveler. And even he had resort to railroads and ships in his efforts to study and protect the natural world.
If you look at the big picture, you might find that travel is not as irresponsible as you think. The Sierra Club has always encouraged people to experience the natural world. This remains an important goal, as expressed in the Club's mission statement: "To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth..." More than 100 years' experience has shown that when people actually get to a place and "explore and enjoy" it, they are more likely to help protect it than if they hadn't encountered it firsthand. Therefore, emissions generated by trips may be a relatively small price to pay for environmental-protection efforts that such excursions can inspire. Moreover, some types of travel, like eco-tourism, can actually protect the natural world.
If you book a trip with Sierra Club Outings, you can calculate the approximate amount of carbon emitted by your travels, and contribute a corresponding sum toward an innovative wind-energy project to offset your emissions.
The Club’s overall efforts—including successfully supporting new fuel-economy standards, opposing coal-fired power plants, and supporting alternative energy—are reducing emissions by thousands of times the amount generated by the travels it promotes.
Regarding air travel in particular, the Club's support for transit developments like California's high-speed rail will result fast, efficient alternatives.
At the local level, Sierra Club chapters have opposed regional airport development for a variety of reasons (short flights consume more energy per passenger mile than long ones). Here are just two examples of successful local Club opposition to airport development.