In March 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist took a 45-minute flight on a state-owned Cessna Citation Bravo from Tallahassee to Bradenton, where he congratulated a school district for buying hybrid-electric buses.
"We cannot afford to ignore that carbon emissions are contributing to global climate change that may put Florida's residents and 1,200 miles of coastline at risk," Crist said that day.
Though Crist has promoted policies to curb global warming, his own air travel has left a considerable carbon footprint. The governor has flown extensively on state and private planes since he took office two years ago.
Crist's flights on the Cessna alone — 270 through the end of last year — emitted about 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, the Sun Sentinel found. The calculation is based on total miles flown, fuel consumption and federal carbon-emissions data. The average person in the United States, by contrast, accounts for 20,750 pounds a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Governors, of course, are not average citizens. As leader of a sprawling state, Crist needs to travel long distances quickly, with security. But the governor has also taken planes on short hops with a flying time under a half-hour and jetted from city to city to sign the same bill in different media markets.
"He wants to be out and going around the state, meeting people," said Susan Glickman, southern regional director for The Climate Group