What is the Carbon Footprint of McCain's Countless Homes?

I'd estimate it's about 150 tons of carbon dioxide, some 10 times that of the average American. But someone should ask Senator McCain. After all, he says he wants to require all Americans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 60 percent to 70 percent by 2050.

As probably the whole country knows by now, John McCain does not know how many homes he owns. But the number seems to be between seven and 12, depending on whether you count his Sedona ranch as one house or six.

Given how conservatives beat up Vice President Gore for the supposed energy excesses of his one Nashville home, I can't wait until they start running TV ads attacking McCain's climate hypocrisy. [Note to self: Don't hold your breath.] After all, McCain fashions himself as a leader on global warming, just like Gore, but his combined homes have a considerably larger square footage than Gore's -- and thus presumably a much larger energy use. That said, the energy use of McCain's homes is infinitely less relevant than their greenhouse gas emissions (see "GOP Attack on Gore Makes No Sense At All").

So what is the carbon footprint of McCain's countless homes? Here is a rough estimate.According to press reports, just one of McCain's homes, his $4.66 million condo in Phoenix, is about 7000 square feet, which is three times the size of the average American home built last year. His $850,000 Virginia condo is another 2,100 square feet. Given a total estimated value of McCain's homes of $14 million, one can make a very rough estimate that McCain has 10 times the carbon footprint of the average American home, which is about 15 tons of CO2.

The rich are different from the rest of us. They pollute a lot more.

Now I seriously doubt that McCain is purchasing 100 percent renewable power, using state-of-the-art energy efficiency, including a geothermal heat pump, to all but eliminate his carbon footprint, as Gore is (see "Gore greens his Tennessee home"). After all, he doesn't believe such technologies work (see The real, Luddite McCain: "The truly clean technologies don't work").

So for now I'll stick with 150 tons of carbon dioxide for the carbon footprint of his homes, which are listed here (from the NYT):


Their ranch in Sedona, Ariz., where Mr. McCain is spending some down time this weekend, and its guest house and parcels, is valued at $1,766,440. (An Architectural Digest spread a few years back offers a glimpse.)
In Phoenix, two adjacent condos with a price tag of $4.7 million in 2006.
In Scottsdale, Mrs. McCain also owns the Princess Medical Center, valued at $14 million, but this is not a residential property.
In Coronado, Calif., a condominium owned by Mrs. McCain's "Dream Catcher Family" corporation is valued, according to recent tax assessments, at $2.7 million. And records show another condo there as well.
In La Jolla, Calif., Mrs. McCain's trust owns another condo.
The couple also have a home in Arlington, Va., another condominium valued at $847,800 this year, according to public records.

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