Britain’s The Independent has got into the spirit of bashing celebrities for their ungreen antics …

Liz Hurley’s long-haul wedding has produced a carbon footprint so large that it would take the average British couple more than 10 years to contribute as much to heating up the planet as she and Arun Nayar have done in little over a week. It would take a typical Indian couple a massive 123 years.

According to an Oxford-based footprinting consultancy, Hurley’s celebrations will result in the release of around 200 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions really do mount when you charter Learjets. Only the bridal party flew by chartered jet from the Cotswalds to Mumbai — everyone else had to go commercial. But there were seven Learjets to ferry important guests from Mumbai to Jodhpur. And then Elton John did fly his personal helicopter to Gloucestershire (sort of rhymes with Worcestershire). And the flowers and caterers were flown in too. It all adds up, I guess.

I’m not a big fan of Al Gore, but I was among those who reacted negatively when false accusations against the former VP picked up from USA Today were dragged into this forum. But I confess I’m warming to the idea of the press focusing more attention on celebrities, politicos, and every-day billionaires when their unnecessary carbon excesses reach the truly grotesque.

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Two hundred tonnes of carbon for one celebrity wedding may be extraordinarily wasteful, and publicizing this may help shift public awareness toward a greater acceptance of needed measures like a carbon tax, but we also need some perspective. Peat and forest fires in Indonesia, where I live, are responsible for an estimated 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, according to a Wetlands International report cited on, and may have exceeded 2.5 billion tonnes during the extreme El Nino year of 1997. See also this report in National Geographic. The U.S., the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is responsible for 7-8 billion tonnes every year.

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