Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Talking shop: Life's a gas for high flying politicians

There has never been any doubt that our new Executive Ministers are high fliers - and now they are proving it.

Last week saw Economy Minister Nigel Dodds heading for the US, while Sir Reg Empey, the Employment Minister, jetted off to India.

The Executive's influence, it seems, stretches as far as the east is from the west and the flesh-pressing which went on must have been awesome.

Just a pity they happened to miss most of Invest NI's Enterprise Week, but even Executive Ministers find it hard to be in two places at the same time.

Still, all good work in promoting the Northern Ireland cause and no doubt a rich harvest will be reaped in the months and years to come.

But there is a cost to be borne for all this jet-setting, and not just in terms of Ministers and their entourages trying to get over the dreaded jet lag.

As we are constantly being told by the environmentalists, there is a price to pay in terms of global warming.

And you can calculate it all for yourself courtesy of the very nifty climatecare.org website.

All you need to do is to enter details of your flight and bingo, back comes the cost in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.

But Talking Shop knows that Messrs Dodds and Empey are busy people, so it has decided to save them the bother.

And here are the results. Dodds' trip to New York, Washington, Boston and Toronto resulted in the emission of 1.93 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which would cost £14.45 to offset.

The Empey excursion to New Delhi was slightly more costly - 1.98 tonnes of carbon dioxide at an offset cost of £14.82. And both figures are per person.

By the time the back-up teams are counted in, it would come to a fair amount. Money well spent, of course, and anyway can't we just stick it on to the water charges?

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