You may have read the news that Austin has been selected as the location for Formula One Racing in the U.S. A brand new 3+ mile Formula One Racetrack will be built probably somewhere near the airport that will seat 100,000+ fans. I’m thrilled about F1 coming to Austin, but I have one simple question:
What’s the carbon footprint of F1 going to be, and what does it do to Austin’s fanatical desire to be viewed as a progressive green city on the forefront of emissions reduction and alternative energy policy?
Am I the only one seeing the irony in this?
I mean, we’re being forced to get Energy Audits on our 10+ year old homes before selling, we’ve built this incredibly expensive and useless rail line to Leander, we have these little Go-Cars running around town that I still don’t fully understand, we’re trying to convert the entire City Fleet of vehicles to alternative fuel, and you’re not allowed to chop a tree on your own property without permission from your city government. If that’s not enough, we have the most generous green energy rebates in the country for upgrading your HVAC system, replacing old appliances, adding solar screen, insulation, weather striping, etc, etc, etc.
In short, Austin, (Boulder notwithstanding) has to be the most incredibly hypersensitive, wannabe-progressive, eco-nut city in the U.S.. That’s who we are and that’s ok. Part of it is to puff the political pride of our glorious political leaders, and part of it is in fact well intended and justifiable concern about energy consumption, and the desire to avoid building another coal burning power plant as Austin expands over the coming decades.
But that being the case, what are the real gains of these formal efforts in terms of carbon footprint and energy consumption reduction, and how much of those gains will be completely erased by a decade of Formula One Racing in Austin, and its accompanying carbon footprint?