Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The House that Gore Built

Al Gore wants every one to cut back on their carbon usage. It's easy, he assures us. Gore himself already lives a carbon-neutral lifestyle. Nothing to it. You just switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, buy a hybrid, and pay for a few carbon credits.

How's that working for Al? A group called the Tennessee Center for Policy Research put out a press release showing exactly how Gore actually lives. It seems that his house uses a lot more energy than you would expect. Last year he burned up 221,000 KWHs (up from 19,000) compared with an average of 15,600 for the area. And this isn't even his only house.

Gore's supporters point out that the Tennessee Center for Policy Research is a conservative group and therefore biased against Gore. This is irrelevant if the information is accurate. They also say that you can't expect someone who is rich to live like the rest of us. While this is true, there are a lot of energy-savings technologies available to the rich that the rest of us cannot afford. President Bush has a geo-thermal system at his house in Crawford and uses only 20% as much energy as the average home.

Others insist that Gore's work is so valuable to the world that he should be exempt from the sort of restrictions that the rest of us need to follow. This might be a valid point when talking about his world travels in the service of carbon emissions reduction, it does not give him a free pass at home. Someone who insists that we should all switch to compact fluorescent bulbs should replace the gaslight burning along his driveway. This confusion about public goals and private actions is what put Clinton into an impeachable position.

The big excuse that the Gore people give is that he pays for carbon credits. He pays an additional $400/month surcharge for green energy plus he gives money to other groups to offset his carbon usage.

There is even some question about the groups that he gets his carbon credits from. It appears that he is an officer and investor in the company. Regardless of this, let's assume that they work. This still means that he is buying his way to carbon neutrality.

This gives us a real measure of the man.

In the war against global warming, Al Gore is a chickenhawk. Rather than make changes to his lifestyle, he pays others to do it for him. The problem is that everyone cannot buy credits. Someone must make actual cuts. In order for the cuts to mean something and have enough left over for Gore and the other chickenhawks, most people are going to have to make cuts.

In the brave new world that Al Gore advocates, most of us will be living in conditions worse than our parents but Gore will be unaffected. He and the other rich will continue as they always have. It will just cost a bit more.

As long as Gore is telling the rest of us how important it is to cut carbon emissions, I expect him to live like Ed Begley Jr. Lead by example or shut up.

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