Republican think tank blasts Al Gore over his electric bill.

Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar the other night so you just know the Neo Conservatives are going to be digging around for something to discredit both it and him. The best they could come up with, however, was to get hold of Al’s electric bill where they noticed he was using a lot of electricity:

A day after receiving Oscar glory for a documentary on global warming, former Vice President Al Gore was called a hypocrite by a Tennessee group saying his Belle Meade home is using too much energy.

The home’s average month electric bill topped $1,359, according to the group.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk (the) walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

That does seem like a lot of money spent on electricity by someone who’s a champion of environmentalism. There’s just one little problem with this stunning revelation:

Electric bills obtained by The Tennessean, however, showed that Gore is paying a premium on his bills to be part of the “green power” program. Gore purchased 108 blocks of “green power” for at least each of the last three months, according to a summary of bills from Nashville Electric Service.

That’s a total of $432 a month spent to pay extra for solar or other renewable energy sources. NES power – outside this program – is derived largely from coal, which emits carbon, a green house gas.

The green power purchased by Gore in those three months is equivalent to recycling 2.48 million aluminum cans, or recycling 286,092 pounds of newspaper, according to comparison figures on the utility’s Web site.

Oops.

The article goes on to state that the Gore’s make use of compact fluorescent bulbs in their lamps, drive a hybrid SUV, and are in the middle of renovating their 10,000 square foot home to make it even more green by installing things such as solar panels. Seems like Gore is walking the walk and the Tennessee Center for Policy Research should do a bit more research before jumping up and down calling Gore a hypocrite.

88 thoughts on “Republican think tank blasts Al Gore over his electric bill.

  1. I’m pleased Al covered his arse.
    KPG predicted that after the Oscars Al’d come out and say he’s gonna make another run for POTUS.
    As much as I like the idea of a woman president, Hilary, although there are most likely NO skeletons left in her closet, just doesn’t do it for me.
    She’s far too willing to accommodate fuckwits and their proposals and she doesn’t show any sign of balls unlike Golda Meir, the original Iron Lady, who Ben-Gurion once described as “the only man in the Cabinet”.

  2. Colbert covered this story last night.  Too bad he didn’t further report on the truth of Gore’s purchasing green energy.  Instead he mocked the think tank that reported the energy bills by claiming to have formed his own that roots through Gore’s trash.  The bit was pretty funny, I just wish they had mentioned that second bit, because now most people who saw it are gonna probably just accept the first part.

  3. Article: Seems like Gore is walking the walk

    A rare thing in politics, David Cameron, head of UK conservative party cycles to work and takes credit for it, but his shoes and case go by car:

    http://www.velovision.co.uk/forum/read.php?f=1&i=2391&t=2391

    When a politition really does live up to his word, it seems petty to try to discredit him for something that they know can be unfairly miscontrued

  4. Even if Gore wasn’t installing the solar panels, and using fluorescent tubes, he still has done more to battle Global Warming than most people ever contemplate doing.  The awareness he has raised, and research he has funded and reported will have a lasting impact.  He is no were near being a hypocrite.

  5. If he were gobbling electricity like there was no tomorrow, then he would be a hypocrite in the style of all who preach one thing, and practice another. The fact that he is paying more for green power, reverses that polarity.

    When I look at conservative resistance to the urgency of global climate change, I am reminded of that line in I Robot where all hell is breaking loose, and Will Smith says; “Somehow, I told you so just doesn’t say it!”  Our planet is headed for a moment like that.

  6. I sort of wonder about somebody who preaches about energy conservation and has a 10,000 square foot house.  That is more than enough space for at least 5 normal sized homes.

  7. That is more than enough space for at least 5 normal sized homes.

    Not only is normal a relative term, even though I would tend to agree with you here, we also do not know where this 10,000 sq feet comes from.  Al could have an attached greenhouse or something of the sort that is being included in this report.  And I don’t live next to him to give any first hand account…

  8. OK, the size of four or five average sized US homes.

    According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,330 square feet in 2004, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970.

  9. Well, we know Fat Albert is not peddling to work.  No.  He flies in big gas guzzling airplanes to promote energy conservation and rides to the Oscars, an event of no substance consuming an untold number of kilowatt hours, in big gas guzzling cars.  Good thing he is able to absolve his conscience by buying “indulgences.” 

    Funny thing about all this buying of “indulgences” by the greens-it favors the rich.  If you are poor and can’t afford the “indulgences” then you must get out your bicycle.  So most of you all need to learn the words now:

    Bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle
    I want to ride my bike
    I want to ride my bicycle

  10. Consi: you are right about the Oscars and I won’t argue with you there.  But about everything else… His vehicle is a hybrid SUV.  While it is still a piss poor decision to drive an SUV, it is a hybrid which helps some.

    He also spends more on offsetting his emissions of plane flights, taxi services, and other emitting items than most Conservatives will do in their life time.

    If you are poor and can’t afford the “indulgences” then you must get out your bicycle.

    Not completely true.  There are plenty of green indulgences people can partake in.  But it certainly is easier if you rich.

  11. He also spends more on offsetting his emissions of plane flights, taxi services, and other emitting items than most Conservatives will do in their life time.

    Conservatives have nothing to do with Fat Albert’s energy consumption.  It is an irrelevant attempt to change the topic.

    Staying focused on the topic at hand, the point was, is, and remains: Fat Albert is nothing more than the rich Catholic of old.  He preaches a gospel he doesn’t have to adhere.  He genuflects to the principles of conservation and then engages in a greedy grab of limited energy resources to the detriment of the rest of the world.  His response to his greed is to simply toss some gold in the offetory basket. 

    The most remarkable thing is that the congregation of the Church of Green applauds and blesses him saying that his sins have been forgiven.  I don’t think tossing gold in the basket for one’s sins deserves an “Amen Amen I say to you.” It is certainly not your response to the Catholic of old.

    If the Church of Green is to be taken serious on its gospel of conservation then the same standards must apply to all-rich and poor alike.

  12. My point was simply that what he emits into the atmosphere he offsets.  While you may see this as a negative because limited resources are still being used, there are plenty of others that do more wasteful activities than Al and do no offsetting.  Nascar, people who drive large SUVs and trucks to go shopping at the mall, and many others.

    So I see your complaint and understand your point, but it is pointless since there are plenty of other causes to go after and attack.

  13. It would be useless if “Fat Al” were saying, Ralph Nader – style, “Everyone has to live a life of privation”.  Privation has never sold well in a rich society.  If there is no way for rich people to live a rich lifestyle, you can forget about conservation ever becoming a reality.  Offsetting the damage is not tossing gold in the collection plate to expiate an offended diety, it is restoration. 

    Applying the creative capitalistic imagination to environmental sustainability is a new idea.  It is far more likely to succeed where hippie-style environmentalism has not.

  14. I think Al Gore is a sanctimonius bastard but I don’t think he’s a hypocrite. Maybe I’ve misread the guy completely (and I haven’t seen his movie) but I’ve always gotten the impression that Al wants to curtail wasted energy use, not get us to radically alter our lifestyles. Use more efficient bulbs, shut down things we aren’t using, that sort of stuff.

    And getting all over him for using a private plane is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but Al Gore just can’t fly commercial. Even setting aside normal privacy concerns, Al is too big a security risk. Not only for himself but for everyone around him.

  15. My point was simply that what he emits into the atmosphere he offsets.

    Doubt it.  Not in full anyway and for the last 3 months.  Nice.

    More importantly Webs, this is about hypocrisy.  Gore talks and talks about a carbon-neutral lifestyle.  He doesn’t come close to living a carbon neutral lifestyle.  Most of us don’t travel in mongo jets to and fro across the earth.  We don’t travel in SUVs and limos with an entourage.  We don’t have 3 houses that are all consuming all the time at rates far above the average household.  We don’t have mining operations polluting the streams. And we don’t go preaching to our neighbors about the speck of dust in their eye when we have a huge hunk of redwood in our own eye.

    I’m not against efforts to green it up.  I am against efforts to refuse to call Gore the hypocrite that he is.

  16. LJ: KPG predicted that after the Oscars Al’d come out and say he’s gonna make another run for POTUS.

    I’m standing by that prediction, LJ, with one caveat. I think he’s going to wait until the other contenders beat the shit out of each other before he jumps in.

  17. Oh shit everyone… the argument is over.  DING DING DING!!!  That is one hell of a link you got there…

    Oh wait..  if only it wasn’t spewing the same bullshit that was pointed out by Les in this post.  you apparently failed to read what I wrote and what DOF wrote.

    I understand the hypocrisy you are trying to point out, but what you fail to see is that being able to offset emissions is necessary for the rich.  If Al had to do it your way, where he couldn’t offset emissions, how would he get around the world to share his info on global warming?

  18. Consi: it favors the rich

    Geez Consi, you had a bit of a spaz attack over Bert.
    I suppose we should assume you don’t like him much and it has nothing to do with his stance on global warming and everything to do with the fact he stood against your favourite POTUS.
    It could even have a bit to do with the fact your shrub was forced to use underhanded tactics to make sure Al didn’t get the job promised to the shrub by Dog.

    Here’s Al having a go at doing the right thing and raising people’s awareness.
    He hasn’t started a war and killed anyone in … aaahh, oh, about six and a half years and you going all mental on him.
    Man, reading your vitriol I thought Anne Coulter had come to town.

    On the other hand we have a shrub lying about Weapons of Mass Distraction and why y’all had to take on the Arabs … and just not generally having a clue about the law of cause and effect.

    And the Iowa Voice piece you pointed at seems to me to about as right-wing blind as anything I’ve seen.
    I’d love to read a piece they did about shrub – they’d come out with so much schmaltz it’d make most thinking people vomit.

    Coming back to

    Consi: it favors the rich

    That is the biggest load of frog shit I’ve heard from you in a long time.
    I’ve had a few reminders about ‘green energy’. I did a calculation a few months ago that it’d cost about 15>25% more in my electric costs. I’m poor but I can handle that. I’ll change over this arvo or tomorrow.
    I did a quick measure of my flat – 425 sq feet. Plenty big enough for me – I’m not wasting room and it’s the best I can afford.
    My car is a 3cyl 989cc Daihatsu; extremely economical and it’s the best I can afford. I walk where I can.
    Today is shopping day and instead of buying $40 of meat I’ll buy less than $20 but more fruit and vegetable as they’re cheaper to produce than meat but I’ll be driving.
    Al raised my awareness just a bit and I’m having a go at helping to save the planet.
    But according to you because Al is from the left everyone should ignore him and everything he says.
    For some silly reason I got you mixed up with someone smarter than that.
    Global warming isn’t a left or right thing – much like your god it doesn’t respect politics.

    His response to his greed is to simply toss some gold in the offertory basket.

    Even if this was all he was doing he’s nothing like the Catholics of old who preached paradise was the place every good catholic would go to.
    Albert’s talking about saving what we have here … and now.
    By the way, is anyone on the right attempting to confront reality or are they all rapture ready?  LOL

  19. I usually take my car to work, but whenever I run errands around town I always try to bike it (unless there is a torrential downpour or something). Not only is it better for the planet, it’s also better for me and it’s more enjoyable than driving.

  20. I’m sorry, Consigliere, but having lived in this country my whole life, I can no longer hear a conservative use the word “hypocrite” without breaking out in laughter. 
      So by your logic, anyone who dares address the ills of modern living has to use a horse and cart to spread the word?  Anyone who dares to care about the poor or the environment can no longer enjoy any of the wealth they have earned or inherited?  When was the last time you saw anyone actually taking a homeless street preacher seriously?  I can only assume you’ve never called yourself a Christian, since you haven’t sold your computer to give alms.       
      Speaking of hypocrisy, where’s that smaller government and preservation of individual liberty that conservatives have been talking about since WWII?  Oh yeah, they’re all to busy using my tax money to make themselves billionaires by murdering the citizens of other countries while pissing all over the Constitution that establishes those liberties in the first place!  For all his so-called hypocrisy, at least Al has actually done a thing or two in his life that could benefit someone other than himself.

  21. KPatrickGlover: Al is too big a security risk. Not only for himself but for everyone around him.

    That’s no small point, and no small counterpoint to this, either:

    C

    onsigliere: We don’t travel in SUVs and limos with an entourage.

    And “Fat Albert”? Mr. Poopyhead? Tantrum much? What a waste of brain power.

    As for the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, you’ll have to overlook the mistakes for the time being: The police are busy arresting each other, and the politicians are currently trying to make bail. It’s all just so hectic… I’m sure it was an honest mistake.

    wink

  22. Not only is normal a relative term, even though I would tend to agree with you here, we also do not know where this 10,000 sq feet comes from.

    Funny how the right always protects the rich’s right to be rich (hey they EARNED it), but if a liberal is rich, it becomes hypocrisy.

    Big house? Energy bills? Uh, yes? A politico (and in many ways he still is, for good reasons) NEEDS to work people, whether he’s left or right, and that includes hosting dinner parties and having friends and acquaintances over.

    I also like the fact that people like Consi claim that a liberal should do his PR (he’s advancing a cause, last time I looked that was okay in a democracy) on a shoestring budget, and travel to the Oscars on a bicycle. Oh, and please don’t fly when attending meetings on global warming, take the train (even if its in Europe or South Africa, just take your godamn eco-friendly travel method – sail a boat there, or whatever).

    Seems like someone who is doing SOMETHING against global warming is a hypocrite, and those who just burn their bridges behind them are the true patriots. Sounds familar? Yep, because its the sound of the right-wing hatchet jobbers at work.

  23. Yea, and it’s funny how right wingers are crying about the size of his house, when we now know that he and his wife both do business out of it.  The both have separate offices and Gore has a Guest House.

    So all the right wing crying about Gore is all bullshit just as usual.  I am surprised at all.  NOPE!

  24. Yawn.  It’s an ad hominem attack to distract from the real issue that the right wing belief tanks (I won’t dignify them with the term “think”.) have pitched their camp in quicksand.  Again.

    Actually, I welcome this kind of nonsense because it makes the anti-science crowd look all the more ridiculous.  Rhetorically, it’s one step up from sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “Lalalalalalalalala—I can’t hear you!—lalalalalalalalalalala—need more study!—lalalalalalalalalalala—you can’t prove it’s caused by humans—lalalalalalalalalala!” 

    I’m not a big fan of Gore m’self.  But he could be the biggest hypocrite in history, and it wouldn’t change the science for JACK$#!+.  And THAT’s the real issue.  Just like anyone getting their undies in a twist about Dawkins’ “child abuse” remark can’t change the fact that Adam and Eve didn’t have brontoburgers for dinner.  Put as many bullets in the messenger as you like:  It doesn’t change SQUAT, except that you’re down that many bullets.

  25. I also like the fact that people like Consi claim that a liberal should do his PR (he’s advancing a cause, last time I looked that was okay in a democracy) on a shoestring budget, and travel to the Oscars on a bicycle

    I never made any such claim.  As near as I can tell, and this is but speculation on my part, is only your bias impacting distorting what you read.  Not unusual here.

  26. The second sentence should read:

    As near as I can tell, and this is but speculation on my part, it is only your bias impacting and distorting what you read.

  27. Con: As near as I can tell, and this is but speculation on my part, is only your bias impacting distorting what you read.

    Next you’ll be telling us you’re unbiased … always in everyway.

    Scam: And we don’t go preaching to our neighbors about the speck of dust in their eye when we have a huge hunk of redwood in our own eye.

    (in a Welsh accent) No. No mentally blind conservative would ever think of preaching.
    (and in an Oz accent) No fucking way, hose.

    DoF, thanks for that link.
    Bottom line is if you’re a highly-visible wealthy democrat in the US you’re damned if you do and so on.
    I went on AGL‘s site this AM and found that for the average home it’d cost about $90 per quarter to ‘go green’ – I called them and according to my last 3 bills it woulda cost me $65 per quarter or 2 x 6-packs a month.
    I’ll go on-line tomorrow and put it all into practice.
    Why am I doing it? Cos I think it’s the right thing for me to do.
    What anyone else does is not my concern BUT I will be telling people what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
    One never knows; I may influence someone to do as little as I.

    And Consi; you just continue putting shit on anyone who goes against the planet-fuckers.
    Like most people on the left, I don’t mind being called a hypocrite – it’s better than being one.

  28. Consi said:

    Well, we know Fat Albert is not peddling to work.  No.  He flies in big gas guzzling airplanes to promote energy conservation and rides to the Oscars, an event of no substance consuming an untold number of kilowatt hours, in big gas guzzling cars.  Good thing he is able to absolve his conscience by buying “indulgences.”

    1) Direct attack on his mode of transport to the Oscars (Airplane – So, eh? What other way, then?)

    2) Direct attack on his using the Oscars to promote his agenda (which they do very well)

    3) ANOTHER direct attack on another his mode of transport. Should he drive a Prius? Maybe – but one can assume that the car was only rented anyway – should he cycle up to the red carpet?

    When I called him on the above, Consi said:

    I never made any such claim.

    In the words of the famous Tui-Beer advert:

    Yeah, right.

  29. Ingolfson this is what you actually said when “called me” out:

    I also like the fact that people like Consi claim that a liberal should do his PR (he’s advancing a cause, last time I looked that was okay in a democracy) on a shoestring budget

    As my writings above, and the ones you quoted make quite clear, I made no statements that were to be generalized to any other liberal other than the one specified.  My statements were specifically limited to one man-Al Gore.  They were made for a specific reason and to point out the contradiction in lifestyles that he encourages versus that in which he engages. Yet, you have choosen to specifically ignore the context of my remarks and how they were limited.  This again suggest to me, that a reading problem does exist.

  30. LuckyJohn: Like most people on the left, I don’t mind being called a hypocrite – it’s better than being one.

    Hear, hear- what more is to be said?

  31. I haven’t had time to verify it, but I heard that Gore’s electricity bills are high because he heats his house using electric heaters instead of gas heaters.  Since he’s using green electrical sources, this amounts to emiting less carbon (although paying more for it) than if he used gas heating.

    If anyone can prove or disprove this, please post a link.

  32. They were made for a specific reason and to point out the contradiction in lifestyles that he encourages versus that in which he engages. Yet, you have choosen to specifically ignore the context of my remarks and how they were limited.  This again suggest to me, that a reading problem does exist.

    You criticise Gore’s “lifestyle” (when “work” might be more appropriate anyway) with those comments I specifically quoted. You made claims and especially judgements about them which I dispute.

    You also attack along the same lines as other conservatives attack liberals (by slandering them as hypocrites when they are not, or by calling into doubt their achievements as not good enough, when your own side has even less to point to).

    Therefore I feel that I can certainly put you in the same box in my head. You obviously don’t feel happy in there, but that is your worry, not mine.

  33. Aw, come on Ing. Don’t be so tuff on my best mate, Consi.
    You couldn’t call conservatives like Shrub, Cheney or Rumsfeld hypocrites; cynical Jesus-humping, delusional, stupid, ultra- naïve, sleazy, pre-emptive striking, thieving, lying Cunts maybe, but never hypocrites … but that’s just off the tip of my tongue – I’m not very familiar with US politics.  wink

  34. LJ: I’m curious about your sig quote. Where does it come from? Doesn’t sound like King at all. For one thing, King is a Christian, unless he’s changed a lot in the last couple of years.

  35. Therefore I feel that I can certainly put you in the same box in my head. You obviously don’t feel happy in there, but that is your worry, not mine.

    I hate to break it to you, but that voice in your head, it ain’t me pard. I’m beginning to wonder what the individual and composite scores for the MMPI would be if administered across the board here.  Interesting stuff I would guess.

  36. “Stephen King: The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance…logic can be happily tossed out the window.”
    I thought I’d better write it down cos I’m just as likely to change it within a month, week or day.

    KPG, I was cruising gods4suckers yesterday – I’m fairly sure it came from there.
    Then again, I recall I was cruising other places too so who knows.
    I wasn’t aware King (being an Australian where people don’t wear their religion on their sleeves one’s religion is still not big on my psychic radar – most often we don’t know they exist) was a xian but the quote was attributed to him where ever it was I found it.
    Anyway, I like the sentiment.
    I just Googled “logic can be happily tossed out the window” and found it was attributed to Stephen King here, here, here and here.
    Of course I haven’t looked at UrbanMyths yet and I can’t be bothered anyway although I did find this: “While I believe in God, I have no use for organized religion.” … which confuses me as much as it did you.
    With the power he has and if the alleged quote was not his, I’m sure I’d have found some sort of denial from him but I didn’t.
    He gave up his mind-altering drugs “in the late 1980s” probably with the help of AA &or NA which expects the ‘sufferer’ to believe in a higher power.
    On available evidence I reckon he said it … but maybe a few years ago.
    Thanks for sending me on that nice little trip; I enjoyed myself.  smile

  37. Speaking of Stephen King, I personally think he has presented himself as a pompous ass in recent years, and his books have always tended to be hit-or-miss with me. Some of them I enjoyed greatly, while others were pure garbage. His major work that made the greatest impression on me was “Bag of Bones” (which would not really classify as a horror novel), while interestingly enough, what is widely considered to be his greatest work—“The Shining”—didn’t do much for me. Altogether, I enjoy his short story collections the best. I was never cognizant of his religious beliefs, although I always seemed to pick up a sort of quasi-religious bent in much of his works.

    LuckyJohn, regarding your current signature: “I’ve written a letter to Daddy.”  wink

  38. On the subject of King, I must admit to being a huge fan. While his subject matter may not always appeal to me (and with that big a body or work that’s only to be expected), his writing style is so engaging and his characters so interesting that I always enjoy the ride.

    Although there’s definitely a dividing line and on the subject I disagree with most of his fans. I have seen posted over and over that King’s early work is incredible and everything from the last decade or so is crap, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The actuality is that somewhere in the nineties King went from being an excellent horror writer to being an excellent writer who happens to deal with the supernatural.

    Most of his best work is from the last 15 years. Bag of Bones, Hearts In Atlantis, Lisey’s Story, Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, even Dreamcatcher was incredible.

    LJ – I recommend you try his autobiography, On Writing, I think you’d really enjoy it.

    As for the Christian thing, The Stand is as much biblical allegory as C.S. Lewis’ work. It was reading that book that made me come to the conclusion that he was a Christian, although I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him actually say it as well.

  39. Yeah Sadie, his books don’t do much for me either – I have a tough enough time dealing with my own reality without entering someone else’s bent horror fantasy.

    Re the ‘pompous ass’ … I’ve seen a coupla interviews about him and it may well have been the same interview on two different occasions LOL and he seemed like a lot of people who got ultra-rich and have no idea why but I’d better play the part of someone who had a plan or knows what the fuck’s going on or … or maybe I was just watching the facets that interested me … maybe the filter was working.  wink
    Then again, and rather conveniently too … Stephen King: You cannot condemn a man for what may only be a figment of your own imagination. 

    Re the sig: I had to Goog to make sure I’ve written came from whatever. wink

    My personal favourite Bette said about someone else, and which could well have been said by Dotty Parker also, was “She’s the original good time that was had by all.”

    KPG: I’ll put it on my list.  smile
    I’m currently half thru Captain Alatriste (which I’m glad I Googled – seems like he’s gonna be a series) – Arturo Pérez-Reverte which flows along well in 1620s Spain.
    I’ve read all his translated books – the first one The Fencing Master (his 2nd) captured the essence of the author’s ability.

  40. From The Economist:

    Some of this response seems flatly silly. The electricity usage is what Mr Gore consumes after things like solar panels and CFLs are taken into account; it’s hardly comforting that he could be emitting even more carbon, since that is true of almost all of us, yet has not stopped Mr Gore from hectoring us to reduce our carbon output still further.  Similarly, I find it hard to believe that Mr Gore has actually reduced his carbon output “as much as possible”—and if Mr Gore so believes, I invite him to take a train up to New York, where I will show him what a more carbon efficient lifestyle looks like.

    The carbon offsets, on the other hand, sound like a very reasonable plan.  That is, they did until I began thinking about them.

    Most carbon offsets seem to work on one of a few principles:  they plant trees, invest in renewable energy sources, or pay someone in a developing country to use some less-polluting technology, like a CFL.

    It turns out that a lot of websites have already devoted quite a lot of space to discussing why these plans don’t work particularly well.  Calculating one’s carbon output, and the carbon savings from various offsets, is very tricky and may be manipulated by unscrupulous offset firms.  Trees take quite a long time to get to the stage where they are actually absorbing all that carbon—and tend to die shortly thereafter,  releasing all that carbon back into the atmosphere, there to wreak havoc.  By legitimating carbon usage, offset companies may actually be increasing it.

    But surprisingly few make what, to me, seems like a more basic point:  energy is a tradable market good.  It is not as if there is some fixed demand for energy, so that by using less carbon-emitting energy, you actually decrease the amount of carbon emitted.

    This is, of course, ridiculous.  When you donate money to build a new windfarm, you don’t take any of the old, polluting power offline; you increase the supply of power, reducing the price until others are encouraged to buy more carbon-emitting power.  On the margin, it may make some difference, since demand for electricity is not perfectly elastic, but nowhere near the one-for-one equivalence that carbon offsets would seem to suggest.  Especially since the worst offenders, big coal-fired plants, are not the ones that renewables will substitute for; solar and wind power are not good replacements for baseload power.  Instead, renewables are likely to take relatively clean (and expensive) natural gas plants offline, since those are the ones that provide “extra” power to the system. Similarly, by giving villagers in Goa energy-saving CFL bulbs, you do not lessen the amount of electricity consumed; rather, you make it possible for other people to purchase the extra energy freed up by more efficient lightbulbs.

    http://www.economist.com/debate/freeexchange/2007/02/the_oscar_win_for_al.cfm

  41. Even an Aussie can understand it:

    And so we get to Gore’s final excuse—the get-out-of-jail card of so many of our warming prophets of doom, from Alarmist of the Year Tim Flannery to that Jeremiah of the airport lounge, David Suzuki: Gore buys carbon offsets.

    That actually means he pays other folk to use less dirty power themselves, or take out the carbon dioxide he pumps out. It’s a bit like paying someone to starve so you can gorge.

    But there are at least four problems with such offsets, the first of which is very particular to Gore. And that is Gore buys his offsets through Generation Investment Management, whose chairman is . . . Al Gore.

    What’s more, GIM’s business is not to itself remove carbon from the air, but, it says, to “buy high quality companies at attractive prices that will deliver superior long-term investment returns”.

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,,21309812-5006029,00.html

    So Gore buys his offsets through a company that he is chairman of which, by the way, doesn’t even sell offsets.  Nice.

  42. The name of the “green” companies GIM has invested in by buying shares:

    AFLAC INC               COM         001055102   13315   290036 SH     SOLE             237036     0   53000
    AQUANTIVE INC             COM         03839G105   4615   187533 SH     SOLE             153313     0   34220
    AUTODESK INC             COM         052769106   12712   314813 SH     SOLE             257343     0   57470
    BECTON DICKINSON & CO       COM         075887109   13785   196951 SH     SOLE             161408     0   35543
    BLACKBAUD INC             COM         09227Q100   4765   183627 SH     SOLE             150019     0   33608
    GENERAL ELECTRIC CO         COM         369604103   19565   526856 SH     SOLE             430381     0   96475
    GREENHILL & CO INC         COM         395259104   9473   128623 SH     SOLE             105253     0   23370
    JOHNSON CTLS INC           COM         478366107   13711   159939 SH     SOLE             130989     0   28950
    LABORATORY CORP AMER HLDGS   COM NEW       50540R409   9935   135500 SH     SOLE             110800     0   24700
    METABOLIX INC             COM         591018809   5209   275000 SH     SOLE             275000     0     0
    NORTHERN TR CORP           COM         665859104   14333   236657 SH     SOLE             193447     0   43210
    NUVEEN INVTS INC           CL A         67090F106   7389   142700 SH     SOLE             115400     0   27300
    STAPLES INC             COM         855030102   11921   447410 SH     SOLE             365810     0   81600
    SYSCO CORP               COM         871829107   11085   302161 SH     SOLE             246991     0   55170
    TECHNE CORP             COM         878377100   22309   403067 SH     SOLE             329267     0   73800
    UBS AG                 SHS NEW       H89231338   14079   232566 SH     SOLE             190186     0   42380
    VCA ANTECH INC           COM         918194101   4858   151267 SH     SOLE             123927     0   27340
    WATERS CORP             COM         941848103   8875   181600 SH     SOLE             148400     0   33200
    WHOLE FOODS MKT INC         COM         966837106   4427   94522 SH     SOLE             77242     0   17280

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1375534/000117266107000053/0001172661-07-000053.txt

    Green indeed.

  43. One has to wonder where exactly these carbon offsets come from if not from GIM.  It appears that GIM is buying carbon offsets for Gore and its employees from Carbon Neutral.

    Here is what is being said about Carbon Neutral:

    London Rising Tide activists say offsetting, which sees firms pay for emissions cuts elsewhere rather than curbing their own emissions, is a scam.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6382253.stm

    Pauline Buchanan Black, of the Tree Council, an umbrella group of 150 organisations, which often acts as a government adviser, said: “Members say they have been approached for the sale of carbon rights which is different to planting trees and sometimes those trees have been planted with resources from other sources. On their website they talk of planting trees and say they have helped to plant over 90 forests. Our members are very concerned that they are not planting trees.”

    She added: “It is not practical for people to investigate the chapter and verse of where their money goes so I understand why they have decided to give to Future Forests. But I think it is unfortunate that they don’t go with a not-for-profit organisation rather than a private, for-profit company.”

    Other campaigners are concerned about the idea that emissions of carbon can be offset by tree planting. Bryony Worthington, a climate change campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “We don’t think it is an adequate response to climate change to encourage tree planting. What Future Forests offer is a way of calculating emissions which is useful but then they say you can salve your conscience and have a carbon neutral lifestyle by planting trees. We have an objection in principle to the whole concept.”

    http://www.off-grid.net/index.php?p=365

  44. The first article makes clear that Carbon Neutral is the successor company to Future Forests.

  45. So with all this childish diatribe am I correct in assuming ??
    1. You don’t subscibe to the theory of global warming.
    2. You’re carrying on as per normal.

    My mate: It’s a bit like paying someone to starve so you can gorge.

    So what. It’s better than … what’s the alternative again?
    Why are you so worried about what Al Gore does anyway?
    Why do his actions make you feel inept, impotent, insecure, embarrassed, less than important?
    I know the answer by the way.  LOL

    All his message is about is to do more and be more aware of what it is that you’re doing to slow the ‘climate change’ thingy down a bit.

    Now, you can get on your bucking rocking horse and toss and turn all you want but it still comes down to ‘What are you doing?’ to enhance the planet.
    Don’t worry about your neighbours, friends or your enema.
    Just do something positive.

    Sorry I didn’t read all your stuff. I’ve had a couple too many beers.
    I’m going to Brisbane to stay at a mate’s place tomorrow.
    His wife and kids miss me and he wants me to help answer the phones at his business for 2 weeks. Apparently it’s flat out and I could make a coupla grand pretty easy. There are a coupla things I need so it could come in handy as much as the idea of work doesn’t interest me in the least.

  46. Consi, take a breath.  Take two.

    I don’t expect any new market to work perfectly.  Not, as LJ observed, that you’re doing anything positive. 

    If Gore weren’t even trying to mitigate his carbon balance, his house is still his workplace and that of his wife.  Factoring in the workplace I probably use more energy than he does. I work in a big new building that features quite a number of energy design compromises.  And the university buys its power the cheapest way it can.

    Gore’s big point is that environmentalism can make money.  He’s trying to develop green capitalism.  On a global scale, I think that’s the way to go.  But since you hate him, nothing he does will be good enough for you.

  47. Never mind that scientists reject such wild claims.

    Why does that sound so much like Dr Dino when he assures us, with straight face, ‘scientists reject such wild claims’ when he’s talking evolution?
    Now if your reference rag had been carrying on like that about shrub and his bunch of criminals doing the nasty on the public for their own gain, I could understand the diatribe dripping from the pen of the ‘awthor’.
    However this is going after an environmentalist asking people to consider their footprint … but he’s from the left so I shouldn’t be at all surprised.

    When your GOP takes its head out of its arse and recognises there are Green votes to be had they too will change.
    Coupla weeks ago our PM (from the born-to-rule side of the political spectrum) recognised just that and he’s started to play a very small Green card.

    Consigliere, when you can show me a similar article from a reputable news source such as, NatureNew Scientist (who I’m sure you think are all tools of communism or something equally as paranoiacly insane), even The Christian Science Monitor, or something else that’s not so blatant in its green-revulsion, I look up and take notice; until then I’ll see your McCarthyesque tantrums for what they are: the inane ramblings of the typical born-to-rule GOP member still talking Weapons of Mass Distraction when there aren’t any.

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