Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Al Doesn't Want to Be Inconvenienced

Speaking of former VP and Internet-inventor Al Gore, his Oscar win Sunday night may have placed some sunlight on an issue he doesn't want examined...

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.
Gore has issued a response...
1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand.
As responses go, it leaves a lot to be desired, much like an Al Gore Presidential campaign. Apparently, the numerous steps the Gore family has taken have led to the use of more power, which seems ridiculous. And while I understand the concept of purchasing offsets (maybe I'm not part of the right-wing, which should scare left-wingers everywhere), I don't see how that makes up for the fact that his home is consuming 20 TIMES MORE POWER THAN THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD. I don't care if you're using green energy or buying carbon offsets like they're Doritos -- that's freaking insane. As both Don Surber and Kim Priestap at Wizbang note, it's ridiculous for Gore to suggest that ordinary Americans curb their use of electric power while failing to take steps to do so himself, offsets or no offsets.

Now, let's be clear here. I am not attacking the Gore message here -- if I feel that's necessary, I will do so elsewhere. Gore may be right about the perils of global warming -- I doubt it, but I have been known to be wrong. If so, my attack on his hypocricy does not constitute proof that he's wrong... although it does make me wonder how much the eco-warrior believes in this story. Ed Morrissey makes this point as well...
There's nothing wrong with Gore using that kind of energy if he's willing to pay for it. A mansion would use a lot more energy than a normal single-family dwelling; I'm sure that Bill Gates' electrical bills dwarf what Gore's paying for his Tennessee juice. My objection to his level of consumption would only be that he's driving prices up with his large demand.

That being said, the fact that his energy use increased so dramatically after the release of his documentary makes him look a little ridiculous. After all, he's on the road more now, and energy use should decrease, although his family may not travel with him much. Besides, as we saw at the Oscars last night, Gore wants the rest of us to downsize and conserve rather than just treat energy like any other market -- and Gore is obviously not doing that for himself.

He may retort that he purchases carbon waivers that help fund efforts to clean the environment and reduce global warming to balance his large energy usage. I'd respond: so? The point that the global-warming alarmists make is that we have to stop releasing carbons in order to reverse the "crisis", as they called it over and over again, not to create a rations market that acts like a parasite to the energy market. If the situation is as dire as Gore painted it in An Inconvenient Truth and at the Oscars last night, then one might expect a little more self-discipline from the chief alarmist disciple.
But perhaps Gore is just saying that we should do as he says, not as he does. Well, here's an example of someone who's living green... down in Crawford, Texas... yes, George W....
Evidently his Crawford Winter White House has 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, gray water collection from sinks and showers for irrigation, passive solar, geothermal heating and cooling. “By marketplace standards, the house is startlingly small,” says David Heymann, the architect of the 4,000-square-foot home. “Clients of similar ilk are building 16-to-20,000-square-foot houses.” Furthermore for thermal mass the walls are clad in "discards of a local stone called Leuders limestone, which is quarried in the area. The 12-to-18-inch-thick stone has a mix of colors on the top and bottom, with a cream- colored center that most people want. “They cut the top and bottom of it off because nobody really wants it,” Heymann says. “So we bought all this throwaway stone. It’s fabulous. It’s got great color and it is relatively inexpensive.”
Meanwhile, the folks at the Huffington Roast are doing their best to show this is nothing more than a right-wing smear. They plan to dig through the tax records of the group that broke the story, find out who their supporters are, etc. Sounds familiar? Yeah, it's how the left also reacted to the Swift Boat Veterans (at least one leftie is already referring to Gore as the victim of swiftboating). Because people are telling the truth, it has to be a smear, since Al Gore should be unassailable, even by those somewhat less than conveneient truths. My favorite line from the Roasters is right here...
But guess what? We're going to fight back. All of us.

Why? Well, first of all, Al Gore turning his lights on doesn't make him a hypocrite, it makes him a human.

Second, we've seen this game a few too many damn times. The trick is for them to create doubt and distraction. They need to create doubt all around the country about Al Gore. But there is no doubt.

Al Gore is a hero.
Al Gore is a hypocrite. That doesn't prove his message is wrong, but some folks seem awfully defensive about it, don't they? Here's a better defense...
Those on right are busy today comparing Al Gore's energy consumption to the average American. Well, Al Gore is not the average American. He comes from power and money and he has achieved power and money in his own right.

Al Gore lives a life different from most folks. I'm not one to defend elitism, not as a matter of practice, but some elitism is inevitable. There must be a leadership class. There always has been and there always will be. Even societies organized around the principle of the equality and preeminence of the proletariat have had an elite class. It is the natural order of things. The key for a society is to create a responsible, responsive and fluid elite.

Could Al Gore do more to be "Green" in his personal life? No doubt. I'm sure we all could. Regardless of your position on global warming, none of the steps greens suggest you take in your personal life are gonna hurt anything. It may be unnecessary but not detrimental.
(hat tip: Instapundit) I didn't say it was a good defense, just better. Bottom line: Gore is a hypocrite and an elitist, but that doesn't make him wrong. For that, we'll check the science. Of course, if fish are still in the ocean in ten years, that will likely be a right-wing lie as well.


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