Al Gore’s Oscar win must have really gotten under Matt Drudge’s skin.Today, he stooped to a new low in his quixotic battle against the growing global awareness of human-induced climate change. Trumpeting in banner headlines, he also played to notions of class warfare with allegations of Gore’s “20X AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD” electricity usage.
Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy. Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] 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.
Do we need to reiterate? Al Gore is a global diplomat and former U.S. Vice President. He has crisscrossed the world with his message, and it’s getting through. Even while Vice-President, his use of Air Force Two raised hackles. But let’s review: The United States is the world’s leading fossil-fuel consumer, and it is an empire. The tools of statecraft are hugely expensive and polluting, but no politician can succeed without them. It’s clearly a lesser of evils situation: leaders can sit with the status quo and do nothing, or they can use the tools at their disposal to raise consciousness. Gore is clearly doing the latter. Despite all his flying and consumption, Gore’s consciousness-raising has set in motion events which have single-handedly removed more CO2 from the atmosphere than any other politician in world history.
Need I point out that there are billions of climate-denying consumers worldwide, who also have huge energy and carbon footprints, and aren’t doing a thing to change the situation? We can whine about Gore’s usage of polluting aircraft, but thousands of VIPs and politicians constantly fly their equally polluting personal aircraft all over the world, and not a peep from right-wing media.
It would be a welcome step if Gore could convert his personal electricity usage to renewable energy. But he is involved with a network of organizations who support green energy. Many of these companies deal in REC’s, a method of offsetting the CO2 effects of power consumption through support of wind projects, greenhouse gas disposal, and methane reductions from feedlots, etc.. I researched this for my own energy usage, and last year carbon-neutralized both my vehicles and all my business electricity and gas usage through a company called Terrapass for $243.90.
I’d bet my bottom dollar that Gore and his supporters also offset their energy usage this way. (It was in the credits of “An Inconvenient Truth” that the film was made with a zero carbon footprint.) As savvy politicians, they’d be insane not to.
UPDATE: Al Gore has responded to charges that his house consumes more electricity every month than many American households use in an entire year, with the new Oscar winner saying he has taken many steps to reduce the carbon footprint in his home.
The office of the former vice president and former presidential candidate told Thinkprogress.org. that he has signed up for 100 percent “green” power through Green Power Switch — a renewable energy program through the massive local electric distribution network, the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Gore’s representatives said he also has installed solar panels and uses compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy-saving technology and he buys carbon offsets: a service that indirectly tries to reduce the total carbon emissions of individuals or organizations.
“What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible,” Gore’s office said, according to Thinkprogress.org. “Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gores do, to bring their footprint down to zero.”
But Drudge says nothing about this. In his usual muckracking style, he found some flack at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research to go on record about Gore’s power and gas bills. Where’s the other side of the story? What more can we expect from an opportunist who launched his career at the expense of the first U.S. President to get impeached for a blow job?
The silver lining: Only when a case has become so hopelessly weak do the holdouts resort to such desperate tactics. And on the same day, Drudge also linked to a Reuters report that five western U.S. states adopted an agreement to leapfrog the federal government and mandate C02 targets with cap-and-trade.
Clearly Drudge is used to having the bully pulpit, and unaccustomed to any check or balance on his power. He’s becoming more and more out of touch, and more and more like his friend Ann Coulter every day. I vote we send them, Michael Crichton, and the entire global-warming denial club to live in the Maldives. With better than 90% certainty of human-induced climate change, they’re asking the human race to play Russian roulette with a 10-chambered gun loaded with 9 1/2 bullets.