Sacrifice for thee, not for me
Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence.
How about living in normal-sized house? Was that option ever on the table? Planetary survival is important to Gore, but maintaining his sprawling, 10,000 square foot mansion clearly takes a higher priority. And amongst former Tennessee senators, why is it Bill Frist who's installed a geothermal heating system in his residence?
It may seem unfair to pick on Gore when the country has plenty of people who consume way more energy than they should, but the difference is that they are not constantly lecturing everyone else and demanding sacrifices from others that they're not willing to make for themselves. I'm sure John Edwards, for example, has some pretty hefty energy bills in his Rhode Island-sized North Carolina estate, but unlike Gore, Edwards has not set himself up as the de facto public spokesman for energy conservation. I've been observing for some time now that Al Gore more and more closely resembles the leader of a secular religion, and now that image is even more complete, as we're seeing the equivalent of an evangelical Christian TV preacher getting busted with a nickel bag and an teenage hooker.
And he's not happy about it, either. Check out the peevish tone of the second part of his "defense."
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.
Oh, I understand. I understand perfectly. Why stoop to the dirty, unglamorous business of "sacrifice" when you can just pay someone else to do it for you? To extend the religion analogy, I think Captain Ed is right on the money when he characterized carbon offsets as the modern equivalent of buying indulgences.
There's plenty of reason to be skeptical about the efficacy of this carbon offsetting scheme (although it does seem to be reasonably effective at assuaging the guilt of rich, liberal energy gluttons) but even if the offset market works exactly as advertised, Al Gore still isn't off the hook.
As the Gores of the world have tirelessly reminded us, Americans comprise a mere 5% of the global population, yet consume 26% of the world's energy. But if all Americans consumed like Al Gore, this country would consume 624% of the world's energy. That's a mathematical impossibility, of course, and that's precisely the problem with Al Gore buying some credits and then pretending that he's a great steward of the earth's finite resources and that all is well. All is not well, because, as Wizbang notes:
This is a zero-sum game, folks. The more of the 29 megawatts he uses the less there is for others to use, so he still looks really gluttonous. Additionally, based upon the law of supply and demand, he drives up the price of this green energy, preventing others from using it because it becomes too cost prohibitive.
It just looks bad all the way around, and there's no way to tart it up so that he doesn't look like a complete hypocrite. The vast majority of his followers, of course, will neverthelesss continue to defend and make excuses for him. Why? Because it's a religion, and its followers are not going to acknowledge the fact of their prophet's rank hypocrisy any more than devout Christians are going to toss their rosary beads in the unlikely even that James Cameron really has found Jesus's bones in a box. Religions are like that.