Creative Destruction

February 28, 2007

Why Al Gore’s House Matters

Filed under: Environment — Robert @ 3:17 am

(Updated: Welcome Instapundit readers!)

I was reading some comments on a post over at Bob Krumm’s site where one of the other commenters opined that conservative criticism of Gore is pointless because it doesn’t advance our understanding of anything. I responded at the Bob Krumm site, but want to cross-post my comments here in slightly edited form.

I think that the critique of Gore’s utilities-devouring monster house (one of three) and frequent air travel teaches us something very important. Considering the question teaches us something about Mr. Gore’s motives.

When people actually believe something, they generally live their life in a way that underscores or is compatible with the belief. Pacifists who oppose the death penalty don’t usually go out and get concealed carry permits. Writers who believe in a hyper-free exchange of ideas don’t usually go out and write restrictive comments policies for their blogs. Environmentalists who really believe in treating the planet well don’t usually live in power-sucking mansions and fly everywhere in private jets.And – oops! – there’s the problem with Mr. Gore. If he believed what he was saying on its own merits, then he would be behaving differently. Since his behavior and his rhetoric do not match, we learn something about him: that there is likely some other motivation for his policy preferences.

Those policy preferences – limit carbon, mandate the use of certain technologies, restrict land use, etc. – all seem to entail increasing governmental control over the economy. Mr. Gore’s actual motivation would appear to a fair-minded observer to be a desire to increase government power in the economic sphere – and environmental concern over global climate change is simply the convenient rhetorical tool to flog in the service of that agenda.

Mr. Gore is of course free to advocate for whatever policies he wishes. However, those of us who would bear the burden of his policies are also entitled – in our mindlessly swarming way – to think that his rhetorical flourishes are so much organically-composted, locally-grown, carbon-neutral BS.

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44 Comments »

  1. As I understand it, Gore favors emissions trading and buying offsets (both market-based approaches, by the way), and he voluntarily buys offsets in his own life to bring his family’s “ecological footprint” down to zero.

    If this is the case, then what is your objection? Why do you find it objectionable for Gore to purchase offsets in order to be able to use more energy without a net degrading of the environment?

    * * *

    In the end, this is nothing but a ad hom attack on the messenger. But showing that Al Gore is a jerk doesn’t disprove his arguments.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 28, 2007 @ 3:32 am | Reply

  2. Why do you find it objectionable for Gore to purchase offsets in order to be able to use more energy without a net degrading of the environment?

    I don’t find it objectionable for him to purchase offsets. I find it objectionable for him to tell us to reduce our usage of energy, and thus our quality of life, while he continues to live in an extremely profligate manner.

    To analogize to someone I actually admire rather than someone who I dislike: Say that Bill Gates was a huge danger sports enthusiast. And say that Bill Gates used his personal wealth to make sure that trauma surgeons were always standing by while he skiied Everest, or whatever, so as to reduce his net risk. That would be fine with me. But if he then turned around and made PSAs about playing it safe, kids, and lobbied to regulate danger sports for other people, and wrote books about how risk-seeking is an intrinsically bad behavior and people should seek a sedate and safe lifestyle – then I would think he was a jerk.

    And no, that wouldn’t disprove his argument. It would just mean that he wasn’t someone who I could trust, because it would be clear that he didn’t actually mean what he was saying, and had some other agenda.

    It is the dishonesty concerning the agenda that is troubling and problematic.

    Comment by Robert — February 28, 2007 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  3. Robert, the problem with your analogy is that it shows a great deal of ignorance of what Al Gore is saying. If Gore was saying “people should live like monks and using energy is intrinsically bad behavior and people shouldn’t heat their homes,” then your analogy might make sense.

    But that’s simply not what Gore is saying.

    Here’s a video of a speech Gore gave a year ago, which (after some jokey anecdotes) focuses on what Gore is suggesting that people do. He doesn’t call for suffering, nor does he call for people to be monks. He’s saying that people should reduce their energy usage through steps like buying “green” choices where available and similar methods, and then buy energy offsets to make up for the rest.

    Here’s a screencap from the video; it’s clear that Gore promotes carbon offsets for everyone. It’s not something that he suggests only for himself.

    And unlike your “private trauma surgeons” example, buying carbon offsets isn’t something only wealthy people can do. I took the quiz on Gore’s website and then followed the link to the carbon-offset-buying website; it would cost me $24 a year to do as Gore suggests. (Admittedly, my carbon footprint is significantly smaller than most, because I don’t drive and I have a lot of housemates.).

    Finally, your (paraphrased) “he’s calling for others to make sacrifices, but he’s unwilling to make sacrifices himself” analysis implicitly assumes that giving up large sums of money (by buying extravagant carbon offsets) is not a sacrifice — at least, not for a rich person like Gore.

    If that’s what you believe, then shouldn’t we be taxing rich people more — since for them, unlike us, giving up large sums of money is no sacrifice?

    Comment by Ampersand — February 28, 2007 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  4. I’m not sure the comparisons make a lot of sense, anyhow. As Anon Liberal pointed out on the thread you linked to, Bob, the Gores’ energy use per square foot is actually about average for their region. And we have no idea what Gore’s household is like; are there any staff? Does the Secret Service have agents sitting in a room monitoring cameras there 24 hours a day?

    Personally, I think that it would be better if the Gores lived a less extravagant lifestyle. I think that kind of ultra-extravagant living is, well, tacky. But unless Gore agrees with me, and is calling on ultra-rich people to stop living like ultra-rich people, I don’t see any hypocrisy.

    When people actually believe something, they generally live their life in a way that underscores or is compatible with the belief.

    First of all, I doubt that’s true. I believe it would be better if everyone were a vegetarian, but I still eat meat. Most smokers do understand that in many ways it would be better if they didn’t smoke. Etc, etc.. I think most people, if they were honest, could name some ways their actions don’t totally comport with their ideals and beliefs.

    (Is comport actually a word? I think it is).

    Second of all, according to the video I linked to, Gore believes that people should try to reduce their energy footprint by making energy-conscious choices that don’t necessarily involve huge lifestyle changes, and then by buying offsets. And that’s pretty much how he lives. So by your standard, Gore must actually believe what he says.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 28, 2007 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  5. By the way, Robert, Gore’s office claims that he flies on commercial airlines whenever possible:

    In his private life, Gore tries to reduce his emissions as much as possible. He drives a hybrid, flies commercially whenever he can, and purchases green power. In the few instances where work has demanded that he travel privately, he purchases carbon offsets for the emissions.

    In contrast, Bob, you claim that “Environmentalists who really believe in treating the planet well don’t usually… fly everywhere in private jets. And – oops! – there’s the problem with Mr. Gore.”

    So is Gore’s office lying when they say he doesn’t use private jets for all his travel? What’s your source for your claim that he does?

    Sorry to post so much on this; I’m writing a post on the subject, so it’s staying in my mind.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 28, 2007 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  6. When wouldn’t it be possible to fly commercially?

    Comment by Robert — February 28, 2007 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

  7. To answer the points in the rest of your RonF stream-of-discourse (grin):

    1) You have one video of Al Gore talking about offsets; I have ten or twenty years of Al Gore talking about government restrictions on the economy and private sacrifice of lifestyle. He’s gotten a little more market-friendly as the fact that he doesn’t live in Sweden, and the limited appeal of “let’s socialize it” gradually sinks in; it doesn’t fool me.

    2) Not sure what your sacrifice point means. The issue is that he’s asking us to change our lifestyles, while he doesn’t change his. The relative proportional cost of offsets is immaterial to that.

    3) As was demonstrated thoroughly in that thread, Anon Liberal’s point about average per-square foot energy use is off-base. Yeah, Gore’s use is average – his brand-new home has the same per-square-foot usage as the average for his area. But that average includes fifty-year old ramshackle sheds and trailers and drafty old apartment buildings. As the original writer notes, the proper point of comparison is a similar home in the same neighborhood – which the original writer OWNS, and which generates energy costs that are a small fraction of Gore’s per-SF use.

    4) You’re not a vegetarian. Thinking “it would be better if people ate less meat” and “meat is murder!” are not the same thing. Gore is saying “meat is murder” and chowing down on a steak; you’re saying “people should eat less meat” and having the occasional burger.

    Comment by Robert — February 28, 2007 @ 12:47 pm | Reply

  8. [...] Liberal have good posts on this faux-controversy (or should I say FOX-controversy?). Curtsy to Robert Hayes, whose ad hom attack on Gore alerted me to this [...]

    Pingback by Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Al Gore Is A Hypocrit Because He Lives In A Mansion? — February 28, 2007 @ 12:51 pm | Reply

  9. Like Robert, I recognize that Gore’s advocacy of reducing the human footprint on the environment is not exactly reflected in his lifestyle and behavior, nor am I fully convinced by his purchase of emissions offsets. (It’s curious, though, to see Robert reject a market solution to curbing our consumption.) However, I don’t see in that contradiction evidence of a secret liberal agenda to impose government restrictions on regular folk for the sake of, well, government restrictions.

    A simpler explanation, perhaps, might be that despite recognizing a creeping threat to life as we know it and advocating for systemic change, including sacrifice of our fairly extravagant lifestyles, the governing class doesn’t really believe that those changes and sacrifices fully apply to themselves.

    Comment by Brutus — February 28, 2007 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  10. Can someone explain to me the concept of buying offsets? That’s not snark; I really don’t get it. So, you give a company some money and they plant trees or invest in renewable energy sources. If you believe it, shouldn’t you be investing in those things anyway? What’s the significance of carbon neutrality? If you really believe this stuff, shouldn’t you believe in having the most negative possible carbon footprint?

    The idea that you can pay some money in the kitty and live as you please strikes me as aristocratic nonsense. I’m not the first person to liken it to papal indulgences. I thought the left was generally against the “if you have enough money you can do whatever you like, but the poor have to sacrifice” idea.

    Comment by S. Weasel — February 28, 2007 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  11. S. Weasel, check out this post on RealClimate for an explanation of the buying offsets idea. Here are some key paragraphs:

    The idea behind carbon offsets is built upon the foundation of carbon emissions trading established by the Kyoto Protocol, a scheme called cap and trade. Carbon emissions for industries are capped at some level by regulatory permits to emit CO2. If a company is able to cut its emissions below that level, it can sell its emission permits to another company. The cuts in emissions are thereby steered, by the invisible hand of the market, to the cheapest and most efficient means. Cap-and-trade has worked well for reduction of sulfur emissions in the U.S., that are responsible for acid rain. CO2 emission is intrinsically even better suited for cap-and-trade, because it is a truly global pollutant, so it matters not where the CO2 is emitted.

    The carbon emissions market requires a certification process to verify any reduction in carbon emissions. Carbonfund.org and the other similar operations take donations from people like me and use the money to pay for renewable energy sources like solar cells or wind farms, that would not have been built otherwise. For these efforts, they receive credits for reduction in carbon emissions that are certified as valid, and therefore eligible for trade in the emissions market. Instead of trading that emission credit, carbonfund.org “retires” it, so that it isn’t used to balance higher carbon emission from another source. The certification process from the emissions market has an unintended benefit of providing an independent way to verify the carbon impact from sending money to organizations like carbonfund.org. [...]

    What about the discrepancy between the huge projected costs for nation-scale carbon cuts versus these cheap fixes for the emissions of an individual? I believe what we are looking at is a situation known as “low-hanging fruit”. If everyone in the U.S. decided to become carbon neutral, the price for doing it would rise, because the easy fixes would be used up. So the CO2 emission reductions achievable by purchasing of carbon offsets, at the low, low price of $99 per year, are almost by definition small relative to the overall scale of the problem. It would take more than $99 per American to prevent global warming; for that we will have to actually reduce our CO2 emissions. Carbon offsets cannot do it alone.

    Carbon offsets are beneficial in the meantime, however, because they do cut carbon emissions, and the money stimulates development of alternative energy technologies. The bottom line is, despite my deep initial skepticism, I now see how carbon offsets could actually work as advertised, enabling an individual to live a carbon-neutral life, even in the United States.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 28, 2007 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  12. Carbon offsets are one thing when being done by utilities. When done by consumers they are a big joke. It’s a snake oil game. Ok, I’ll drive my big SUV, and somebody somewhere (supposedly) will plant some trees. Yeah, that makes sense.

    Even worse, do you know where AlGore buys his offsets? From his own company! Yeah, I’d be fine buying stuff from myself too and then bragging about how moral I am. And more, to be telling all the rest of you to buy things from me too. Not to mention AlGore’s company also invests in “green” power. Gee, I wonder why he wants us to spend billions of dollars on it?

    It always amazes me how ardently people will defend someone who is so transparently phoney.

    Human driven global warming is a crock, anyway. The world always changes temperature. In fact, historically it’s been warmer than average for a very long time. You want to avoid a real disaster? Then you better pray for global warming, because it’s a picnic in the park compared to what global cooling is going to be like.

    Quote of the day: He described Mr Gore’s film as “bullshit from beginning to end”.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/greenhouse-sceptics-to-congregate/2007/02/27/1172338625822.html

    Comment by Peterike — February 28, 2007 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  13. As Peterike notes, Gore is not really “giving up large sums of money” buying carbon offsets. He is investing in his own companies, and also hyping (or publicizing if you like) global warming which also increases the values of those companies. While I do not have a problem with Gore making money, we should recognize this for what it is – Gore acquiring prestige (nobel prize nominations, academy awards and the like) and monies, without making any real sacrifices himself and all the while asking for sacrifices from others.

    Comment by dean wermer — February 28, 2007 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  14. Always “follow the money” with these “greens.”

    Remember, many cap and trade programs essentially bestow upon existing polluters the right to continue polluting, which becomes a tradable endowment of wealth, at the public’s expense.

    An auction in pollution permits, which themselves may be tradable, at least creates a level playing field that requires all comers to competitively bid for the right to pollute, and the wealth created reverts to the auction holder (and speculators in the after market). But who gets the money?

    As for green energy projects funded with “offsets,” can anyone tell me who ends up owning the investment capital so purchased?

    And it the motives of people who question the theory of anthropogentic global warming theory that are first to be impugned? Please.

    Comment by edh — February 28, 2007 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  15. Humans only contribute about 4 percent of the greenhouse gases that are said to be responsible for global warming. So, if we reduce that to 3 percent or even 2 percent, will that then save the planet? The answer is NO!! Warming and cooling periods for our planet are driven primarily by global events and solar cycles that are beyond our control. The saving grace is that these cycles normally proceed slowly so we can adapt to the changes by engineering our way around and through them. Also, as pointed out by others, buying carbon credits does nothing to reduce greenhouse gases. So, people like Gore who use them to excuse their excessively polluting lifestyles are simply hypocrites. They have no real allegiance to what they are telling us. I believe in polluting less as a basic tenant of good stewardship in my life. However, I give little or no weight to what Gore and his ilk are trying to shove down our throats. Hollywood seems to adore Gore, but since when has Hollywood been a reliable source of moral authority for how we should live our lives. To them we are the little people who need to do what they say rather than what they do. Gore and his rich fans simply are not a credible source of information. I say follow the money and you will see their true motive…they want more of our money to keep them in the lavish and powerful lifestyles that they have grow accustomed to.

    Comment by Darrell — February 28, 2007 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  16. Others have covered it, but I’ll throw in my own carbon-credits analogy:

    Reducing carbon through purchasing carbon credits is like reducing fat consumption through bulimia.

    Or, maybe, it’s like taking a second helping of potatoes to reduce consumption of meat.

    Gore’s point is probably something like “well I could have spent 100% of my budget on an even bigger house, but I didn’t; instead I spent 50% of my budget on the house and 50% on carbon credits. Therefore I am morally superior to someone who spends 100% of his budget on the house, even if his budget is 10% of mine…”

    Comment by DensityDuck — February 28, 2007 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  17. Humans only contribute about 4 percent of the greenhouse gases that are said to be responsible for global warming.

    That ignores the differences between net and gross. The environment both produces and consumes greenhouse gases. The net difference is the amount that the greenhouse gas changes from year to year. If the planet produces 140 billion metric tons of CO2 and consumes 139 billion metric tons of CO2 in a given year, then the net increase in CO2 is 1 billion metric tons. If human activity increases the production by, let’s say, 3 percent (4.2 billion metric tons), and offsetting factors (an increase in CO2 consumption by plants due to the higher levels in the atmosphere, for example) consume, say, 2/3 of that, the net gain is 1.4 billion metric tons. In other words, we have increased the CO2 net gain for that year by 140 percent, even though we are only contributing a small amount of actual gases.

    Comment by Glaivester — February 28, 2007 @ 8:25 pm | Reply

  18. As for green energy projects funded with “offsets,” can anyone tell me who ends up owning the investment capital so purchased?

    Hmm, that would be…lessee here…ah. That would be Al Gore.

    Comment by Robert — February 28, 2007 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  19. Gore favors emissions trading and buying offsets (both market-based approaches, by the way), and he voluntarily buys offsets in his own life to bring his family’s “ecological footprint” down to zero.

    Um, this is what Gore claims.

    Which has little bearing on it’s accuracy.

    Comment by The Ace — March 1, 2007 @ 12:48 am | Reply

  20. First of all, I doubt that’s true. I believe it would be better if everyone were a vegetarian, but I still eat meat. Most smokers do understand that in many ways it would be better if they didn’t smoke. Etc, etc.. I think most people, if they were honest, could name some ways their actions don’t totally comport with their ideals and beliefs.

    Too funny. I remember you leftists saying this during the Foley affair and when Haggart was in the news.

    Left out of this is the fact that Gore is the defacto national spokesman on the issue.

    The level of defense and denail on the part of you people is pathetic and sad.

    Comment by The Ace — March 1, 2007 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  21. So, I went to Gore’s website and calculated my “carbon offsets” per Ampersand’s comment in 3 above. When I went to native energy to see what I would owe, it came out to $500(I have multiple homes and cars just like Mr Gore).

    So, for $500 a year I can continue to drive my big SUV, run multiple houses, fly both private and commerical, and continue to live my profligate lifestyle without further ado?

    Now, as I understand it (as one who has READ THE SCIENCE), the current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, even if we stopped all emissions tomorrow, will continue to warm the planet for decades to come. China (which will be the largest CO2 emmitter within a decade)and India are building coal burning plants at such a rate that those plants alone will make more emissions than every US car within 10 years.

    Yet, by spending the relatively meager amount of $500, I can make it all good?

    Because that is what you (Ampersand) and others are saying that Gore is saying – just offset your own carbon, and that is all that matters. Kyoto? Who cares! China and India? Don’t pay any attention to the quickly growing economies behind the curtain. Nothing to see there.

    Well, if that is what you are saying, can we stop all this other blather and nonsense now about Kyoto, binding treaties and such. If THAT (carbon offsets) are the total solution, maybe Mr Gore needs to do a far better job (and he certainly has the spotlight enough) to tell the world that the solution is so damned simple.

    If that is not the solution, however, Mr Gore is a hypocrite, not to mention a charlatan.

    So which is it? Is the carbon offsets enough? Because if it isn’t, then Al Gore is a very large part of the problem.

    Comment by The S — March 1, 2007 @ 10:07 am | Reply

  22. Arguments concerning net vs. gross CO2 are largely irrelevant. If that were the central issue, we could just create more vegetation sources or other CO2 sinks and the problem would be solved. Atmospheric science has a very long way to go before it will begin to fully understand the complex atmospheric changes that have occurred and will continue to occur on planet Earth. Climate change involves many more variables than just CO2. In fact, CO2 is only a relatively small part of the bigger picture concerning how the climate changes. Things like the amount of atmospheric water vapor, solar activity, and volcanic eruptions have a much larger potential to contribute to overall climate change and we have almost no ability to influence any of these things. As a scientist, I find it most alarming that the scientific community has resorted to consensus and alarmist tactics as the primary method for driving the global warming debate. This approach has done a lot to increase funding for the politically correct side of the debate. However, it has done very little to actually advance a balanced understanding of climate change. Any scientist who suggests that there may be other valid explanations for why Earth’s climate is changing is routinely panned by the consensus crowd and written off a heretic and denier of the global warming faith. If we really want to understand climate change, it is important that we refrain from forcing a myopic assessment of the available data that accepts only a single predetermined conclusion. Good science simply doesn’t come out of such a process. Until the scientific community is willing to drop the consensus-driven purge of alternative ideas, we will never know the truth.

    Comment by Darrell — March 1, 2007 @ 10:30 am | Reply

  23. The Hollywood and Learjet Liberals want to be the elite class to rule everyone else. They invent smoke and mirror solutions like carbon offsets, which have dubious value for actually decreasing carbon dioxide, and then invent other ways to capitalize on it. In Gore’s case, he invests his carbon offset in a company he owns that promotes “green power”. So, he really is buying stock. He is not loosing the money. He is not really buying carbon offsets. What a charade! What a phony and hypocrite Gore is! How can anyone take him seriously.

    Comment by Peter W. — March 1, 2007 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  24. RE #21, let’s assume that The S is a typical American, so total national carbon offset expenditures would need to be 125 billion dollars per year to balance the national carbon production. Would that be enough money to rapidly switch the country over to clean energy sources? I don’t really know, but it certainly isn’t a pittance. Let’s assume it would do a substantial amount of good to reduce CO2 production. Now let’s recognize from The S’s mocking tone that The S has no intention of paying in that $500 a year for carbon offsets. I think it is obvious why someone would advocate both individually purchasing carbon offsets (to answer the “what can I personally do to stop being part of the problem”), and advocate international and mandatory solutions (to answer “Given that not everyone is going to voluntarily go out of there way to stop being part of the problem, what do we need to do to make sure the problem gets fixed.”)

    Comment by Charles S — March 2, 2007 @ 7:04 am | Reply

  25. RE #24

    Now I see it.

    Al Gore and his ilk need to advocate “international and mandatory solutions” to save the world from themselves.

    Comment by The S — March 2, 2007 @ 10:08 am | Reply

  26. That’s pretty much the case for any American, certainly any at the policy influencing level.

    Eat the World.

    Comment by Charles S — March 3, 2007 @ 11:42 pm | Reply

  27. Mmm, that’s some good world. Tectonically terrific!

    Comment by Robert — March 5, 2007 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  28. Why does Gore’s morality matter so much? we all argue over him like he’s running for president again or something. Why does it matter if he’s a sleazy evil politician advancing his own agenda and putting more pollution in the air in a month than an ‘average’ home in a year? Why does it matter if he’s a saint out to save the earth, and if we all listen to him and reduce our carbon emissions in the next 20 years it will prevent greenland from falling into 2 pieces?

    Can someone tell me?

    PS-please, no crazy science terminology.

    Comment by Joseph — March 12, 2007 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  29. Hi;
    I own tree farms. How can I sell Al some carbon credits. I would like to get into this business.

    Comment by Babs — March 26, 2007 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  30. My resources are limited. Is the following the truth or bovine excretion?
    —————————–

    LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.

    HOUSE # 1:

    A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern snow belt, either. It’s in the South.

    HOUSE # 2:

    Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every green feature current home construction can provide. The house contains 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on an arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

    HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

    HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as the Texas White House, it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

    So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON’T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it’s truly an inconvenient truth

    Comment by Germando Echovarde — March 29, 2007 @ 10:04 pm | Reply

  31. These descriptions are reasonably accurate, yes.

    I really want a heating system like the one Bush has. We use a radiant heat system which is very efficient but geothermal is just perfect where you can do it.

    Comment by Robert — March 30, 2007 @ 12:31 am | Reply

  32. Buying carbon offsets is the equivalent of the middle age practice of buying indulgences.

    or in other words

    The Emporer has no clothes

    Comment by Tired — March 31, 2007 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  33. Gore lectures from a false moral imperative

    Comment by Tired — March 31, 2007 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  34. really smart article. so by your same logic, all the folks who supports this war should be out registering to join and fight right? or perhaps volunteer to work with soldiers back from the war. otherwise the war supporters really aren’t walking the walk, and i would have to question their motives.

    maybe if you actually argued your points instead of try and kill the messenger i would have more interest in your article, but it’s a really petty argument you make.

    Comment by John Pulliam — April 3, 2007 @ 12:31 am | Reply

  35. See item #30 above and then take a look at

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/house.asp

    Comment #32 above really says it!

    Comment by Germando Echovarde — April 3, 2007 @ 10:34 pm | Reply

  36. Good discussion thread, but a little heavy on hot air opinions and a little light on inclusion of known facts. The available facts include that the historical information on the Earth’s heating and cooling patterns is insufficient to definitively prove the current ground, ocean, and air temperatures are either “high” or “normal” or are “increasing” or are “within the normal cycle”. Without or with humankind’s contribution. Unfortunately, when the facts are thin, even some “scientists” will offer their opinion, which are almost always instantaneously elevated to factual status when the media quotes them as “a scientist states …”. Thus, much of the thread mirrors most of the media articles in that the discussion is based on unsupportable assumptions. Probably this is driven by our incessant “need to know” and our hunger for “quick answers” and “absolute solutions”. Given the above, I think the Earthlings would be better served by directing their efforts to pushing governments, universities, private and public researchers, and corporations world-wide towards researching the whole topic of Earth’s physical existence in the solar system with the goal of identifying and quantifying all the perils to the continued existence of the planet and life on it. For example, is the cataclysmic impact by a large rock from space or a colossally destructive solar flare or a major volcano more probable than global warming? If so, shouldn’t we be working at solutions to the most probable problem? Looking back at the history of the world, did the dinosaurs go nearly extinct because of a global warming trend or something else? Is global warming the right or only problem to solve? Have we become so sure of ourselves that we can afford the luxury of wasting time arguing whether a particular politician, or wanna be, is slimy or not? As a thought, why doesn’t each person reading this blog thread decide which issues (environmental, civic, social, or other) are the most important or pressing, and work on being part of their solution. I’ll start: The U.S. Congress is assigned SOLE authority to levy taxes and spend the collected money. A president can suggest a budget, and after Congress approves a bill to authorize spending money, a president can sign those bills, but the president can not authorize spending your money. The problem isn’t taxation by Congress, rather the problem is over-spending by Congress. Congress has authorized spending more money then is collected in taxes every year since 1960 (president Clinton spoke of a surplus in the late 1990s, but look at the yearly records of the U.S. Dept of the Treasury and see if you can find any surplus, the annual records for the national debt are available at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/
    histdebt.htm), and most years before that. The resulting national debt has increased to the level that we are starting to have trouble finding loans to cover it. Communist China is currently loans the U.S. over 1.5 trillion dollars to finance the debt. When we can no longer borrow money, what do you think will occur? Can you say “Great Depression”? As in worse than the 1930s. Second big problem: American’s have decided they aren’t responsible to raise their own off-spring. You can get divorced, move away, and send a few bucks back each month to the parent or gramma who has custody of the child. Do you honestly believe a single parent can raise a well-balanced, happy, prepared-for-life child? I don’t. Both of these problems are worth your attention, infinitely more so than a grasping-at-straws, has-been politician.

    Comment by Steve Smith — April 7, 2007 @ 11:45 am | Reply

  37. An Inconvenient Home for Mr. Gore

    It would seem that while “W’s” home in Crawford, Texas is the model of environmental efficiency, the home of environmental campaigner Al Gore burns through natural gas like crazy, and uses some 20 times the national average when it comes to electric…

    Trackback by jjncj.com — April 10, 2007 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  38. The fact that that Gore fanatics don’t understand is that if there were or could be sufficient carbon offsets, then there wouldn’t be any global warming or at least anthropogenic contributions towards it (for the argument, assuming that occurs). He is trying to pay his way out of a problem. We can all buy offests, but they don’t reduce the carbon (they only exchange it). A forest used as an offest was reducing carbon BEFORE it was bought as an offest. That is like a fat person paying a skinny person to not eat doughnuts so that they can…the fat person is still fat. Al Gore chooses to live a very lavish lifestyle and wants the rest of us to make the hard choices that reduce our quality of life. Nothing like liberals trying to use government and the environment to control people’s lives. I’d wager that the carbon footprint of the Gore’s, the Clinton’s, Barack Obama, Michael Moore, and Bono exceed that of some countries.

    Comment by Duh! — September 3, 2007 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  39. If a republican were to try and do what Gore is doing, the liberals would be having a FIELD DAY.

    Instead, we conservatives point out how completely idiotic Gore’s position is, and suddenly libs come out of the woodwork to defend him.

    So let me see if I got this right …

    I go out and buy 200 acres of land somewhere in the mountains. I hack down a bunch of trees in the middle and build this huge energy sucking monster of a house. I then “buy” carbon credits FROM MY SELF (my land sucks up carbon), and to you liberals, that’s okay.

    I always find it funny (actually repubs do this too) when people defend behavior they claim to be against, simply because “their side” is the one doing it.

    Comment by NotFooled — October 29, 2007 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  40. where do you buy carbon credit?

    Comment by greywhitie — October 29, 2007 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  41. Forget where you buy it…

    Where do you sell it?

    I’m short on cash these days.

    Comment by Off Colfax — October 30, 2007 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  42. you sell CO2 the same place you buy it, where supply and demand meet. economists call it equilibrium, or something like that. we ignorant, uninformed lay folks just call it “the marketplace.”

    Comment by greywhitie — October 30, 2007 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  43. Gore purchased his house used in 2002. It’s over 80 years old so it was not designed or insulated to todays standards. He and his wife both run businesses out of it which means it’s 3 buildings in one and is they save fuel on commutes to work. Buying a used house and renovating it to be more energy efficient is far less costly on the environment then demolishing this one and re-building or building a new one elsewhere hence leaving this energy hog to someone else less interested in improving it’s efficiency. Also his energy use has been inflated b/c of all the renovation that’s been going on since he purchased it. What I give Gore the most credit for is investing and promoting alternative energy technologies so that that they can be developed and made affordable to the average person which will can potentially have a huge impact on reducing carbon. On the other hand Bush has the most advanced green home money can buy and uses all in his powers and influence to block or discourage reducing carbon emissions. Even if one doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming, one should still embrace Gore b/c his plan can lead to less wars over a dwindling resource and a less polluted environment for all life.

    Comment by boulderboy — December 16, 2007 @ 4:27 am | Reply

  44. Al Gore is making ill gotten cash over his big lie film and two undeserved awards i myself wouldnt even consiter renting or buying his fruadulent DVD its a rip off and a fruad

    Comment by Mad Bluebird — November 25, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply


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