A Free-Market Energy Blog

Al Gore: Buyer Beware (tonight at Rice University)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 23, 2017

“When it comes to climate change, the greens are a ‘do as I say and not as I do’ movement. Reducing energy use and living with less–that’s the sacrifice that the masses must make to save the planet, but not the elites.”

– Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy (Washington, DC: Regnery, 2016), p. 229.

Al Gore is speaking tonight at Rice University. The rock-star-type event reflects a lot of institutional support, including several science-is-settled, climate-alarmist university professors.

Think Neal Lane, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice and science advisor in the Clinton/Gore White House, whose service as gatekeeper at Rice’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy included allowing the likes of John Holdren to come but not Bjorn Lomborg.

Think Ronald Sass, Fellow in Global Climate Change at the Baker Institute. It was Sass who went ad hominem (see here) against climate realist Rep. Lamar Smith.

Gore will not take questions from the audience. He could embarrass himself on the science (he did with a Miami University climate scientist)–or with his personal life.

“What is your personal carbon footprint?” would be one question. Ouch!

Palatial Energy

Back in 2007, right after the release of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” the story hit that Al Gore was madly consuming electricity off the Nashville grid–CO2 and all.

“Armed with Gore’s utility bills for the last two years, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research [TCPR] charged Monday that the gas and electric bills for the former vice president’s 20-room home and pool house devoured … more than 20 times the national average,” reported Jake Tapper of ABC News, in February 2007. “‘I appreciate the solar panels,’ [Drew Johnson of TCPR] said, ‘but he also has natural gas lanterns in his yard, a heated pool, and an electric gate. While I appreciate that he’s switching out some light bulbs, he is not living the lifestyle that he advocates.’”

How about today, a full decade later?

Just in time for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (the follow-up to “An Inconvenient Truth”), the story broke that Gore’s 10,070-square-foot Nashville residence still consumed twenty times more energy than the average U.S. home. His swimming pool alone accounted for six times more.

“With an average consumption of 22.9 kWh per square foot over the past year, Gore’s home classifies as an ‘energy hog’ under standards developed by Energy Vanguard—a company specializing in energy efficiency methods,” one writer noted.

Indeed. While Gore’s mansion is about four times larger than the average American house of 2,700-square feet, in some months (for example, September of last year) it has used as much as 34 times more energy than the average US home.

Hypocrisy and irony turn into mystery with the fact that Gore’s Nashville mansion was Gold LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as energy efficient after a quarter-million-dollar renovation. Appliance retrofits, an array of solar panels, and a geothermal system were installed in 2007 when Gore’s energy bill became a national issue.

Another irony. During the turn-off-the-lights “Earth Hour” observed by the national and international climate movement, Gore’s lights have been observed to be shining brightly.

Offset “Monkey Business”

Gore’s spokesperson Betsy McManus has defended her boss as “lead[ing] a carbon-neutral life by purchasing green energy, reducing carbon impacts, and offsetting any emissions that can’t be avoided.”

Two problems. One, she provided no evidence (and Gore’s CO2 footprint is a lot more than just one of his houses). And carbon neutral is not the same as carbon free—and in this case, it’s quite the opposite. Just ask Gore’s go-to climate scientist, James Hansen.

“A successful new policy cannot include any offsets,” Hansen stated in his global warming manifesto, Storms of My Grandchildren (p. 206):

The public must be firm and unwavering in demanding “no offsets,” because this sort of monkey business is exactly the type of thing that politicians love and will try to keep. Offsets are like the indulgences that were sold by the church in the Middle Ages. People of means loved indulgences, because they could practice any hanky-panky or worse, then simply purchase an indulgence to avoid punishment for their sins.

Bishops loved them too, because they brought in lots of moola. Anybody who argues for offsets today is either a sinner who wants to pretend he or she has done adequate penance or a bishop collecting moola.

As government mitigation policy, the Gore approach should be rejected. Continues Hansen (ibid.):

A successful new policy cannot include any offsets. We specified the carbon limit based on the geophysics. The physics does not compromise—it is what it is. And planting additional trees cannot be factored into the fossil fuel limitations. The plan for getting back to 350 ppm assumes major reforestation, but that is in addition to the fossil fuel limit, not instead of. Forest preservation and reforestation should be handled separately from fossil fuels in a sound approach to solve the climate problem.

Climate stabilization requires no less than “a global phaseout of fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions,” Hansen insists (p. 205). Yet the majority of energy molecules used at Gore’s Belle Meade residence are fossil-fuel generated, as much as the former vice president would like to claim carbon neutrality.

Candidate Gore’s Hypocrisy

“I think we need to bring gasoline prices down,” Al Gore stated in June 2000 on the presidential campaign trail.

“I have made it clear in this campaign that I am not calling for any tax increase on gasoline, on oil, on natural gas, or anything else. I am calling for tax cuts to stimulate the production of new sources of domestic energy and new technologies to improve efficiency.”

– Al Gore, quoted in Bennett Roth, “Gore Drops Fuel Tax Proposal, Introduces Tax Credit Incentives,” Houston Chronicle, June 29, 2000, p. 10A.

The new versus old Al Gore did not go unnoticed by his fellow climate alarmists and the mainstream media.

“No American politician can bear to do anything to restrict our piggish use of coal and gas and oil–not to raise energy prices or legislate against the plague of gas-guzzling SUV’s.   During the campaign, Mr. Gore even demanded that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be opened to keep fuel prices down.”

– Bill McKibben, “Too Hot to Handle,” New York Times, January 5, 2001, p. A21.

“Vice President Al Gore, who labored under eternal suspicion in the crucial state of Michigan for his writings on the environment, responded to last year’s gas price hikes in the Midwest with consumer-pitying rhetoric that touched on everything but the suggestion that Americans might drive less or consider smaller, more efficient cars.”

– Marjorie Williams, “America’s Energy Amnesia,” The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, May 7-13, 2001, p. 26.

No, Al Will Not Debate or Go Ad Lib

Al Gore will not dare debate climate change issues—the very ones he cares about the most. Joseph Bast at the Heartland Institute tried a decade ago with a national advertising campaign—to no avail. Alex Epstein last year offered $100,000 for Gore to publicly debate—the very amount that Gore charges for his speaking engagements.

Al Gore is at war with himself. Little wonder that his hypocritical, hyperbolic message seems to go backward with his every push.

It is all political theater, as Jerry Taylor posited in “Global Warming: The Anatomy of a Debate.” And in this show, actor Al is “the gift that keeps on giving.”


  1. Charles G Battig  

    The following letter was submitted to the Houston Chronicle, and remains unpublished today, the day of Mr. Gore’s traveling show at Rice University:

    Viewpoints HC October 19 2017:

    Letters appearing in this column reflect the devastating emotional and financial impacts of hurricane Harvey on the citizens of Houston. They also reflect the natural impulse to look for a reason…much like a victim of a serious illness’s “why me?”. Letters here and billboards around town offer their emotional scapegoat…climate change blamed on humans and fossil fuels. Uniformly lacking is any solid scientific evidence to justify this claim. Saying there exists a consensus is not the same as proving it. The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 killed around 10,000 people, well before SUV’s and CO2 rise. Over the past twelve years average global temperatures have been flat. During these past twelve years, no major hurricane struck U.S. shores even as CO2 continued to rise, as evidence of lack of correlation between the two. Al Gore’s global warming had to be renamed climate change. As the climate is always changing someplace, this bit of trickery is clever merchandizing. His Rice University appearance next week might give opportunity to question his climate assumptions, but do not count on it.

    Charles G. Battig, M.D.


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