Climate alarmism was launched almost 30 years ago when the featured scientist before Al Gore’s Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources testified that he was “99 percent certain” human activity was behind that year’s unusually hot summer.
For maximum effect, that hearing was scheduled during a Washington, D.C., heat wave. Rumors flew that the hearing room’s windows had been left open so that visible beads of perspiration would accompany the very words of NASA scientist James Hansen.
It’s little wonder why the Left and Right ask whether Pastor Gore is more of a hindrance than a help to the cause. “While Gore’s heart is in the right place, his hyperbole can hurt him,” one reviewer politely stated. “Al Gore is the best friend climate skeptics ever had,” noted Steve Hayward. “Here’s to hoping Gore makes many more sequels to An Inconvenient Truth. With enemies like him, who needs enemies?”
Just in time for his movie, the story broke that Gore’s 10,070-square-foot Nashville residence 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 American house.
Hypocrisy and irony turn into mystery with another fact: the Gore mansion is certificated energy efficient, and it is partly powered by renewable energy. Appliance retrofits, an array of solar panels, and a geothermal system were installed in 2007 when Gore’s energy bill became a national issue. The U.S. Green Building Council, in fact, gave the property a Gold LEED certification after the quarter-million-dollar renovation.
Offset “Monkey Business”
In damage control, Gore’s spokesperson Betsy McManus stated this month that her boss “leads a carbon-neutral life by purchasing green energy, reducing carbon impacts, and offsetting any emissions that can’t be avoided.” But carbon neutral is not the same as carbon free—and in this case, it’s quite the opposite.
McManus refused to provide data on Gore’s alleged offsets, much less the reasons that Gore’s (Gold LEED) electricity usage is off the charts. (Gore’s other residences in San Francisco and Carthage, Tennessee, are at issue here too.) But even assuming substantive purchases, Gore is supporting a fossil-fueled present and future according to 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. Hansen continues (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.
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.
While Gore dare not put his own knowledge and convictions to the test, sometimes things can go awry. When a reporter brought up a mainstream climate scientist’s caution about Gore’s (exaggerated) sea-level rise claim in An Inconvenient Sequel, Gore snapped.
As recounted by reporter Ross Clark:
As soon as I mention Professor Wdowinski’s name, he counters: “Never heard of him — is he a denier?” Then, as I continue to make the point, he starts to answer before directing it at me: “Are you a denier?” When I say I am sure that climate change is a problem, but how big a one I don’t know, he jumps in: “You are a denier.”
Professor Shimon Wdowinski, associate professor of marine geology and geophysics at the Florida International University, specializes in the study of flooding in Miami. He is, states Clark, “exactly the sort of expert, one might think, with whom Gore or his team of researchers might have been in touch before making a documentary film involving the issue of flooding in Miami.”
One can go on and on about the tensions and contradictions of Albert Arnold Gore Jr., including when the presidential candidate conveniently forgot his end-of-the-world rhetoric in the heat of political battle.
“I think we need to bring gasoline prices down,” Gore intoned in the summer of 2000. “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.”
A climate skeptic or “denier,” and the current president of the United States, could not have said it better.
A quarter century ago, in Earth in the Balance, Al Gore offered a stern diagnosis and gloomy prognosis of the natural state of things. “I believe that our civilization is, in effect, addicted to the consumption of the earth itself,” he complained. The ensuing environmental crisis, he added, was a very difficult “war with ourselves” (pp. 220, 275).
Al Gore is at war with himself. Little wonder that his hypocritical, hyperbolic message goes 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.”
 According to the US Energy Information Administration, Tennessee gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired generation, with natural gas providing 14 percent. Renewables provide about 15 percent, and non-hydro generation less than two percent. Nuclear provides the balance (about one-third).