From the print edition of The New American:
For nearly two-and-a-half decades, Al Gore has been the most recognizable face of environmentalism on the planet. As a U.S. representative, U.S. senator, U.S. vice president, and globe-trotting author and film producer, Al Gore has ridden global warming and other environmental hot-button issues to media stardom. In 1992, with a copy of his just-released best-selling book, Earth in the Balance, he led a delegation of U.S. senators to the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which was the launch pad for the global-warming alarmism movement. A core message of that movement is that our planet is in dire crisis, and in order to avert imminent catastrophe we (humanity) must radically change our consumption, individually, at the personal level, and collectively at the global level.
In his book Earth in the Balance, then-Senator Gore warned that we are “facing a rapidly deteriorating global environment” that, due to our complacency, “threatens absolute disaster.” “We must all become partners in a bold effort to change the very foundation of our civilization,” he continued, stating further: “But I believe deeply that true change is possible only when it begins inside the person who is advocating it. Mahatma Gandhi said it well: ‘We must be the change we wish to see in the world.’”
“On a personal level,” Gore went on, “this has meant reexamining my relationship to the environment in large and small ways … [including] keeping a careful eye on our household’s use of electricity, water, and, indeed, every kind of resource.”
This theme of his own personal commitment has remained a key Gore refrain. A freeze-frame in his 2006 film, An Inconvenient Truth, asks the viewing audience, “Are You Ready to Change the Way You Live?” After picking up a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work in 2007, Gore solemnly stated in an interview from Norway: “The only way to solve this crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives.”
His new film, An Inconvenient Sequel, continues in the same vein. The website for his film calls on visitors to take the “PLEDGE TO #BEINCONVENIENT,” which includes a pledge to: “Use my choice to switch my home/business/community/university to 100% renewable energy.” But, apparently, we mustn’t expect Gore to inconvenience himself or interrupt his lavish lifestyle to practice the gospel he preaches.
Do What I Say, NOT What I Do
In 2007, the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study showing that Al Gore’s gargantuan “carbon footprint” destroys his status as a credible champion for changing wasteful ways. Now, a decade later, a new NCPPR study reveals that Gore has continued his energy-hog lifestyle, indicating he believes that the commandment to change is “For thee and not for me.” The details of Gore’s energy guzzling can be found in a new report from the National Center for Public Policy Research entitled “Al Gore’s Inconvenient Reality.” The report, authored by Drew Johnson, examined records of energy usage at Gore’s colonial-style 20-room mansion in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, the eighth-wealthiest neighborhood in America according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Photo: AP Images
This article appears in the September 4, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
The Gore mansion, with five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and two half-baths on a 2.09-acre lot, was purchased by the Gores in 2002 for $2.3 million. Among the details revealed in “Al Gore’s Inconvenient Reality” are these points:
• The past year, Gore’s home energy use averaged 19,241 kilowatt hours (kWh) every month, compared to the U.S. household average of 901 kWh per month.
• Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.
• In September of 2016, Gore’s home consumed 30,993 kWh in just one month — as much energy as a typical American family burns in 34 months.
• During the last 12 months, Gore devoured 66,159 kWh of electricity just heating his pool. That is enough energy to power six average U.S. households for a year.
• From August 2016 through July 2017, Gore spent almost $22,000 on electricity bills.
• Gore paid an estimated $60,000 to install 33 solar panels. They produce an average of 1,092 kWh per month, only 5.7% of Gore’s typical monthly energy consumption.
Gore Earns “Energy Hog” Rating
The Gore mansion consumed 22.9 kWh per square foot during the past 12 months, more than four times what an energy efficient home should use, according to Energy Vanguard, a company devoted to making homes more energy efficient. Homes that consume more than 20 kWh of electricity per square foot per year earn Energy Vanguard’s worst rating: “energy hog.” Gore qualified for that dubious distinction.
But Gore’s “energy hog” mansion scandal is only part of the story. As Johnson observes in his report, Gore’s Tennessee mansion energy consumption is all the more staggering when one considers that Al is presumably living there alone and part-time. The Gores’ four children are grown and do not live at the home. Al and Tipper Gore separated in 2010 (but apparently never divorced), and Tipper lives in a luxurious ocean-front villa in Montecito, California (alongside Hollywood celebrity neighbors Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Drew Barrymore), that the couple bought in 2010 for $9 million.
Al Gore has another luxury town home at the St. Regis Tower in San Francisco’s ritzy waterfront area. According to Liveinsf.com, a site that specializes in luxury real estate, the St. Regis Tower provides “spectacular views of the city and bay.” Moreover, the website continues, “Amenities at the building include 24-hour room service, butler service, a fitness center, spa, lap pool, even a world class restaurant that’s been receiving rave reviews.” Butlers, spa, room service — nice, but a little plushy, no? Where’s all the sacrifice?!
Then there is the Gores’ historic family farmhouse and property in Carthage, Tennessee. Added to all this are all of Preacher Al’s globe-hopping, carbon-spewing private jet and limo trips to Davos, Switzerland (to hobnob with the billionaire titans of the World Economic Forum); Cannes, France (to hobnob with his Hollywood celebrity pals); New York; San Francisco; London; Paris; and on and on.
Gore and his defenders offer two main arguments aimed at disarming the potent hypocrisy charges of critics. First, they claim that Gore compensates for his “Energy Hog” usage with investments in “clean energy” and “carbon offsets.” But as noted above, Gore’s solar panels provide for only 5.7 percent of his energy usage. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Gore boldly asserted: “I live a carbon-free lifestyle to the maximum extent possible.” Really? “A carbon-free lifestyle to the maximum extent possible”? What about the other 94.3 percent? And as for those “carbon offsets” he frequently cites, he has never released evidence of the offsets even though he has been repeatedly asked to do so. However, even if he were to compensate for 100 percent of his extravagant energy consumption through alternative energy and offsets, he would still be hypocritical because these are options only available to the wealthy.
Second, the apologists insist that Gore and other wealthy greenies living the champagne-and-caviar lifestyle are not hypocritical because they are not trying to force you to give up any of your lifestyle. That is a ludicrous defense, since virtually every policy proposal he has made — from his Global Marshall Plan for the environment in Earth in the Balance, to his current global Energy Transition Commission — involve schemes for massive carbon taxes, carbon credits, and carbon regulation that will cause energy prices to skyrocket, with devastating impacts on poor and middle-class people all over the planet.
Photo: AP Images