Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"An Inconvenient Truth" "An Inconvenient Truth"

Taranto in his:Best of the Web Today picked up on the indulgences meme.
"An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's global-warming horror flick, picked up an Oscar the other night for Best Documentary. Yesterday the Tennessee Center for Policy Research issued an inconvenient report on Gore's own personal "carbon footprint." The center obtained utility records from Gore's mansion "located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville":
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh--more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh--guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore's average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore's energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore's extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore's mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.
The Tennessean reports, however, that Gore is buying his indulgences:
Gore purchased 108 blocks of "green power" for each of the past three months, according to a summary of the bills.

That's a total of $432 a month Gore paid extra for solar or other renewable energy sources. . . .

"Every family has a different carbon footprint," said Kalee Krider, a spokeswoman for Gore. The Gores' 10,000-square-foot house on Lynnwood Boulevard has a large one.

The Green Power Switch program isn't all that Gore and his wife, Tipper, are doing, Krider said.

They use compact fluorescent light bulbs and are in the midst of a renovation project that includes having solar panels installed on their home to reduce fossil fuel consumption, she said.

Their car? A Lexis hybrid SUV.

"They, of course, also do the carbon emissions offset," she said.

That means figuring out how much carbon is emitted from home power use, and vehicle and plane travel, then paying for projects that will offset that with use of renewable energy, such as solar power.
Not every wealthy politician lives in a vast private mansion, and TreeHugger.com reports on one who lives more simply:
Is it possible that George Bush is a secret Green? Evidently his Crawford Winter White House has 25,000 gallons of rainwater storage, gray water collection from sinks and showers for irrigation, passive solar, geothermal heating and cooling. "By marketplace standards, the house is startlingly small," says David Heymann, the architect of the 4,000-square-foot home. "Clients of similar ilk are building 16-to-20,000-square-foot houses." Furthermore for thermal mass the walls are clad in "discards of a local stone called Leuders limestone, which is quarried in the area. The 12-to-18-inch-thick stone has a mix of colors on the top and bottom, with a cream- colored center that most people want. "They cut the top and bottom of it off because nobody really wants it," Heymann says. "So we bought all this throwaway stone. It's fabulous. It's got great color and it is relatively inexpensive."
Of course we don't begrudge Gore his life of luxury--only his sanctimonious insistence that the rest of us sacrifice our comforts to the dubious god of global warming. And there's no reason he couldn't live in a smaller house and throw his money at solar power.

The New York Post, meanwhile, reports that some celebrities are getting their global-warming indulgences free:
Hollywood's wealthy liberals can now avoid any guilt they might feel for consuming so much non-renewable fossil fuel in their private jets, their SUVs, and their multiple air-conditioned mansions. This year's Oscar goodie bag contained gift certificates representing 100,000 pounds of greenhouse gas reductions from TerraPass, which describes itself as a "carbon offset retailer."

The 100,000 pounds "are enough to balance out an average year in the life of an Academy Award presenter," a press release from TerraPass asserts. "For example, 100,000 pounds is the total amount of carbon dioxide created by 20,000 miles of driving, 40,000 miles on commercial airlines, 20 hours in a private jet and a large house in Los Angeles.

The greenhouse gas reductions will be accomplished through TerraPass' [program] of verified wind energy, cow power [collecting methane from manure] and efficiency projects." Voila, guilt-free consumption!
Come to think of it, Gore was at the Oscars, so he probably got one of those "goodie bags" too.
Great - the Oscar goodie bag contained carbon indulgences this year, allowing the recipients to feel guilt free about their prolifigate energy use, while pushing the rest of us who can't afford indulgences to cut down on our energy usage.

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