Junk Science: Al Gore's Epic Hypocrisy

Al Gore imagines that future poets will be singing his praises 1,000 years from now. In the meantime back on Planet Earth, he may have to settle for the slings and arrows that he deserves for his epic hypocrisy.

A year after the Tennessee Center for Policy Research exposed Gore’s prodigious personal use of electricity at his Nashville mansion (20 times the national average), the center reported this week that Gore’s personal electricity consumption during the past year actually increased by 10 percent.

So while he campaigns for Americans to curtail their electricity use — you should take cold showers, forego air conditioning and dry your clothes on a clothesline — Gore is plugging in and turning on more than ever.

He tried to defend himself by stating that his family "has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power …, installing solar panels and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy-saving technology."

But aside from increased energy use not being consistent with Gore’s preaching about downsizing our lifestyles, it’s worth noting that his personal energy use increased despite using energy saving devices and solar power.

During a time of an alleged crisis, the profile of his personal power consumption is more akin to "greed" than "green"; moreover, the environmental impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s "green power" program from which Gore buys high-priced energy are murky, if not downright trivial.

Only 0.05 percent of TVA’s power is "green" and TVA acknowledges its green power program still produces greenhouse gases. All Gore really knows about any alleged benefits is that he pays an extra $4 for every 150-kilowatt hours of "green power" purchased.

He also says he has purchased "carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint." It’s not at all clear, however, that carbon offsets actually offset anything. Carbon offsets and the industry that sells them are so dubious that Congress and the Federal Trade Commission launched investigations of them last year.

Gore’s electric bill is outpaced only by his amped-up rhetoric and chutzpah. In his new slideshow, a sort of "Son of An Inconvenient Truth," Gore ironically chides those who "talk the talk" but don’t "walk the walk" when it comes to saving the planet.

In observing that religion is about behavior rather than belief and citing Gandhi’s "you must become the change that you wish to see in the world," Gore says, "… the outcome about which we wish to be optimistic is not going to be created by the belief alone except to the extent the belief brings about new behavior."

Well, we’ve seen Gore’s behavior with respect to his personal energy consumption and it certainly doesn’t match up with the alleged beliefs he continually broadcasts through a gullible media to a gullible public. Gore’s new slideshow goes on to expand the definition of behavior.

"As important as it is to change the light bulbs, it is more important to change the laws," he says.

Here’s where it gets more interesting. The laws that Gore is referring to, of course, are those that would provide subsidies to and mandates for the alternative energy industry. Gore spotlights a number of these companies, including Smart Car; Amyris Biotechnologies; Altra Biofuels; Mascoma (cellulosic ethanol); Great Point Energy (biomass-to-gas and carbon capture technology); Altarock Energy (geothermal energy); Bloomenergy (fuel cells); Missole (solar technology); and Ausra (solar technology).

As the companies; corporate logos flash on the screen, Gore states: "Here are just a few of the investments that I personally think make sense. I have a stake in these."

Putting aside the questionable legality of Gore’s promotion of his investments — conduct that could very well be contrary to federal and state securities laws that forbid an unlicensed individual from promoting unregistered securities to the public — it seems that it’s important to change the laws so that Gore can expand the $100 million-plus fortune he’s already accumulated since leaving public service in 2001.

Without laws that either mandate the adoption of alternative energies or subsidize their use, society has little use for these inefficient and not-ready-for-prime-time alternative energy technologies. While showing an image of the founding fathers signing the Declaration of Independence, Gore calls for a new "hero generation" to save us from the "planetary emergency."

He apparently sees himself as a 21st century Ben Franklin. But while the founding fathers risked their lives and fortunes in the pursuit of political freedom and self-government, Gore risks just a small part of his vast fortune in pursuit of potentially huge profits that will come at the expense of our pocketbooks and freedoms.

He can hardly be called heroic. Even more grandiosely, Gore sums up his slideshow by stating, "I think we ought to approach this challenge with a sense of profound joy and gratitude that we are the generation about which a thousand years from now, philharmonic orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying 'they were the ones that found it within themselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future.'"

Move over, Achilles and Hector. Make room for Gore-acles, the hero of the future epic "The Iliad (Global Warming Edition)."

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and DemandDebate.com. He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.