Hollywood Hypocrisy?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," February 27, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: It seems the truth keeps getting more inconvenient for former Vice President Al Gore. A new report from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research shows that the Gore household consumes at least 20 times more energy than the national average.

The report flies in the face of Gore's message about the need to reduce energy emissions, and it also questions whether the former vice president and his legion of Hollywood stars are legitimately leading by example.

Here to discuss this are the stars of "Living with Ed," environmental activist Ed Begley, Jr., and his wife, Rachelle Carson. Also the president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, Drew Johnson, is with us.

All right, Drew, let's go through — and I'm glad you followed up on this — we did an expose, and we discovered that Al Gore — I call him "GulfStream Gore," because he travels around and uses private jets, while he's lecturing us about our SUV use. Tell us what you discovered.

DREW JOHNSON, TENN. CTR. FOR POLICY RESEARCH: Essentially what we found was that the average American uses about 11,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. Al Gore uses 221,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. His bills, last year's electrical bills and his natural gas bills, were a combined $30,000.


Ed Begley, Jr., you know, I was watching the Oscars the other day. And, by the way, I've read a lot about your lifestyle, and I actually find it fairly impressive. You don't travel around in private jets, do you?

ED BEGLEY, JR., ACTOR AND ENVIRONMENTALIST: No, I do not. I mostly drive cross-country or wherever I need to go in a Prius. If I have to be Friday in L.A. and Saturday in New York, I get in a commercial jet like anybody, but I mostly drive my Prius for long distances.

HANNITY: And you live, for example, in a self-sufficient home powered by solar energy that I read, as well, right?

BEGLEY, JR.: Yes, I use $600 a year worth of green power. They have a "green power" program at the LADWP, and to supplement my solar with my new family, extra people in the house and two businesses running out of the house, I use $600 a year worth of "green power" from the city.

HANNITY: All right, now I have disagreements. We'll get into that as the program unfolds here. But you're not being — living a life of a hypocrite.

Now, for example, during the Oscars, when Melissa Etheridge was singing her song from Al Gore's movie, you saw in the background, the signs that said, "Are you ready to change the way you live?" "The climate crisis can be solved." "You can reduce your carbon emissions," et cetera, "weatherize your house," "recycle", "walk", "ride a bike", "use mass transit," et cetera, et cetera.

I think it's important that we identify. If Al Gore is going to carry this message, doesn't he need to walk the walk? And do you have the courage to say, when he travels around in private jets, when he's using this type of energy 20 times the national average, that he's a hypocrite?

BEGLEY, JR.: I think we all need to do more. I think the Gores...

HANNITY: That's not the question.

BEGLEY, JR.: ... need to do more. I think Rachelle and...

HANNITY: I'm asking if Al Gore, "Mr. GulfStream," is he a hypocrite?

BEGLEY, JR.: No, he's not a hypocrite. No! I don't think he's a hypocrite. He's doing a great deal. He's got an unusual life. I don't have a life like Al Gore's. I'm not making presentations all over.


RACHELLE CARSON, "LIVING WITH ED": And he's not the ex-vice president of the United States.

HANNITY: So he's above us, the regular, little people?

BEGLEY, JR.: No. Who's talking about little people? I'm talking about any vice president, stack them up against any vice president, see how he does. He may do well; he may not do well. But let's look at that. Let's look at that.

HANNITY: He needs those three or four homes, the eight bathrooms, the 20-room mansion. He needs the GulfStream to live his life, because he's Al Gore. But the rest of us, we're going to get lectured by him about our SUV use? And you don't see that hypocrisy? That is pure, Class A hypocritical living. Why can't you just acknowledge that?

BEGLEY, JR.: I want to — I'd like to learn more about the multiple homes. I'd like to learn more about this. I'd like to hear his response to all this before I comment. But I can I tell you it's possible to live very simply. I live on very little, and I take public transportation. I ride my...

HANNITY: I'm praising you. You're not a hypocrite. And I read you ride your bike to different Hollywood events, I read recently.

BEGLEY, JR.: Right.

HANNITY: You know, but Al Gore, for example, the average American home consumes 10,656 kilowatt hours. In just the month of August alone, he used twice the national average, and that's only one of his homes.

BEGLEY, JR.: I'd like to talk to him and see his response to this study before I comment on it. I will come back on and I'll give you...


COLMES: Actually, I'll give you his response, Ed and Rachelle and Drew. It's Alan Colmes. Drew, I don't think you're telling the whole story. Gore, for example, bought 108 blocks of green power feeds for the past three months. — That's the equivalent, by the way, according to the national electric service, of 2.48 million aluminum cans. I wonder if you collected that over the last few months.

JOHNSON: The question isn't, did I collect it? I'm not going around telling people that they need to change the light bulbs in their house...

COLMES: But you're not telling the whole story about what Al Gore is doing. You're not acknowledging that he's doing carbon trade-offs and he's doing a number of things that he...

HANNITY: That's a joke.

COLMES: No, it's not a joke. He's actually — you're not telling the whole story.

JOHNSON: The truth behind the carbon trade-offs is that it's a way for people who aren't the living the lifestyle that they espouse...

COLMES: But he is.

JOHNSON: ... to essentially pay off their guilt. That's what he's doing with his carbon trades.

BEGLEY, JR.: That's not true at all.

CARSON: No, I don't agree with you at all.

COLMES: Rachelle, you want to respond?

BEGLEY, JR.: With a TerraPass, you can totally mitigate your carbon footprint. And, keep in mind, if enough people bought TerraPasses, they would at some point go, "Wow, all these bought TerraPasses. Suddenly there's 1,000 times more windmills. Shut down that coal plant. You know what? Shut down two coal plants." It's a very real transaction. Go to TerraPass.com to find out about it.

CARSON: Right.

BEGLEY, JR.: You can see anybody can do this. For $29.95 for a whole year, you can mitigate your CO-2 and carbon footprint.

COLMES: And, Drew, Al Gore is doing things like that. By the way, he's purchasing all his power through a green power switch program. It's 100 percent renewable power. Why aren't you telling that part of the story? All you're doing is attacking Al Gore.

JOHNSON: This power switch program, he's been a member of this power switch program for three months. This power switch program does...

COLMES: He just bought a new house. He's new in the neighborhood.

JOHNSON: No, he's not. He's been in the same neighborhood for years.

COLMES: Well, he's got a new house, and he's putting solar panels in.

CARSON: Doesn't he have a horse ranch or something? Is it a horse ranch or...

JOHNSON: He's got the same electrical lines running into his house that I have running in my house in Nashville.

COLMES: And he's adding solar panels. You're not adding that.

JOHNSON: Good. He well should add solar panels, if this man is spending 20 times — consuming 20 times the national average in energy. He darn well should. And the issue here is that he's being hypocritical about it.

HANNITY: All right, we're going to come back. We'll deal with this carbon offset, which is a crock, when we get back, in just a moment.


COLMES: And we now continue with the stars of "Living with Ed," actors and environmentalists Ed Begley, Jr., and Rachelle Carson, and the president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, Drew Johnson.

Rachelle, let me get you in here. You know, there are simple things everybody can do, and yet there are some people in denial about this, as Al Gore does, by the way, which is to use fluorescent bulbs and energy efficient measures, purchasing "offsets," which some people like to denounce. But that's something anybody can do to kind of reduce their footprint, right?

CARSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. Pick the low-hanging fruit, as my expert here, my husband, would say, you know. Compact fluorescent bulbs, a few hours a day, or a few hours a week even, get out of your car. Walk. You know, take public transportation, if that's at all possible.

COLMES: The problem is that there are people are in denial about this. I mean, you've got people like Tom Knutson, a climate research scientist at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton who says the Bush administration officials have twice blocked him from discussing with reporters a possible connection between global warming and hurricanes, for example.

There are people who are "flat-Earthers" on this who don't want to see what scientists all over the world are saying.

CARSON: I guess it's very convenient for them to do that, isn't it?

BEGLEY, JR.: Well, the good news, nowadays, anybody, even if you don't have a computer, you can go to the library, and get on a computer, and you can go to any peer-reviewed study, any site that you respect, like NASA, you can go to NOAA, you can go to National Geographic, whoever you respect in the world of science and study, and you can see some peer- reviewed studies about these things that we're talking about and then make your own decision.

Don't take it from me, and don't take it from anybody else. Go and check a reputable site. Talk to someone with PhD after their name.

CARSON: Please.

COLMES: And Drew, do you concur that, indeed, this is an issue, that this is also partly a manmade issue, and that this is something that has to be addressed, and we shouldn't personalize it? You want to make it about Al Gore and attack people and smear somebody, who's probably done more to bring awareness to this than any other single person currently in the United States.

JOHNSON: What I believe is that environmentalists should be outraged that they have a hypocrite leading the balance...

COLMES: Where's the hypocrisy?

JOHNSON: And people like the Begleys are people who should be followed. They should be carrying the mantel on this issue. I firmly support the Begleys and applaud what they're doing. And environmentalists should be outraged that somebody's spending — or consuming 20 times more energy than the average American.

COLMES: With offsets. With solar panels being installed. With redoing their new home in order to be as carbon efficient as possible.

JOHNSON: Listen, if he's got these solar panels and he's still using 20 times more electricity than the average American, then he's got some real problems.

HANNITY: I'm sorry, Drew.

Ed, let me go to you. Look, and I've got to tell you, you're following your own heart. You've done your research. My research comes to a very different conclusion on the issue of global warming. And I have a lot of scientists and experts that back up my position. I like the fact that you encourage people to read up on it.

BEGLEY, JR.: Here, here.

HANNITY: And if you want to encourage people to change their life and live the way you are, I have no problem with that at all.

You know, but this idea of carbon offset, you know, Al Gore is using a tremendous amount of energy. And yet he's lecturing people on their use of an SUV, for example.

You know, carbon offset or carbon offset, you know, shouldn't he just be cutting his use and leading by example? Wouldn't you say to anybody like Al Gore...

BEGLEY, JR.: Absolutely, we all should.

HANNITY: ... get off your private plane

BEGLEY, JR.: We all should use less energy. Rachelle and I should. You should. You know, everybody should. The Gores certainly should. We all should use less energy. I think it's possible.

And I want to tell you one thing. The most important thing I'll say in the show: Everything that I've done, "for the environment," since 1970, has been not only good for the environment, it's been good for my pocketbook. I have a very low monthly nut.

CARSON: He's a conservative in a way, you know?

BEGLEY, JR.: I'm a conservative. I like to conserve.

HANNITY: As long as you don't support legislation to take away my SUV, as long as you're not forcing your values on me and you want to make the case to encourage people, I'm all for free speech. You know, look, if you guys want to live in a house with candles, I don't even care. I could care less.

BEGLEY, JR.: Well, we have a lot of compact fluorescents. We have a very energy-efficient house.

CARSON: I have a few candles.

BEGLEY, JR.: But there's lots of subsidies for coal, and gas, and what have you, and so there's subsidies for big SUVs. So you want a totally level playing field, I'd go down that road with you. That's fine by me.

HANNITY: Listen, I would like to see the day that cars are run on water and I don't have to pay the price of a gallon of gasoline. I think that would be great.

CARSON: Right, here, here.

HANNITY: And I think, in the short term, we ought to drill anywhere we can within the United States, lessen our dependency on foreign oil. In the long-term, work with Detroit, work with our engineers, build new technologies.

But global warming, as I see it, is nothing but right now hysteria, just like 30 years ago, the first Earth Day they were holding up signs that the next ice age is coming.

JOHNSON: You know, Al Gore is just pimping this issue for political gain.

BEGLEY, JR.: I don't think it's hysteria.

HANNITY: That's right.

JOHNSON: Al Gore is pimping this issue for political gain.

CARSON: I don't think he's doing anything for political gain.

JOHNSON: Listen, environmentalists need to follow people like the Begleys, who do a wonderful job, and not have someone who consumes more energy than most Americans.

COLMES: We've got to run.

Drew, we thank you very much. Rachelle, Ed, thank you both for being with us.

BEGLEY, JR.: Thank you.

CARSON: Thank you.

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