Last year the Tennessee Center for Policy Research made quite a splash with a press release on Al Gore’s energy usage:

In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh–more than 20 times the national average.

They’ve just released figures for the past year

In the past year, Gore’s home burned through 213,210 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to power 232 average American households for a month.

Feel free to check my calculations, but I think that 213,210 is less than 221,000. Honest folks who report this but want to criticize Gore might write something like: “Gore doesn’t reduce his energy consumption very much.” But the TCPR aren’t honest folks. Here’s what their report said:

Gore’s personal electricity consumption up 10%, despite “energy-efficient” home renovations

And when Drudge linked, the text he used was “REPORT: Gore’s personal electricity consumption ‘up 10%’…” Naturally all the Gore-hating bloggers repeated this false claim, including, of course, Glenn Reynolds(“Lots of talk, but more bloated than ever. It’s almost like a metaphor.”) and Don Surber, who was fooled by the TCPR’s deceitful comparison of a year of Gore’s consumption for his home and office with just month for an average home.


The multi-millionaire “environmentalist” no longer consumes the electricity consumed by 20 normal people.

He now uses the electricity used by 232 mere mortals.

A commenter pointed out his error and Surber changed 232 to 19.333, but apparently without noticing that ithis meant that Gore’s energy use had gone down.

And that’s using the numbers from the TCPR. Gore’s spokeswoman Kalee Kreider says the real numbers are rather different:

In fact, over the past year the Gores’ utility bills have dropped 40 percent, thanks largely to the house’s spanking new geothermal heating and cooling system, which has reduced the Gores’ natural gas bill by 90 percent in the past year. …

Kreider pointed out that the renovations weren’t complete until November, so it’s a bit early to be attempting before-and-after comparisons. In addition, the Gores participate in the Nashville Electric Service’s Green Power Switch Program, which allows them to buy their electricity from renewable sources like wind power, solar power or methane gas from landfills (the house’s 33 solar panels only supply 4 percent of its power needs, per Kreider.) So any energy they burn won’t be burning them a bigger carbon footprint.

Comments

  1. #1 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    > If in fact Gore were using 100% CO2 neutral energy sources, then a reduction in his personal energy use would have zero effect on CO2 emissions. This is fairly obvious.

    This may be obvious to you, but it is wrong for the reasons I explained above (#135, #157). (At least it is wrong if by “using 100% CO2 neutral” you mean “paying some extra money for his electricity, some of which reaches the a renewable energy source operator”.)

    > Perhaps in a communist system, it might seem reasonable to do such things as having the government dictate how many miles a person is allowed to travel.

    Surely, only in such a totalitarian society would the government be able to dictate how much noise a person can make and at what hours, or where a house can be built, or whether one is allowed to hunt a certain type of animal, or where a person is allowed to go to.

  2. #2 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    > so, the president of the US and I, for example, allowed the same emissions for our household, transportation needs, etc. thanks!

    In his personal capacity, I cannot see why the President should be allowed more emissions than the common citizen – this is, after all, not a monarchy.

    As for emissions needed for government business, those the government can purchase from citizens who have managed to run a surplus and are willing to sell it. The same goes for any other enterprise.

  3. #3 trrll
    June 24, 2008

    This may be obvious to you, but it is wrong for the reasons I explained above (#135, #157). (At least it is wrong if by “using 100% CO2 neutral” you mean “paying some extra money for his electricity, some of which reaches the a renewable energy source operator”.)

    By “CO2 neutral” I mean, amazingly enough, exactly what I said–i.e. producing no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. By definition, no change, whether increase or decrease, in utilization of a CO2 neutral energy source can have any direct impact on atmospheric CO2 levels. This is obviously a limiting case, of course. Certain energy sources are in fact inherently CO2 neutral in that they do not require oxidizing a carbon fuel. Or energy production may be made CO2 neutral by coupling it to some activity that sequesters an equivalent amount of CO2. A particular source of energy may not be perfectly CO2 neutral. Nevertheless, the impact on CO2 pollution of a reduction in energy utilization will be diminished proportionately to the extent to which that energy source approaches the ideal of CO2 neutrality. Nothing in your messages #135 and 157 refutes this rather obvious conclusion.

    Surely, only in such a totalitarian society would the government be able to dictate how much noise a person can make and at what hours, or where a house can be built, or whether one is allowed to hunt a certain type of animal, or where a person is allowed to go to.

    So you are arguing that there is no meaningful distinction between a society normally regarded as “totalitarian” (Soviet Russia, for example) and one such as our own in which their are restrictions as to where and when certain activities may be conducted? Such a Humpty Dumpty re-definition of “totalitarian” deprives the word of all meaning.

  4. #4 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 24, 2008

    Sortition posts:

    My point is that he advocates a policy that gives the rich (such as Gore himself) unlimited pollution rights, while restricting those of the average person.

    Your point is false.

  5. #5 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 24, 2008

    Sortition posts:

    In his personal capacity, I cannot see why the President should be allowed more emissions than the common citizen – this is, after all, not a monarchy.

    But the point is, he doesn’t just use energy in “his personal capacity.” He uses more because he lives in a big house (it’s called the White House), maintains a large staff, and has to travel a lot, sometimes around the world.

  6. #6 Sortition
    June 24, 2008

    >> This may be obvious to you, but it is wrong for the reasons I explained above (#135, #157). (At least it is wrong if by “using 100% CO2 neutral” you mean “paying some extra money for his electricity, some of which reaches the a renewable energy source operator”.)

    > By “CO2 neutral” I mean, amazingly enough, exactly what I said–i.e. producing no net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The word in question is “using”. In what way can you say that Gore is “using” a certain energy source? Since a whole set of energy sources are connected to the electricity network, and since Gore is connected to the same network that everybody else in his area is, there is no physical sense in which Gore is “using” a certain source of electricity.

    “Amazingly enough”, then, we are reduced to interpreting payments made from one party to another as a substitute for the physical connection. As it turns out, this substitute does not have the properties that allow doing the kind of accounting that you are attempting to do.

    > So you are arguing that there is no meaningful distinction between a society normally regarded as “totalitarian” (Soviet Russia, for example) and one such as our own in which their are restrictions as to where and when certain activities may be conducted?

    Not at all – there certainly are differences. The point is that there is no reason to think that a restriction on emissions is any more totalitarian than the other behavior restrictions already made by our government.

  7. #7 Sortition
    June 24, 2008

    > Sortition posts:

    >> My point is that he advocates a policy that gives the rich (such as Gore himself) unlimited pollution rights, while restricting those of the average person.

    > Your point is false.

    How so? The emission tax or the cap-and-trade system that Gore and his ilk promote would increase the cost of CO2 pollution to a level where most people would have to reduce their pollution level. At the same time, if the average person is going to be able to afford any energy, the cost is going to be low enough so as to allow the rich to afford virtually unlimited pollution levels.

  8. #8 Sortition
    June 24, 2008

    > Sortition posts:

    >> In his personal capacity, I cannot see why the President should be allowed more emissions than the common citizen – this is, after all, not a monarchy.

    > But the point is, he doesn’t just use energy in “his personal capacity.” He uses more because he lives in a big house (it’s called the White House), maintains a large staff, and has to travel a lot, sometimes around the world.

    As is quite obvious, and as I wrote in the part of my comment that you omitted, emissions due to official activities would not count against the president’s personal quota, in much the same way that the president doesn’t pay his staff from his own pocket.

  9. #9 sod
    June 24, 2008

    As is quite obvious, and as I wrote in the part of my comment that you omitted, emissions due to official activities would not count against the president’s personal quota, in much the same way that the president doesn’t pay his staff from his own pocket.

    so should a (former) president/vice president have an extra spare room in his 3 room flat, in case the prince of Zamunda pops in with his entourage?

    come on sortition, this is stupid!

  10. #10 Sortition
    June 24, 2008

    > come on sortition, this is stupid!

    Obviously I am not showing the proper feudal spirit.

  11. #11 anthony
    June 24, 2008

    What tortures me is that I’ll bet there are rich folks eatin’ in a fancy dining car. They’re probably drinkin’ coffee, and smokin’ big cigars.

  12. #12 trrll
    June 24, 2008

    The word in question is “using”. In what way can you say that Gore is “using” a certain energy source? Since a whole set of energy sources are connected to the electricity network, and since Gore is connected to the same network that everybody else in his area is, there is no physical sense in which Gore is “using” a certain source of electricity.

    Apparently, you have the notion that energy companies just dump energy randomly out on the network for whoever happens to pick it up, and that there is no relationship between what they are paid and the amount of energy they produce. In real life, of course, companies do not produce energy that they are not being paid for. No matter what its source, all methods of energy production have costs associated with running and maintaining the equipment required for producing and transmitting energy. Equipment is continually breaking down and being replaced. Obviously, it is bad business to operate and maintain equipment to produce more electricity than you are being paid for. Fossil-fuel based generating plants typically have multiple generators, and by running fewer generators, they save substantial amounts of money on fuel and equipment maintenance. If they have fewer customers (because some of their customers are buying CO2-neutral or CO2-sparing energy), they will run fewer generators and produce less CO2. Accounting methods for achieving this are well established, and do not require placing a tag on each individual electron. Do you really not understand this, or are you being deliberately obtuse?

    Not at all – there certainly are differences. The point is that there is no reason to think that a restriction on emissions is any more totalitarian than the other behavior restrictions already made by our government.

    On the contrary, we already have general regulations on air travel analogous to the zoning restrictions you characterize as totalitarian–restrictions on when and where planes can fly. What we don’t have are restrictions on the size and number of houses a particular individual can build or own, how many children they can have, or how many miles they may travel. Such individual restrictions are characteristic of governments that we normally refer to as totalitarian.

  13. #13 z
    June 24, 2008

    “In his personal capacity, I cannot see why the President should be allowed more emissions than the common citizen – this is, after all, not a monarchy.”

    but at some level of responsibility, your “job” is not what you do, so much as who you are, 24 hours a day. if bush flies to speak at some university commencement, is that his personal life, his service to the country, or something for the benefit of the republican party?

    a question occurs to me; aside from advocating that all people have the same rights to carbon emissions, do you advocate that all people have the same rights to, say healthcare? just trying to pigeonhole your particular position.

  14. #14 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 25, 2008

    Cap and trade works. It works without being intrusive into people’s daily lives. It struck a huge blow against acid rain damage to forests and lakes in the US when the first Bush administration (1989-1992) put it in place against sulfur oxide emissions. To suggest that a micromanaged scheme with individual permits even COULD be more efficient is ludricrous. And frankly, yes, people with more money will always be able to spend more than people with less money. Funny how that works.

  15. #15 Robin Levett
    June 25, 2008

    @Sortition (#197):

    I am not really concerned about Gore’s personal character. My point is that he advocates a policy that gives the rich (such as Gore himself) unlimited pollution rights, while restricting those of the average person.

    Others have pointed out that this is, putting it politely, either a lie or an indication of massive failure of reading comprehension; I will leave it at that.

    [Gore has a large household.] But it doesn’t suit your argument, so you’ll ignore it.

    No – it is Gore who ignores it. This shows how he sees things – as long as you can pay for your consumption (including the emissions tax), you can consume recklessly.

    This I don’t understand; you have expressly said that you will ignore the size of the Gore establishment. Your stated justification is that Gore has not chosen to rely upon this himself – but that doesn’t change the fact that you are deliberately, while recognising that Gore could rely upon it in his own defence, ignoring the size of the household.

    In case you hadn’t worked this out; I hold no brief for Gore. I first became interested in the issues of AGW well before I heard of AIT; it was a pleasant surprise to learn that a prominent US politician appeared to “get it”. My issue here is your behaviour in this thread, which seems to me to consist of attributing to Gore positions he does not hold, and then calling him hypocritical for failing to live up to them – while at the same time taking a very partial (in both senses) view of the facts.

    You also ignore the fact that his kwh/sf usage – despite the building being pre Civil War – is actually less than the regional average.

    What is the justification for normalizing by home area? We might as well normalize by consumer body weight.

    Two reasons. One – the house is large in part because of the size of the houehold and the fact that two businesses are being carried on in it. Two – it shows he is walking the walk so far as energy efficiency in the house is concerned, because an antebellum mansion would be expected to be well above the local average in psf energy usage. Why was none of this obvious to you?

  16. #16 Sortition
    June 25, 2008

    Barton Paul Levenson,

    At first it was, simply (#204):

    > Sortition posts:

    >> My point is that he advocates a policy that gives the rich (such as Gore himself) unlimited pollution rights, while restricting those of the average person.

    > Your point is false.

    But now, without addressing my reply (#207) or this original point at all, you are making a completely different argument (#214):

    > Cap and trade works.

    This seems intellectually dishonest. Either defend your original assertion or acknowledge your mistake before changing your argument.

  17. #17 Sortition
    June 25, 2008

    > They’re probably drinkin’ coffee, and smokin’ big cigars.

    Probably. But they are surely polluting our atmosphere.

  18. #18 Sortition
    June 25, 2008

    > No matter what its source, all methods of energy production have costs associated with running and maintaining the equipment required for producing and transmitting energy.

    Sure, but if method A (fossil) has higher running costs than method B (wind) then all plants using method A would be idled before any plant using method B. Due to the low running costs of wind energy plants, even in the case where there is no special demand for wind energy at all and thus no premium is paid to wind energy compared to fossil, all wind energy plants would still operate at full capacity.

    BTW, let’s avoid comments regarding obtuseness, we each have our own opinion on who is being obtuse.

    > What we don’t have are restrictions on the size and number of houses a particular individual can build or own, how many children they can have, or how many miles they may travel.

    As an aside, let me comment that in fact we do have such restrictions. They are not explicit but they exist nonetheless since people with limited means (i.e., most of the population) have significant restrictions on housing, number of children and travel.

    > Such individual restrictions are characteristic of governments that we normally refer to as totalitarian.

    Explicit legal restrictions on pollution are very common in Western societies.

  19. #19 Sortition
    June 25, 2008

    > if bush flies to speak at some university commencement, is that his personal life, his service to the country, or something for the benefit of the republican party?

    That would be up to some regulator to decide, in much the same way that the regulator decides which expenses of the president are reimbursable.

    > do you advocate that all people have the same rights to, say healthcare?

    Absolutely. I am somewhat of an egalitarian. Certainly things like natural resources (such as the CO2 absorption capacity of the Earth) should be distributed equally.

  20. #20 sod
    June 26, 2008

    Sure, but if method A (fossil) has higher running costs than method B (wind) then all plants using method A would be idled before any plant using method B. Due to the low running costs of wind energy plants, even in the case where there is no special demand for wind energy at all and thus no premium is paid to wind energy compared to fossil, all wind energy plants would still operate at full capacity.

    this is based on a lot of assumptions, most of them are false.

    the most important one is a fixed number of both method A and B.

    in reality the use of windpower is INCREASING. a change from coal to windpower will have a direct effect on this growth rate.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/31/Prediction2007s.jpg/400px-Prediction2007s.jpg

  21. #21 Sortition
    June 26, 2008

    Robin Levett (#215),

    >> My point is that he advocates a policy that gives the rich (such as Gore himself) unlimited pollution rights, while restricting those of the average person.

    > Others have pointed out that this is, putting it politely, either a lie or an indication of massive failure of reading comprehension; I will leave it at that.

    “Putting it politely”, this is nonsense. Either reference a convincing argument or give one yourself. Cryptically insinuating the existence of such an argument is no substitute for explicating it.

    > This I don’t understand; you have expressly said that you will ignore the size of the Gore establishment.

    To the contrary, I did mention this argument (#174). What I said is that I am not going to make this argument in Gore’s name since he obviously considers it irrelevant. The fact that he considers it irrelevant is the crucial point here, since, as I mentioned before, Gore’s personal behavior is not important except as an indicator of the policies he is pushing.

    > [T]he house is large in part because of the size of the houehold and the fact that two businesses are being carried on in it.

    Obviously, the right way to normalize is by number of people in the household. Using area as a proxy for number of people in the household does not make sense since in many cases it is a very poor proxy.

    > [Low energy/home area] shows he is walking the walk so far as energy efficiency in the house is concerned, because an antebellum mansion would be expected to be well above the local average in psf energy usage.

    No it does not. If Gore was really walking the walk, he would reduce his home size (i.e., leave part of it unused – unheated and unlighted) and thus reduce his total energy usage rather than his area-normalized energy usage.

  22. #22 Sortition
    June 26, 2008

    > this is based on a lot of assumptions, most of them are false.

    I agree that we are arguing here using an abstract economic model here, the validity of which is doubtful. The usage of such a model, however, was not introduced by me but by anyone claiming that “Gore uses green energy”. As I pointed out above, this statement has no physical meaning and relies on an economic proxy to the physics.

    The concrete question is “is there a reasonable chance that if Gore stops paying for `green energy` then this will result in the idling of any `green energy` facility for any length of time?”

    I think that it is pretty clear that the answer to this question is “no.” I have not seen any reasonable argument to support the idea that the answer is “yes”, much less a convincing quantification of the purported idled capacity.

  23. #23 trrll
    June 27, 2008

    Sure, but if method A (fossil) has higher running costs than method B (wind) then all plants using method A would be idled before any plant using method B. Due to the low running costs of wind energy plants, even in the case where there is no special demand for wind energy at all and thus no premium is paid to wind energy compared to fossil, all wind energy plants would still operate at full capacity.

    If the time comes when wind energy plants can supply all of the energy needed at lower cost, then all of the fossil fuel plants will be idled, and all of the energy sold will be CO2 neutral. Gore would not have to seek to buy “green” energy because no other kind would be available. This is not currently the case.

    As an aside, let me comment that in fact we do have such restrictions. They are not explicit but they exist nonetheless since people with limited means (i.e., most of the population) have significant restrictions on housing, number of children and travel.

    Now you are simply obfuscating. We were talking about explicit restrictions on how much housing, how many children, or how much an individual person can travel regardless of income. You are arguing, for example, that nobody should be allowed to fly more than a certain number of miles, even if they can afford the fare.

  24. #24 Robin Levett
    June 27, 2008

    @Sortition (#222):

    The concrete question is “is there a reasonable chance that if Gore stops paying for green energy then this will result in the idling of any green energy facility for any length of time?”

    No, that is not the concrete question to ask. The “concrete question” to ask is “If USAans follow Gore’s lead and demand green energy, will the power utilities install more green capacity that when built will then be run at full capacity in priority to non-green, resulting in idling of a greater quantity of non-green capacity?”. By concentrating on reduction in demand day by day, you ignore the economic realities of supply and demand. Accepting your own argument, an increase in demand for green energy results in a ratchet effect whereby green production displaces non-green.

    I am on my way to work – I will deal with your other post later. In the meantime you can consider what the CO2 emissions from Gore’s mansion would have been had it been bought by someone without his green priorities; and ponder on the fact that the bigger the house, all things being equal, the greater its energy requirement.

  25. #25 Sortition
    June 27, 2008

    > “If USAans follow Gore’s lead and demand green energy, will the power utilities install more green capacity that when built will then be run at full capacity in priority to non-green, resulting in idling of a greater quantity of non-green capacity?”

    Maybe, in some undetermined future. But “If USAans follow Gore’s lead” and consume 19x the current average, the disaster would be certain and immediate.

    Of course, I am not objecting to Gore’s “use” of green power, I am objecting to idea that the amount of energy he consumes does not matter because he “uses” green energy.

  26. #26 Sortition
    June 27, 2008

    > You are arguing, for example, that nobody should be allowed to fly more than a certain number of miles, even if they can afford the fare.

    Yes. If we want to limit pollution, we need to limit air mileage. I think that limiting it using an fixed per-capita cap is much more fair than having a system which allows the rich to buy the right to pollute.

  27. #27 trrll
    June 27, 2008

    Yes. If we want to limit pollution, we need to limit air mileage. I think that limiting it using an fixed per-capita cap is much more fair than having a system which allows the rich to buy the right to pollute.

    So what it ultimately comes down to is that you are criticizing Gore for following the CO2 reduction strategies that he advocates, rather than the authoritarian government-enforced quotas that you would like him to advocate.

  28. #28 Robin Levett
    June 28, 2008

    @Sortition (#225):

    But “If USAans follow Gore’s lead” and consume 19x the current average, the disaster would be certain and immediate.

    Your continual comparison of apples with oranges is getting a little tired, and was always more than a little dishonest. Add in your energy usage at work, and getting to work, and then do the comparison with what Gore and his staff use per capita.

    Maybe, in some undetermined future.

    Beg pardon? Assuming that the power generators don’t supply non-green power to green consumers, why “in some undetermined future”? Are you saying that the law of supply and demand is just some outmoded fad amongst economists?

    Of course, I am not objecting to Gore’s “use” of green power, I am objecting to idea that the amount of energy he consumes does not matter because he “uses” green energy.

    Then stop accusing him of hypocrisy for acting according to his view that USAans can maintain their standard of living while reducing missions by switching to green power where possible and covering the rest with carbon credits.

  29. #29 Robin Levett
    June 28, 2008

    Sorry:

    Of course, I am not objecting to Gore’s “use” of green power, I am objecting to idea that the amount of energy he consumes does not matter because he “uses” green energy.

    was a quote from Sortition; that’ll teach me to preview and not blindly rely on my typing.

  30. #30 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 28, 2008

    Sortition writes:

    I think that limiting it using an fixed per-capita cap is much more fair than having a system which allows the rich to buy the right to pollute.

    I think, at this point, that Sortition is working for the denialists, trying to get people to agree with the trope that fighting global warming means harsh rationing, personal sacrifice, and leveling of incomes. I suppose it’s possible that he really believes this nonsense; is some sort of anarcho-primitive or perhaps an admirer of North Korea, but I think it’s more likely he’s just stringing us along. Time to stop responding, for me at least.

  31. #31 slpage
    June 28, 2008

    Isn’t it funny how neocons have hissy fits about Gore being an environmentalist and using so much electricity but defend to extremes those right-wing pro-war uberpatriots who nevertheless refuse to serve in the military…

  32. #32 Sortition
    June 28, 2008

    > So what it ultimately comes down to is that you are criticizing Gore for following the CO2 reduction strategies that he advocates[.]

    This is essentially correct. My point is that the strategies he advocates are unfair, as his own behavior demonstrates. Another, secondary, matter that we have not discussed in this thread is that he is somewhat manipulative about the way he goes about generating public support for those policies.

    > [...] authoritarian government-enforced quotas [...]

    Yes, I would add these to the authoritarian government-enforced rules preventing air, water, noise, smell and other types of pollution that we already have.

  33. #33 Sortition
    June 28, 2008

    > Add in your energy usage at work, and getting to work, and then do the comparison with what Gore and his staff use per capita.

    I can’t, since Gore doesn’t disclose how many people spend how much time in his house. Again, the important point is that he considers these matters irrelevant since, to him, it doesn’t matter as long as he “uses green energy” and buys offsets.

    >>> “If USAans follow Gore’s lead and demand green energy, will the power utilities install more green capacity that when built will then be run at full capacity in priority to non-green, resulting in idling of a greater quantity of non-green capacity?”

    >> Maybe, in some undetermined future.

    > Beg pardon?

    This is a story, which although it is somewhat plausible is just a story. Can you credibly quantify the effect and give a convincing timeline? If not, it is hard to see how this can be seen as negating the immediate and quantifiable negative effects of overconsumption.

    > hypocrisy

    As I already explained, I am not really bothered about Gore’s personal character. He is, however, promoting self-serving policies, which may be seen as not being the most noble of actions.

  34. #34 Sortition
    June 28, 2008

    Barton Paul Levenson:

    > Time to stop responding, for me at least.

    You have not been responding for a while now. This is the second time that instead of addressing substance you choose to generate distractions (see #216).

  35. #35 trrll
    June 29, 2008

    Yes, I would add these to the authoritarian government-enforced rules preventing air, water, noise, smell and other types of pollution that we already have.

    Name any government enforced quotas on the total amount of air, water, noise, smell, or other type of pollution that an individual person is allowed to produce.

  36. #36 Robin Levett
    June 29, 2008

    @Sortition (#233):

    This is a story, which although it is somewhat plausible is just a story.

    Erm, no; it’s a direct consequence of your argument that power generators will use green power geneartion facilities to full capacity and idle non-green before green. That is, unless you are arguing that in increase in demand in an elastic market will not follow though into an increase in supply. That argument might involve a lot of work to make – overturning the entire basis of economic theory – but I’m sure you’re the wo/man for the job.

  37. #37 Sortition
    June 30, 2008

    > Name any government enforced quotas on the total amount of air, water, noise, smell, or other type of pollution that an individual person is allowed to produce.

    I have personally have been fined for exceeding my noise quota when neighbors alerted the government enforcement agency that a party I hosted had become exceedingly noisy.

    I must admit that I have not personally had similar experiences regarding other types of pollution, but do you really doubt that if, say, you choose to emit large quantities of smoke from your house or apartment, you will quickly find yourself in conflict with the law?

  38. #38 Sortition
    June 30, 2008

    Robin Levett,

    Insisting that your story is true is pointless since I do not doubt the general storyline (see for example #150). The question is when and how much emissions savings will result from the fact Gore is paying a little money to a “green energy” supplier. Until you credibly quantify this effect, claims that it somehow offsets the very immediate and tangible effects of Gore’s overconsumption are, “erm”, not convincing.

  39. #39 Robin Levett
    June 30, 2008

    @Sortition (#238):

    Until you credibly quantify this effect, claims that it somehow offsets the very immediate and tangible effects of Gore’s overconsumption are, “erm”, not convincing.

    First you have to prove the “over” in overconsumption. I haven’t seen your calculations of your own energy budget including transport to work and usage while at work for comparison; adjusted of course for regional effects.

    Your claim that Gore doesn’t consider business usage of the property relevant is somewhat unconvincing (see http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/gorehome.asp); and irrelevant anyway, since whether or not he considers it so, out here in the real world that is completely irrelevant to whether it is.

    As to paying “a little money” to a green energy” supplier; isn’t that what you argue for?

  40. #40 sod
    June 30, 2008

    Sortition, your argument has a massive logic problem.

    let us assume, that a law will give a maximum CO2 allowance to every person.
    the Gore would still give the same money to the same company, get his energy from them and use more than others.

    if you limit energy consumption, he could have a company run solar/ wind power in his garden, the outcome being exactly the same.

  41. #41 Sortition
    June 30, 2008

    Robin Levett,

    The Gore household consumes 19x the average level – that is overconsumption. If he has a good reason for doing so, let him make that argument by providing the necessary data. As for my own consumption, I am not sure what that would prove. If I am over consuming I may be at fault, but I don’t see what this has to do with the matter of determining the right policy for reducing GHG emissions.

  42. #42 Sortition
    June 30, 2008

    sod,

    As I argued above, the claim that Gore is not emitting CO2 because he is paying some money to a “green energy” provider is without merit. Anyone drawing power from the grid is responsible for his share of the total emissions generated by all the power plants that supply power to the grid.

    As for Gore building his own wind or solar power generator – as far as I am concerned he is welcome to do it. Of course, construction of such a generator would require quite a lot of energy that Gore would have to account for, but if he manages to come up with net savings in emissions, I would welcome him doing so.

  43. #43 Robin Levett
    July 1, 2008

    @Sortition (#241):

    The Gore household consumes 19x the average level…

    Let’s rewrite this for honesty, shall we: “The Gore household domestic and business usage is about 15 times the average” (since he lives in Nashville, not the USA as a whole).

    So – is this “overconsumption”? That depends (among other things) on the amount of energy used by the two offices run from the house as compared with the energy used by others in comparable offices including the energy used in transportation to and from work; how many people actually consume the energy; and ultimately is a value judgment dependent upon whether you are sumkindacommy who thinks that no-one should ever use any more energy than anyone else.

    You seem to take the latter stance – but that says more about you than about the validity of the argument.

  44. #44 Sortition
    July 1, 2008

    I completely agree that if a large number of people live and/or work in the Gore household then the high energy consumption may be justified. The point I made several times is that if this is true, Gore needs to say so and provide some data to support it. The fact that he doesn’t feel this is necessary is indicative of a problem with his approach to this matter. Would you agree?

  45. #45 Barton Paul Levenson
    July 2, 2008

    I said I wouldn’t respond to this troll any more, but…

    Sortition writes:

    The point I made several times is that if this is true, Gore needs to say so and provide some data to support it.

    Why does he “need” to do so? Because you say so? If you’re accusing him of something, aren’t you the one who needs to develop the evidence? The legal principle in this country used to be “innocent until proven guilty.” Were you raised somewhere that uses the Napoleonic Code instead?

  46. #46 z
    July 2, 2008

    what exactly is gore being accused of? is there some illegality here I am missing? or is this supposed to somehow prove that AGW is a myth? i don’t follow that logic. or are we supposed to defend al gore? from what? (see beginning of this paragraph)