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 windy
    June 19, 2008

    I think our understanding of the psychology at work here will be enhanced if we think of Gore Manor as a “dacha.”

    As a holiday retreat?

  2. #2 ben
    June 19, 2008

    You got it wrong, AtheistAcolyte. It goes more like this:

    Al Gore makes criticism “We should not live energy-irresponsibly”
    Al Gore is guilty of living energy irresponsibly.
    Therefore, Al Gore is a dickhead.

  3. #3 AtheistAcolyte
    June 19, 2008

    For completeness, it was here I read the quote:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/not\_just\_the\_creationists.php#c938827

    Kim is one of those people who, had she been alive during WWII, would have complained that FDR had new tires on his presidential limo, good shoes on his feet, and all the fresh fruit and veggies he wanted, and that therefore she didn’t need to ration for the war effort. I suspect then she would have pointed out how Churchill was chauffeured all around England to give speeches, while at the same time limiting the common man’s access to gasoline.

    Yep, people like Kim will always find a reason to not have to give anything or be in any way inconvenienced no matter what. I bet she still lauds “the greatest generation” though. Just don’t ask her to walk her talk. She’s to busy being judgemental (sic).

    (By Dahan)

    There we go. Blog comment after all. :-)

  4. #4 Steve Reuland
    June 19, 2008

    “Which is exactly the point – how many people are swayed of taking action by this kind of refusal to take climate change really seriously? If it is even a few, that’s too many – we need urgent action to cut emissions now, not some half hearted response and offset trickery.”

    This strikes me as little more than concern trolling. I can’t take people seriously who claim to want to solve the global warming problem, but think a useful means of doing so is to attack Al Gore over something that doesn’t even matter.

    For what it’s worth, personal sacrifice isn’t much of an answer whether it’s coming from Gore, who represents 0.000…1% of total emissions, or from joe average who represents a somewhat lower share. Reducing emissions requires phasing out coal, oil, and to a lesser extent natural gas over a period of decades and replacing them with other sources of energy. Gore’s personal consumption is irrelevant to that issue. If our energy comes from non-carbon sources, it doesn’t matter what he or anyone else consumes.

    And if you listen to what Gore actually says, you’ll see that he’s primarily focused on the issue of production, not consumption. He gave a testimony to the Senate last year in which he outlined a quite ambitious plan to reduce emissions and it had nothing to do with telling people that they have to live in small houses and stop driving their cars. Perhaps I’ll take Glenn Reynolds seriously when he deals with those proposals rather than obsessing over the size of Gore’s house.

  5. #5 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Ben,

    Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

    Dickhead.

  6. #6 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Pardon my French.

  7. #7 dhogaza
    June 19, 2008

    Al Gore makes criticism “We should not live energy-irresponsibly”

    Nope, he does no such thing, Ben, which makes YOU the dickhead.

    Answer the following question: What causes global warming?

    I think the new meme is that Al Gore and his house are BOTH fat.

  8. #8 ben
    June 19, 2008

    luminous, lopeta tuo munapäinen teeskentely.

  9. #9 ben
    June 19, 2008

    Nope, he does no such thing, Ben, which makes YOU the dickhead.

    I wasn’t actually calling Gore a dickhead, I was just correcting the logic of that argument. Maybe it should have been like this:

    IF Al Gore makes criticism “We should not live energy-irresponsibly”

    AND Al Gore is guilty of living energy irresponsibly.

    THEN Al Gore is a dickhead.

    mmmkay?

  10. #10 Sarah
    June 19, 2008

    And if you listen to what Gore actually says, you’ll see that he’s primarily focused on the issue of production, not consumption.

    How are those two things not intimately connected?

    My rule of thumb on this whole issue: when people like Al Gore who are concerned about global warming start acting like it’s a crisis, then I’ll believe it’s a crisis.

  11. #11 Sarah
    June 19, 2008

    ben, you forgot to say “pardon my Finnish.”

  12. #12 dhogaza
    June 19, 2008

    Ben still doesn’t get it …

    Answer the question, Ben.

  13. #13 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Ben calls a snarky non sequitur, “just correcting the logic” and accuses me of pretension.

    Lopeta, yourself, dickhead.

  14. #14 ben
    June 19, 2008

    Look, luminous, someone else used that up there to give an example of bad logic. Fair enough. I just provided an example argument with correct logic. I didn’t call Gore a dickhead (even though he is a dickhead) so quit getting bent about it.

  15. #15 Sortition
    June 19, 2008

    > However, if you wish to use Tu quoque legitimately, you will need to provide the following elements of the syllogism:

    > Al Gore makes criticism P (cite source)

    > Al Gore is guilty of P (again, cite source, and provide definitions where ambiguity exists)

    > From these we can conclude that the criticism is confused, and that Al Gore is not a good critic, not that P is false or ill-advised.

    True. Why then is so much effort expended here defending Gore?

    BTW, while the TCPR article was mendacious, Gore’s spokeswoman was engaging in her own little bit of deception. Installing the energy pump may have decreased gas use by a 90%, but the pump is using electricity, which to some extent offsets the gas savings. Then there is the matter of the energy investment in building the system that needs to be accounted for. (And how much gas was the Gore household using before installing the pump? Was that a significant part of their energy use to begin with?)

    I calculate the savings as follows: If the pump is 4x more efficient than gas heating, and, on margin (which is what matters), electricity production is 33% efficient, then installing the system only saves about 25% of the CO2 emissions associated with heating.

  16. #16 Sarah
    June 19, 2008

    Cool, luminous knows how to work the online translator. Did you figure out what munapäinen means?

  17. #17 Steve Reuland
    June 19, 2008

    “How are those two things not intimately connected?”

    Well it’s simple. Production is where the energy comes from, and consumption is where it goes. You can solve global warming by having all energy produced by non-carbon emitting means, or you solve it by having no one consume any energy. If Al Gore were advocating the latter, which he’s not, then maybe his personal consumption would be relevant.

    “My rule of thumb on this whole issue: when people like Al Gore who are concerned about global warming start acting like it’s a crisis, then I’ll believe it’s a crisis.”

    You’re just repeating the same irrational nonsense.

    If Al Gore lived in a cave and ate nothing but tofu, this would have no measurable impact on carbon emissions, so his personal habits are clearly not a reasonable indicator of whether or not he thinks it’s a crisis. A more reasonable indicator would be the policies he proposes.

    Whether or not you think it’s a crisis should probably be based on something other than Al Gore’s electric bill. Like maybe the scientific evidence.

  18. #18 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008


    And if you listen to what Gore actually says, you’ll see that he’s primarily focused on the issue of production, not consumption.

    How are those two things not intimately connected?

    Change the means of production, i.e., change over from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and consumption need not be adversely affected.

    ¿Claro?

    (please tell your brother to stop being a dickhead.) ¡Verdad!

  19. #19 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Ben,

    Your “correct logic” suffers from the fallacy of four terms. It is anything but correct logic. The conclusion, “Al Gore is a dickhead.” is a non sequitur. Ergo, It is an unsupported assertion. Ergo, you are calling Al Gore a dickhead. Ipso facto.

    Dickhead.

  20. #20 ben
    June 19, 2008

    Dude, it’s just a joke. Simmer down, eh?

  21. #21 ben
    June 19, 2008

    Definition (Ben, 2008): Dickhead = a person who appears to live by the mantra “do as I say, not as I do.”

    IF Al Gore makes criticism “We should not live energy-irresponsibly”

    AND Al Gore is guilty of living energy irresponsibly.

    THEN Al Gore is a dickhead.

    And there it is.

  22. #22 trrll
    June 19, 2008

    The point is, and it is a very good one, that Al Gore has no right to tell others to make sacrifices when he refuses to do so himself. Of course he makes next to no impact in the scheme of things – but the point is that his message asks the ordinary person who is using far less energy than him to use less.

    Speaking purely as an observer of fine propaganda, the “Al Gore is a hypocrite” tu quoque attack is particularly well-crafted, so much so that I have little doubt that there is a focus group somewhere in its lineage. I supposed that Al Gore, with his record of being right about so many things over the years, is enough of a threat to call out the big guns.

    What I find particularly ingenious about this particular slander is the way it uses an obvious lie as a decoy to slip a more subtle one “under the radar.” The obvious lie, of course, is the claim that Al Gore wastes energy, and in this example it is made particularly obvious by the clearly egregious years-to-months comparison. The intent seems to be to get us to argue about just how much energy he is using, how well he is remediating his carbon footprint, how big his staff is, and so forth–thereby getting us to spread the more subtle, implied lie, which is this: “Al Gore’s policies will destroy the American standard of living, making it impossible for Americans to attain the standard of living that Al Gore himself currently enjoys.” After all, if Al Gore is a hypocrite for living in a large houses, then he must advocate policies that would make large houses unattainable.

    It has to be “slipped under the radar,” because stated baldly it is so obviously stupid: Al Gore is in fact practicing exactly what he preaches: improving the energy efficiency of his own home, using carbon-neutral energy where available, purchasing carbon credits where it is not. One could, of course, quibble about whether these are stringent enough measures, but they are indeed the ones that Gore advocates. Far from insisting that nobody should own a large home, Gore believes that application of technology and conservation will make it possible to reduce carbon emissions without having to lower our standard of living, and that development of carbon-sparing energy strategies offers a huge economic opportunity for American entrepreneurs. And here too, he is practicing what he preaches, investing in the strategies that he advocates.

  23. #23 ben
    June 19, 2008

    And as long as we’re degenerating into pathetic name-calling, many of you form a group of the most pretentious assholes on the internet. Let’s hope that this post officially kills this thread.

    If not, well then lets just say that Al Gore is Hitler. That oughta do it.

  24. #24 Sarah
    June 19, 2008

    You can solve global warming by having all energy produced by non-carbon emitting means…

    Well, nuclear’s pretty clean. What is your opinion of that as an option?

    A more reasonable indicator would be the policies he proposes.

    If said policies don’t affect everyone else’s personal habits, then you may have a point.

    luminous — First, I don’t think my bro is a dickhead. Second, why don’t you grow up? You have a nice nickname, it’s too bad your manners don’t live up to it.

  25. #25 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Ben,

    “Al Gore is a dickhead.” isn’t a joke. Unless you’re emotional maturity is about that of a twelve-year-old.

    (That was a joke.)

  26. #26 Steve Reuland
    June 19, 2008

    Well, nuclear’s pretty clean. What is your opinion of that as an option?

    I like nuclear. It’s not the end-all, be-all of energy policy, but it can replace coal as a source of concentrated 24/7 electricity.

    If said policies don’t affect everyone else’s personal habits, then you may have a point.

    Judging by what he proposed to the Senate (which was an unrealistic wish-list, but still…), I didn’t see anything that would affect people’s personal habits directly. A carbon tax would probably encourage people to use less energy, but it wouldn’t stop them if they didn’t mind paying extra. Plus it’s off-set by reduced payroll taxes, so someone can go about their business as usual without losing money. The net effect is that alternative energy however becomes comparatively cheaper.

  27. #27 luminous beauty
    June 19, 2008

    Sarah,

    I don’t think your brother is a really a dickhead, either. He is just acting like one. As long as he wiggles and weasels around with his specious little song and dance, denying and obfuscating that he has called Al Gore a dickhead, that it was he who introduced the word into the thread, and now whiningly complains when the word is applied to his smelly self that the thread is ‘degenerating into pathetic name-calling’, then, I suggest, he is acting like a dickhead. A wee bit o’ teeskentely, if you will. In my experience, all brothers act like dickheads from time to time. Disagree?

    It’s no mortal sin, nor is Al Gore catching a ride on a private jet, now and then.

    It’s funny, but not a joke, that for all the scientific, philosophical and spiritual heights that humanity has experienced, we are collectively not much more than a bunch of out of control planet trashing monkeys. Someone had better start growing up. And I mean all of us.

    Calling bullshit something that smells delightfully of flowers and incense isn’t manners, dear. Don’t call people dickheads if you don’t want to be called a dickhead, is manners.

  28. #28 George Darroch
    June 19, 2008

    I’ve never had my posts accused of being focus grouped propaganda before (“green monstering” by Andrew Bolt, yes), it certainly is a strange feeling. My name links to my website, and anyone who took 30 seconds to look at it would see that my concern about climate change is real.

    I will say no more than that I believe we desperately need to take action on climate change, taking action will require changes in behaviour (of the kind Al Gore has not demonstrated – which is why I think we need regulation, as good intentions are not enough) and that hypocrites of any kind disturb me.

  29. #29 ben
    June 19, 2008

    First, apparently you can’t intentionally invoke Godwin’s law. Oh well. Second, I did indeed call Gore a dick, just not in that particular instance.

    “Al Gore is a dickhead.” isn’t a joke. Unless you’re emotional maturity is about that of a twelve-year-old.

    (That was a joke.)

    Maybe if you’re a dickhead.

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    June 19, 2008

    IF Al Gore makes criticism “We should not live energy-irresponsibly”

    I thought Al Gore’s main criticism was “We should not live carbon-irresponsibly”. Why does that keep being forgotten?

  31. #31 z
    June 19, 2008

    well it’s good to know the high regard the Usual suspects have for ed Begley, who actually lives the life they decry Gore for not living.

    “December 28, 2006

    “Living With Ed”: New HGTV Show on Nightmares of Living w/an Enviro-Freak

    By Debbie Schlussel

    Based on USA Today’s description, it sounds like the most amusing new TV show of 2007 will be “Living with Ed”–an HGTV reality show on the life of left-wing enviro-freak actor Ed Begley, Jr. and his wife, Rachelle Carson.

    It looks like the show will portray how ridiculous these enviro-freaks are. And how impossible it is to live with them. And how joyless, to boot. It sounds hilarious:

    Actor Ed Begley Jr., 57, has long been eco-obsessed. He has driven an electric car for decades. He recycles. He uses solar energy. ”
    < http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2006/12/living_with_ed.html>

  32. #32 dhogaza
    June 19, 2008

    I thought Al Gore’s main criticism was “We should not live carbon-irresponsibly”. Why does that keep being forgotten?

    Well, that’s been the point of my asking Ben to answer the question, “what causes global warming?”.

    It’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t want to address the real issue, which is that if Gore has a low carbon footprint, the actual amount of energy he uses is irrelevant.

    Denialist: “‘Warmers’ want us to live in the Stone Age”.

    Rational, reality-embracing, science literate: “No, we don’t need to do that, we can live well while greatly lowering our carbon footprint”.

    Denialist: “Hypocrit!”

  33. #33 Sortition
    June 19, 2008

    George Darroch,

    See here.

    One point to note, though, is that Gore’s consumption habits are not a matter of him not being serious about the problem. They are part and parcel of the solution he promotes, i.e., a technology based solution. According to this capital intensive approach, consumption does not need to be reduced as long as you can deploy low emissions technology or mitigation technology. Gore can afford to pay for such technology – or to be more accurate, for what purports to be such technology – and is therefore free to consume as much energy as he likes.

    Most Deltoid regulars seem to agree, and what’s more, seem to think that one cannot disagree unless one is a right-wing nut, or a crypto-right-wing nut.

  34. #34 dhogaza
    June 19, 2008

    Most Deltoid regulars seem to agree, and what’s more, seem to think that one cannot disagree unless one is a right-wing nut, or a crypto-right-wing nut.

    Oh, one can easily argue that Gore’s over-optimistic about our being able to tech-wizard our way out of the problem without making sacrifices in our life style without being a right-wing nut.

    But one can’t argue that his being over-optimistic in this regard makes him a HYPOCRITE who asks others to make sacrificing he’s unwilling to do without being a right-wing nut.

    Or, a liar, at least.

    Because he’s trying to do quite the opposite. He’s trying to show people that you can shrink your carbon footprint without making significant sacrifices in your lifestyle.

  35. #35 Sortition
    June 19, 2008

    > It’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t want to address the real issue, which is that if Gore has a low carbon footprint, the actual amount of energy he uses is irrelevant.

    Gore does not have “a low carbon footprint” by any reasonable sense of that expression. If he reduces his energy consumption by one kwh, emissions would drop by just as much as they would drop if someone else reduced his consumption by that kwh – Gore paying for offsets and paying for “green energy” do not change this fact.

    Clearly, whatever offsets he buys, he can keep buying that if he consumes less – so that certainly doesn’t mean he has a small carbon footprint (taken to an extreme, this would be like pardoning murderers if they contribute money to life saving enterprises like bed net distribution in Africa).

    As for him paying for “green energy”, this would only make a difference if him not buying that energy would idle the production facility. This is very unlikely because green energy facilities have high setup costs and low running costs. What would happen is that the energy produced by the green facility would replace energy produced using fossil fuel. Thus, again, if Gore reduces his consumption, emissions would drop – meaning his carbon footprint is as high as that of any consumer with his consumption levels.

  36. #36 Sortition
    June 19, 2008

    > Because he’s trying to do quite the opposite. He’s trying to show people that you can shrink your carbon footprint without making significant sacrifices in your lifestyle.

    It is true that whoever pays attention to his message notices that it is focused on technology rather than conservation. There would probably be a sizable minority, maybe even a majority, in his audience that would be surprised, since he does on occasion promote the reduction message as well.

    But even ignoring this double message (typical of Democrat tactics, BTW), it is one thing to say you don’t need to reduce your consumption, and quite another to say that you can be reckless enough so as to increase your consumption by 20x. Are you really claiming that his message is that increasing power consumption by a factor of 20 is fine, because technology will save us even then? I doubt that even he would go this far, and even if he would, this definitely conflicts with the tone of public messages. This would be hypocrisy.

    In reality, I doubt that he is such a power hog. His household is probably large enough to justify much of the difference between his consumption and that of others. He is just obtuse enough not to make this point.

  37. #37 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    P.S. to my #135:

    The same line of argumentation shows that criticism Gore for jetting around the world when trying to push anti-AGW policy is misguided. If he ceases to fly, he will reduce emissions somewhat, but it is also likely to reduce his effectiveness in advocating emissions reductions. The net result would very likely be a significant increase in emissions. Thus, Gore’s jetting (while on anti-AGW advocacy business) is actually an emissions saver.

  38. #38 trrll
    June 20, 2008

    Clearly, whatever offsets he buys, he can keep buying that if he consumes less – so that certainly doesn’t mean he has a small carbon footprint (taken to an extreme, this would be like pardoning murderers if they contribute money to life saving enterprises like bed net distribution in Africa).

    This is a stupid analogy. A single murder is a tragedy by itself, and it is doubtful whether any action can fully redeem it. Human lives are not fungible. But CO2 molecules are. A single molecule of CO2 does no harm. It is the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere that affects climate, so the only rational measure is the sum total effect of an individual’s actions on atmospheric CO2. So Gore’s CO2 ledger would have to take into account his individual CO2 production, his efforts to balance that by buying CO2 offsets (which fund enterprises that reduce atmospheric CO2) as well as any impact of his educational and investment efforts in promoting strategies that limit CO2 production.

  39. #39 Steve Reuland
    June 20, 2008

    As for him paying for “green energy”, this would only make a difference if him not buying that energy would idle the production facility.

    There is this thing called supply and demand. When Gore or anyone else buys “green” energy, it increases demand. That increases the price that sellers can get for their energy, and thus encourages them to produce more. They will not produce it if they cannot sell it. And given the current production costs vs. fossil fuels, they can’t sell it unless people like Gore voluntarily pay more to buy it.

    There is no meaningful difference between paying someone else to make green energy and making it yourself, other than the obvious efficiencies of scale and specialization that come from consolidated production. The net effect is the same. When Gore buys wind power, he is paying for the investment and maintenance of the wind turbines, no different than if he built them with his own hands (other than the cost, of course).

    Thus, again, if Gore reduces his consumption, emissions would drop – meaning his carbon footprint is as high as that of any consumer with his consumption levels.

    This simply isn’t true. If 100% of Gore’s energy comes from non-carbon sources, his carbon footprint is zero. Likewise, if 100% of the world’s energy came from non-carbon sources, the world would be carbon neutral. Perhaps there are other reasons to rail against Gore’s energy consumption, but those reasons would not be relevant to the one that Gore himself is concerned with.

  40. #40 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 20, 2008

    Sarah posts:

    My rule of thumb on this whole issue: when people like Al Gore who are concerned about global warming start acting like it’s a crisis, then I’ll believe it’s a crisis.

    Empirical evidence about rising sea level, melting glaciers and ice caps, rising temperatures, increased droughts in continental interiors and increased violent weather along coastlines isn’t something you pay attention to or care about? Your criterion seems a little stupid to me.

  41. #41 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 20, 2008

    Sortition writes:

    Why then is so much effort expended here defending Gore?

    Because so much effort is expended here attacking Gore. Duh.

  42. #42 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 20, 2008

    Sortition writes:

    But even ignoring this double message (typical of Democrat tactics, BTW),

    It isn’t Democrats who have legalized torture, destroyed the fourth amendment, run an incompetent occupation of a foreign country which has resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths, or turned a huge budget surplus into a huge budget deficit.

  43. #43 AtheistAcolyte
    June 20, 2008

    Another note on logic:

    People are assuming that Al Gore says consumption must be eliminated or drastically reduced without citing sources. This is poor form, as it muddles the issue as dozens of people are all arguing over different things. Here’s a section of a transcript from “An Inconvenient Truth”:

    If we accept that this problem is real, maybe it is just too big to do anything about. There are a lot of people who go straight from denial to despair without pausing on the intermediate step of actually doing something about the problem. That’s what I would like to finish with: the fact that we already know everything we need to know to effectively address this problem. We’ve got to do a lot of things, not just one. Increasing end use efficiency we can remove global warming pollution that would other wise be put into the atmosphere.

    * More efficient electrical appliances
    * Higher mileage cars
    * Other transport efficiency
    * Renewable technology
    * Carbon capture sequestration

    This is something he has actually, verifiably said. Please confirm this if you doubt it. I got the transcript section from here.

    These are the criticisms P he has made (he has made more, I’m almost positive, but these are actual quotes of his I have at hand). Now, we need to find out if he is guilty of the following actions:
    * Using more efficient electrical appliances
    (I would accept EnergyStar appliances, CFLs, LEDs, etc. in a >50% ratio to non-efficient appliances, denoting “mostly energy efficient”)
    * Driving higher mileage cars
    (Perhaps a net miles per pound carbon per person of 2; a single gallon of gas pumps some 20 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere – adjustments must be made for jet fuel)
    * Other transport efficiency
    (Carpooling, etc?)
    * Renewable technology
    (Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Hydro, Tidal…)
    * Carbon capture sequestration
    (Does this mean carbon credits or coal power plant carbon sequestration?)

    At any rate, please always be sure to define exactly what you are tu quoqueing.

  44. #44 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > Sortition writes:

    >> Why then is so much effort expended here defending Gore?

    > Because so much effort is expended here attacking Gore. Duh.

    This explains nothing. The question is why do you bother to answer if Gore’s behavior has nothing to do with his message.

  45. #45 trrll
    June 20, 2008

    The question is why do you bother to answer if Gore’s behavior has nothing to do with his message.

    Perhaps if everybody were perfectly rational, such dishonest ad hominem attacks would not obstruct the message. But because we are dealing with human beings, it is worthwhile to expose this kind of propaganda for what it is.

  46. #46 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > Sortition writes:

    >> But even ignoring this double message (typical of Democrat tactics, BTW),

    > It isn’t Democrats who have legalized torture, destroyed the fourth amendment, run an incompetent occupation of a foreign country which has resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths, or turned a huge budget surplus into a huge budget deficit.

    Don’t you mean “pursued an illegal aggressive war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands”?

    I don’t doubt that the Democrats are better than the Republicans. If that is your standard, then yes, they meet that standard.

  47. #47 Chris O'Neill
    June 20, 2008

    Sortition:

    But even ignoring this double message (typical of Democrat tactics, BTW),

    I don’t doubt that the Democrats are better than the Republicans.

    So why did you single out the Democrats for mention, given that they are better than the Republicans?

  48. #48 Chris O'Neill
    June 20, 2008

    Gore can afford to pay for such technology – or to be more accurate, for what purports to be such technology – and is therefore free to consume as much energy as he likes.

    Most Deltoid regulars seem to agree, and what’s more, seem to think that one cannot disagree unless one is a right-wing nut, or a crypto-right-wing nut.

    Most right-wing people normally believe in freedom. So to find them arguing against freedom would make them a bit nutty (not to mention hypocritical).

  49. #49 Ian Gould
    June 20, 2008

    As I said, the last time this came up:

    I am quite happy to criticise Gore for his actual faults (they’re numerous) but if he is attacked unfarily I’ll defend him.

    I’ve done the dame for Cheneyw hen I thought he was being attacked unfairly.

  50. #50 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    >> As for him paying for “green energy”, this would only make a difference if him not buying that energy would idle the production facility.

    > There is this thing called supply and demand. When Gore or anyone else buys “green” energy, it increases demand. That increases the price that sellers can get for their energy, and thus encourages them to produce more. They will not produce it if they cannot sell it. And given the current production costs vs. fossil fuels, they can’t sell it unless people like Gore voluntarily pay more to buy it.

    Fine. Show me how you use your “supply and demand” model to show that Gore’s reducing his consumption does not eliminate emissions.

    Yes, there could theoretically be some minute drop in demand, that could theoretically reduce profits marginally for his existing green energy supplier. Do you have any way to know if and when this would be translated to less investment in green energy in the future and if so how much extra emissions that would generate?

    The savings of reducing Gore’s consumption are immediate and clear, the costs are theoretical and unclear.

  51. #51 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > So why did you single out the Democrats for mention, given that they are better than the Republicans?

    Because we are discussing the actions of a Democrat. Must I at the same time denounce anyone who happens to be a worse offender?

  52. #52 Steve Reuland
    June 20, 2008

    This explains nothing. The question is why do you bother to answer if Gore’s behavior has nothing to do with his message.

    If Gore’s behavior has nothing to do with his message, then the people insisting that he’s a hypocrite, and that they won’t take global warming seriously “until Gore does”, are utterly without a case.

    There’s nothing unseemly about people bothering to refute a faulty argument. You should save your suspicion for people who make the faulty argument to begin with.

  53. #53 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > If Gore’s behavior has nothing to do with his message, then the people insisting that he’s a hypocrite, and that they won’t take global warming seriously “until Gore does”, are utterly without a case.

    Basing how seriously you take global warming on Gore’s personal behavior is just silly. On the other hand, Gore’s approach to tackling global warming is not some personal matter. His approach is representative of the establishment “green” movement and thus his conduct does indicate that AGW shapes up to be another front in the class war: placing demands on the masses (if not actual sacrifices, at least restraint, and in addition, awareness and political activity) but being merely a business opportunity for the rich.

  54. #54 Boris
    June 20, 2008

    Do you have any way to know if and when this would be translated to less investment in green energy in the future

    Green Power Switch

    By choosing to pay a little more for Green Power Switch, you help advance the technology and increase the amount of electricity generated from cleaner sources. The dollars from every block of green power you buy go directly back into Green Power Switch.

  55. #55 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > By choosing to pay a little more for Green Power Switch [...]

    This does not answer my question. Yes – obviously without demand for “green power” no “green power” would be offered. The question is, does the fact that Gore pays that little extra somehow, through the mechanism of increased demand, translate into less emissions in the future? If so, when and how much less?

    Again: clearly, any answer to those questions would be speculative. The costs of Gore consuming the energy, on the other hand, are immediate and measurable.

  56. #56 AtheistAcolyte
    June 20, 2008

    Sortition (#155) –

    The question is, does the fact that Gore pays that little extra somehow, through the mechanism of increased demand, translate into less emissions in the future? If so, when and how much less?

    As I understand the program, he buys blocks of energy from renewable programs. Had he not been buying those blocks of energy, he’d be buying energy from non-carbon-neutral sources. In this scenario, he prevented some 131 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere this year. (Tennessee has an average 1.36 pounds CO2 per kWh * 213,210 kwH / 2,205 lbs per metric tonne)

    http://www.watt-minder.com/glob-carbon.html

  57. #57 Sortition
    June 20, 2008

    > As I understand the program, he buys blocks of energy from renewable programs. Had he not been buying those blocks of energy, he’d be buying energy from non-carbon-neutral sources.

    Again: only in the case that him not buying the “green energy” would have idled the energy source, would his choice of source make any quantifiable difference. This scenario is very unlikely because, as I mentioned above, renewable energy sources have high construction costs but low operating costs, so that idling them makes no economic sense for the operator.

  58. #58 Chris O'Neill
    June 20, 2008
    So why did you single out the Democrats for mention, given that they are better than the Republicans?

    Because we are discussing the actions of a Democrat.

    He’s also a politician. If you’re going to attempt to generalize then your half-hearted generalization looks biassed.

  59. #59 Steve Reuland
    June 20, 2008

    Again: only in the case that him not buying the “green energy” would have idled the energy source, would his choice of source make any quantifiable difference. This scenario is very unlikely because, as I mentioned above, renewable energy sources have high construction costs but low operating costs, so that idling them makes no economic sense for the operator.

    Has it not occurred to you that when wind power companies get more subscribers willing to pay a profitable, above-market rate, this makes them build more wind turbines?

    The supply of wind turbines is not fixed. When the demand goes up, the supply goes up. It’s Econ 101.

  60. #60 Sortition
    June 21, 2008

    > He’s also a politician.

    Yes. He’s also a mammal.

  61. #61 Sortition
    June 21, 2008

    > Has it not occurred to you that when wind power companies get more subscribers willing to pay a profitable, above-market rate, this makes them build more wind turbines?

    Yes, it has. And in fact you have made the same point before at #139. Please refer to my response to this argument at #150 and again at #155.

  62. #62 Steve Reuland
    June 21, 2008

    I’m afraid you didn’t respond to that argument at all. But in the interests of fair play, I’ll address what you wrote anyway.

    In #150 we have this:

    Fine. Show me how you use your “supply and demand” model to show that Gore’s reducing his consumption does not eliminate emissions.

    This isn’t a response, it’s a question. Look at any standard demand curve and you’ll see what happens when demand goes up. So too does supply. You keep ignoring this and insisting, in contradiction to well-established economic law, that somehow Gore can demand wind power without causing more wind power to be produced.

    As far as his emissions caused by buying wind power vs. emissions caused by not using electricity at all, there is no meaningful distinction. What matters is that he’s demanding zero carbon-based electricity, so he shifts the demand curve for carbon-based electricity downwards. Of all the different ways there are not to buy something, they all have the same effect.

    And for #155 we have this:

    This does not answer my question. Yes – obviously without demand for “green power” no “green power” would be offered. The question is, does the fact that Gore pays that little extra somehow, through the mechanism of increased demand, translate into less emissions in the future? If so, when and how much less?

    This is not a “response” to fact that wind supply will increase with demand; if anything it’s a concession. But the answer to your question is that the second Gore quits paying coal plants to give him electricity, they produce that much less electricity. Ergo, Gore’s emissions go down immediately. Someone else’s emissions might go up because the price is lower, but the exact same thing would happen if Gore stopped consuming electricity altogether.

    And finally:

    Again: clearly, any answer to those questions would be speculative. The costs of Gore consuming the energy, on the other hand, are immediate and measurable.

    It is hardly speculative that when a person buys something, he gets what he buys. In fact, it’s kind of a tautology. When Gore buys wind power, he gets wind power. The people who burn coal and sell the resulting electricity don’t get any of his money. The people who build wind turbines and sell the electricity get all of his money. If everyone bought wind power, there would be zero emissions.

    So there is no legitimate basis for accusing Gore of being a hypocrite of some sort because he buys wind energy rather than buying no energy at all. If we all made the same sacrifice that Gore makes, the problem would be solved. But since you’ve accused him of class warfare just because he can afford to make that sacrifice, you’ve exposed yourself as the hypocrite.

  63. #63 AtheistAcolyte
    June 21, 2008

    I think you’re making an argument that whether bought for a “green” premium or not, net emissions are the same. Only frugal consumption reduces emissions. Poppycock.

    Let’s look at it this way. I need 200 DVD players for my retail store. You offer me 200 generic DVD players for $5 apiece, and someone offers me 200 brand-name DVD players for $10 apiece. I want brand-name, so I buy 200 brand-name DVD players. Your players sit in stock waiting to be sold. You know I’m probably not coming back to get generic anytime soon, so you figure that the next shipment from your generic supplier will have to be 200 less.

    You order 200 less DVD players, and the supplier builds 200 less DVD players. Supply decreases.

  64. #64 Chris O'Neill
    June 21, 2008
    He’s also a politician.

    Yes. He’s also a mammal.

    I didn’t know that’s why he was famous.

  65. #65 Sortition
    June 21, 2008

    Steve Reuland,

    As I mentioned before, the story that you are telling (for the second or third time) is not completely without merit. Yet, as I also pointed before, it is speculative and any effects are completely intangible. It is thus hard to take seriously the claim that the increased demand for “green energy” somehow completely balances, or in some undetermined future will balance, the immediate and measurable effects of Gore’s energy consumption.

    Let’s make this specific: The Gore household used 213 mwh in 2007. That means that if they reduced their consumption to 20 mwh, there would be about 0.588 * (213 – 12) ~= 118 fewer metric tons of CO2 emitted in 2007.

    How many tons of CO2 emissions were, or will be, eliminated as a result of the increased demand for green energy generated by the Gore household?

  66. #66 Sortition
    June 21, 2008

    > You order 200 less DVD players, and the supplier builds 200 less DVD players. Supply decreases.

    As I pointed out before (#135, #157) due to the nature of renewable energy generators (high setup costs, low operating costs), unlike your hypothetical DVD supplier, it is very unlikely that a renewable electricity generator will work at lower output than its maximum capacity.

  67. #67 Sortition
    June 21, 2008

    erratum in #165:

    > if they reduced their consumption to 20 mwh

    Should be:

    if they reduced their consumption to *12* mwh

  68. #68 bnL
    June 21, 2008

    So Al Gore lowered his bills over 2007 year form the 2006 year, but please take into account that he wasn’t living there (nor was his family) for a large part of years 2006 & 2007. Much of the energy consumed in both of those years was for the renovations. Also it should be noted that the time the Gore’s spent in the house in 2007 and renovations done in 2007 was significantly less than in 2006, so in proportion his consumption was up by 10%. All that being said he should as a responsible advocate of environmental issues considered a small carbon footprint, before the purchase of offset credits. This seems like a very Bushlike tactic, except he would not purchase the credits, he would propose adding resources to ANWR by adding iron pumps and pipelines!

  69. #69 Phoenix Woman
    June 21, 2008

    Ah, nothing like the mention of Al Gore to send so many wingnuts into mindless fork-in-the-forehead nitpicking exercises. Anything to avoid having to admit the reality of human-caused global climate change!

    My killfile is hungry. C’mon, nutters — feed it!

  70. #70 z
    June 21, 2008

    In fact, if Gore is not spending his family fortune generating solar and wind energy, in a bird-friendly fashion, and pushing it into the grid for free, then he is clearly a lying hypocrite.

  71. #71 Robin Levett
    June 22, 2008

    I’m having problems understanding Sortition’s argument, which seems to be coming from the other side of the Looking Glass.

    Let’s step back a little and look at the bigger picture.

    Gore reduces his energy consumption; and switches his supplies, at least in part, to renewable sources. In so doing, he reduces the energy, and carbon, consumed in a large Tennessee mansion below what a hypothetical alternative owner would have used; and yet he’s a hypocrite?

    Yes, he individually can’t make much of a difference – none of us can – but if everyone followed his example, reducing overall consumption and increasing purchases from renewable sources, then a difference would be made. So where’s the hypocrisy?

  72. #72 Ian Gould
    June 22, 2008

    “His approach is representative of the establishment “green” movement and thus his conduct does indicate that AGW shapes up to be another front in the class war: placing demands on the masses (if not actual sacrifices, at least restraint, and in addition, awareness and political activity) but being merely a business opportunity for the rich.”

    Ah yes,to the barricades comrades!

    Meanwhile, back in reality, Al Gore’s offsets are purchased via GIM from two companies.

    Native Energy

    http://www.nativeenergy.com/pages/our_projects/14.php

    and

    The Carbon Neutral Company

    http://www.carbonneutral.com/

    Funnily enough neither site says anything about trampling the poor and underprivileged under foot while Al Gore feasts on the still-beating hearts of newborns.

    Native energy provides financing to Native American groups to build small-scale hydro projects and wind farms on their land. (The swine!)

    The Carbon Neutral Company builds run of river hydro projects in Eastern Europe to replace coal-fired power plants built in the 1950’s using grossly polluting Soviet technology. Just think of all the respiratory disease specialists, oncologists and undertakers those bastards have driven out of business.

  73. #73 Sortition
    June 22, 2008

    Ian,

    > Al Gore’s offsets are purchased via GIM from two companies [which are busy bringing on the impending technological utopia].

    I guess then we should all (at least those of use fortunate enough to be able to afford the offsets) do the right thing and increase our electricity consumption by a factor of 19.

    BTW, Ian, I am still waiting for your responses to my comments at the bottom of Open Thread 7.

  74. #74 Sortition
    June 22, 2008

    Robin,

    > Gore reduces his energy consumption

    Are you saying that he should be praised for cutting his consumption from 20 times the average to 19 times the average?

    > Yes, he individually can’t make much of a difference – none of us can – but if everyone followed his example, reducing overall consumption and increasing purchases from renewable sources, then a difference would be made.

    Actually, Gore personally can make much more of a difference than most of us can – 18 times as much – simply by reducing his consumption level to that of a normal American.

    [Again, all of this is true assuming that his household size is the same as that of the average household, which is probably not true. But since Gore refuses to make this simple point, I am not going to make it for him.]

  75. #75 R.K.
    June 22, 2008

    Phoenix Woman, as long as this blog, you and others out there exalt Gore as some kind of savior, there will be people who scrutinize him…especially him – a man with so many warts.

  76. #76 z
    June 22, 2008

    to flip things on their head, bush’s envirofriendly house effectively points out the mendacity of the official administration position that such innovations have no role in our energy plan, are ineffective, too expensive, unreliable, etc. etc. etc.

  77. #77 Vagueofgodalming
    June 22, 2008

    I think we can re-structure Sortition’s argument as follows:

    – renewable energy producers won’t make changes in their output, because idling their generators costs them interest on the capital investment;

    – therefore the amount of renewable electricity being supplied is constant (subject to natural variation, presumably);

    – if people buy green energy without reducing consumption, then total electricity being consumed does not change;

    – subtracting the constant green supply from the constant total shows that the amount of dirty electricity being produced is constant

    – therefore CO2 emissions do not decrease if one buys green energy.

    I think the most this means is that if consumers demand green electricity, they may not be able to get it straight away, because further capacity will need to be created first. That hardly seems to be a very strong objection.

    Personally, I doubt the starting point, that green generating capacity is always being fully utilised from the moment it exists.

    Yes, reducing one’s consumption will usually be a good thing to do, but so is generating the market signals for specific types of electricity generation. I believe this argument holds even if you don’t like Al Gore. Now that I have mentioned Gore, in the interests of balance I feel I should give a shout-out for Hitler too.

  78. #78 Ian Gould
    June 22, 2008

    “BTW, Ian, I am still waiting for your responses to my comments at the bottom of Open Thread 7.”

    I’m sorry but at some point, it becomes pointless to continue to respond to someone whose mind is already made up.

    “I guess then we should all (at least those of use fortunate enough to be able to afford the offsets) do the right thing and increase our electricity consumption by a factor of 19.”

    Seeing as Gore uses renewable power, his actual emissions are probably similar to or lower than than the average American’s.

    As for “those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford the offsets”, I switched my home and business to 100% windpower for around $500 a year. My remaining emissions (I don’t own a car) are probably around 2-4 tonnes per year.

    Offsetting those would cost me less than another $100 per year.

    Oh, by the way, Gore also donates his royalties from his books and movies to climate change organisations (some of which is spent on political advocacy and public information) meaning he’s probably not just carbon neutral but carbon negative.

  79. #79 bi -- IJI
    June 22, 2008

    R.K.:

    > Phoenix Woman, as long as this blog, you and others out there exalt Gore as some kind of savior, there will be people who scrutinize him…especially him – a man with so many warts.

    Inactivists: Al Gore is fat!!!

    The rest: Why do you keep attacking Al Gore? Why are you so obsessed with him?

    Inactivists: Because you guys keep defending him.

    The rest: No, it’s always you guys who attack him first! Even when we never mention Al Gore, you like to bring him out as a punching bag!

    Inactivists: All you guys just like to burn witches, right? Imprison people in gulags? Hold inquisitions against brave Galileos? Lynch people who think different from you? That’s it, isn’t it? You latte-sipping liberals keep trying to talk down to us and tell us what to do. Yes, I’m convinced that global warming is real and serious and a grave threat to all of mankind including myself, but you had better give me crystal-clear instructions which I can follow! Yes, that makes me a freedom-loving individualist!

    The rest: You attacked Al Gore first.

    Inactivists: CLINTON DID IT TOO!!!!!

  80. #80 Sortition
    June 22, 2008

    >> BTW, Ian, I am still waiting for your responses to my comments at the bottom of Open Thread 7.

    > I’m sorry but at some point, it becomes pointless to continue to respond to someone whose mind is already made up.

    It seems to me that it is your mind that was made up. You never even tried to address specific issues such as why a period of grandfathering is desirable, why should the rich be allowed to pollute at virtually any level, or why not impose an airmiles quota – something that should be simple logistically, generate direct emissions savings and would pose no hardship for the average citizen.

    > Seeing as Gore uses renewable power, his actual emissions are probably similar to or lower than than the average American’s.

    As I already pointed out in #135, this statement is not true in any reasonable sense: If Gore reduces his consumption by one kwh, as much emissions would be saved as would be if any of his neighbors reduced his consumption by that kwh, whether or not they pay for “green power”.

    > As for “those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford the offsets”, I switched my home and business to 100% windpower for around $500 a year. My remaining emissions (I don’t own a car) are probably around 2-4 tonnes per year.

    > Offsetting those would cost me less than another $100 per year.

    So you, with your means, can easily afford to consume, say, the 10KWatt you do. Others may find this a serious hardship. Others yet, like Gore, can easily afford to consume 200KWatt. Why should the people allow the Gores of our society pollute more than their fair share? And so cheaply at that?

    BTW, funny how offsetting is so much cheaper than switching to wind power. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to remain on fossil and offset everything? All that “green” accounting takes quite a lot of faith to take at face value.

    > Oh, by the way, Gore also donates his royalties [...]

    This is very nice and admirable [to be exact it depends on the particulars of his message, but I'll gloss over that], but has nothing to do with him polluting the atmosphere with his personal electricity consumption habits. If someone was in the habit of littering in the street, would you say it is okay because he donates money to a campaign to convince the city to employ more street cleaners, making him trash-negative?

  81. #81 bi -- IJI
    June 22, 2008

    > Others yet, like Gore, can easily afford to consume 200KWatt. Why should the people allow the Gores of our society pollute more than their fair share? And so cheaply at that?

    In other words, Gore’s not a hypocrite, but he’s still wrong because he’s rich.

  82. #82 bi -- IJI
    June 22, 2008

    At this point I’m sure Sortition will throw out the good old “you’re putting up a strawman!!!!” line.

  83. #83 Sortition
    June 22, 2008

    > Yes, reducing one’s consumption will usually be a good thing to do, but so is generating the market signals for specific types of electricity generation.

    So the rich can do their part by “generating market signals”, while the masses do their part by reducing their consumption. The traditional division of labor.

  84. #84 bi -- IJI
    June 22, 2008

    I take it then that Sortition agrees with my characterization of his comment as

    > Gore’s not a hypocrite, but he’s still wrong because he’s rich.

  85. #85 bi -- IJI
    June 22, 2008

    And — again — what’s with Sortition’s obsession with waiting for Gore to tell him what to do? If he doesn’t like what Gore’s saying, and he thinks that global warming is a serious problem, then why doesn’t he simply go ahead and do what he thinks is the right thing?

    But no, he still insists on waiting for Gore to give him commands. It’s almost as if he’s doing everything to do nothing.

    Sortition, I seriously don’t care what you do to reduce global warming. You can reduce energy consumption on your side, you can find a more green-friendly server to host your blog, you can donate to green groups, whatever. I don’t care. But “I’ll do nothing until Gore tells me the right things to do” is simply a dumb rationalization.

    If you don’t want to be treated like sheep, then don’t act like sheep.

  86. #86 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    > “I’ll do nothing until Gore tells me the right things to do” is simply a dumb rationalization.

    Ok. I don’t know why you brought this up, but I am glad you got it off your chest.

    > I seriously don’t care what you do to reduce global warming.

    Why, this is awfully broad minded of you. How about raising the price of heating oil so that a few more families cannot afford it? How is that for an anti-global warming policy?

  87. #87 bi -- IJI
    June 23, 2008

    > Ok. I don’t know why you brought this up, but I am glad you got it off your chest.

    I think that’s Sortition-speak for “yes, it’s true that ‘I’ll do nothing until Gore tells me the right things to do’ is a dumb rationalization… but I’ll still do nothing, because I just want to!”

    Plain old sloth couched in ‘anti-elitist’ rhetoric…

  88. #88 George Darroch
    June 23, 2008

    >I think that’s Sortition-speak for “yes, it’s true that >’I’ll do nothing until Gore tells me the right things to do’ >is a dumb rationalization… but I’ll still do nothing, >because I just want to!”

    Please. Where has Sortiton advocated doing nothing about climate change? Nowhere in this thread. Bashing the rich, yes, but that’s to do with issues surrounding offsets and equity, which concerns that may or may not be legitimate depending on your perspective.

    I’m currently working with the climate change group on my university to tackle the problem of academic travel – there are an awful number of professors gadding around the world to academic conferences while professing concern about climate change. Tackling the current planetary emergency will not be painless. Yes, it won’t cost the earth, and there are many solutions that will improve quality of life, but it isn’t without some sacrifices. And those who are currently consuming the most resources (such as Gore) will have to change their lives the most.

    Or, we can tinker with offsets while emitting for the next 20 years, and hasten the collapse.

  89. #89 bi -- IJI
    June 23, 2008

    > Where has Sortiton advocated doing nothing about climate change?

    What does he advocate to do then? He screams at Gore for “feeding us fairy tales” because Monbiot advocates improving public transport. And now he’s bashing Gore because Gore can afford to buy wind power.

    It seems that Sortition’s “action plan” against AGW is precisely to go around railing at the rich for being rich. There’s no positive vision, no constructive effort, just a whole lot of needless hatred and jealousy.

  90. #90 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 23, 2008

    Sortition posts:

    Others yet, like Gore, can easily afford to consume 200KWatt. Why should the people allow the Gores of our society pollute more than their fair share?

    What kind of weird communist system are you proposing where everyone would have to have exactly the same consumption of exactly the same products and services?

    Gore has a big house and a big staff. Big houses will always consume more energy than smaller houses. That doesn’t mean people who live in big houses should be forced out of them and into some kind of stark Socialist Realism apartment block.

  91. #91 R.K.
    June 23, 2008

    Bi, the same tired sarcasm. Got any new material? I’ve never see a poster ignored so much in any blog as you – and that points to your visceral animosity. Everyone might be better off if you addressed the topic, instead of taking every opposing viewpoint as an affront to your political heroes.

  92. #92 George Darroch
    June 23, 2008

    >Big houses will always consume more energy than smaller >houses. That doesn’t mean people who live in big houses >should be forced out of them and into some kind of stark >Socialist Realism apartment block.

    You’re engaging in hyperbole. There are more than two options.

    We might legislate so that all houses over a certain size must be retrofitted to incorporate energy efficiency (high standard of insulation, heat pumps, double glazing etc.) We might put higher taxes on corporate jets, and they’d just have to put up with the inconvenience of first class airline travel. Those are just two options, I’m sure there are many others. Whether there was a political will to do so is another matter – not in the United States at the present time. But that doesn’t mean we should just wave away charges that the rich have greater obligations than the poor or us as Stalinism. I suspect that the animosity some have to considering these questions comes from a legitimate fear of being excluded from the mainstream political/policy discourse, for being seen as “too radical”.

    Accepting large inequalities in incomes is not the same as accepting large inequalities in the right to pollute.

    I will thank the commenters here for bringing this issue to the forefront of my attention – it certainly deserves greater consideration.

  93. #93 Robin Levett
    June 23, 2008

    @Sortition (#174):

    Are you saying that he should be praised for cutting his consumption from 20 times the average to 19 times the average?

    Did I say that? I asked you where is the hypocrisy.

    [Again, all of this is true assuming that his household size is the same as that of the average household, which is probably not true. But since Gore refuses to make this simple point, I am not going to make it for him.]

    Now we come to it; we all know damn well – the point has been made in this thread – that his household size is not the same as everyone else’s (not everyone, for example, has to accommodate a Secret Service detail), and of course that this is not simply household energy usage, but business usage – two businesses – as well. But it doesn’t suit your argument, so you’ll ignore it.

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

  94. #94 bi -- IJI
    June 23, 2008

    R.K. said:

    > Phoenix Woman, as long as this blog, you and others out there exalt Gore as some kind of savior, there will be people who scrutinize him…especially him – a man with so many warts.

    Then R.K. said:

    > Everyone might be better off if you addressed the topic, instead of taking every opposing viewpoint as an affront to your political heroes.

    Before that, I said:

    > The rest: Why do you keep attacking Al Gore? Why are you so obsessed with him?

    > Inactivists: Because you guys keep defending him. [...] All you guys just like to burn witches, right? [...]

    > The rest: You attacked Al Gore first.

    I hereby proclaim myself as a Level VIII Junior Goracle. Much easier than predicting the climate, is to predict climate troll tactics.

  95. #95 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    >> Where has Sortiton advocated doing nothing about climate change?

    > What does he advocate to do then?

    In case it was not completely clear from my previous comments, let me make this explicit: the course of action that seems the most promising to me is reducing consumption. It is cheap, equitable, feasible and immediate. Personally, I try to be mindful of any environmental resource I exploit and to minimize any such activity.

    Other courses of action (such as green technology) can be pursued as secondary means. I do that too. Just like Gore, I pay the extra couple of cents per kwh to a “green energy” program. I hope this does promote the construction of less polluting energy sources. I don’t, however, consider this fact to be a license for reckless energy consumption.

  96. #96 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    > Sortition posts:

    >> Others yet, like Gore, can easily afford to consume 200KWatt. Why should the people allow the Gores of our society pollute more than their fair share?

    > What kind of weird communist system are you proposing where everyone would have to have exactly the same consumption of exactly the same products and services?

    Strange and insane as it may sound, I believe that the environment belongs to everybody and that everybody, no matter how rich, should be barred from polluting it. Whatever limits are set on the emissions of CO2, for example, should apply uniformly to all.

    > Gore has a big house and a big staff. Big houses will always consume more energy than smaller houses.

    Saying that those who live in big houses should be allowed to pollute more is like saying that those who have a barrel of toxic sludge should be allowed to dump it in the river.

    > That doesn’t mean people who live in big houses should be forced out of them and into some kind of stark Socialist Realism apartment block.

    No – the stark apartments are reserved only for those who cannot afford Gore’s lifestyle.

  97. #97 Sortition
    June 23, 2008

    > I asked you where is the hypocrisy.

    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. Whether you call this hypocrisy or not is up to you.

    > [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.

    > 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.

  98. #98 R.K.
    June 23, 2008

    Great points, Sortition (#197). Whether this common-sense will register on the herded remains to be seen.

  99. #99 z
    June 23, 2008

    “Strange and insane as it may sound, I believe that the environment belongs to everybody and that everybody, no matter how rich, should be barred from polluting it. Whatever limits are set on the emissions of CO2, for example, should apply uniformly to all.”

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

  100. #100 trrll
    June 23, 2008

    As for him paying for “green energy”, this would only make a difference if him not buying that energy would idle the production facility. This is very unlikely because green energy facilities have high setup costs and low running costs. What would happen is that the energy produced by the green facility would replace energy produced using fossil fuel. Thus, again, if Gore reduces his consumption, emissions would drop – meaning his carbon footprint is as high as that of any consumer with his consumption levels.

    This is kind of foolish. 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. So in terms of the potential impact of a reduction of Gore’s energy use, we can consider only the fraction of his energy use that is not CO2 neutral. This is basic arithmetic.

    Rationalizations about the impact of his personal usage of CO2 energy on the CO2 produced by companies that do not sell energy to him are ridiculous. Over time, if there is increased demand for CO2 neutral energy and a reduction in the rate of increase of demand for CO2 generating energy, then energy companies will seek replace CO2 generating capacity with CO2-neutral generating capacity in order to meet demand. So if everybody follows Gore’s example, it will reduce overall CO2 emissions.

    Furthermore, once you start talking about the total impact of Gore’s actions on CO2 pollution, you also have to take into account the impact of his political, entrepreneurial, and educational activities with respect to encouraging a social shift to low-CO2 emissions technologies.

    So there is plenty of reason to believe that Gore’s personal CO2 balance sheet is probably better than that of the average person, even though Gore’s home office uses substantially more total energy than the actual home.

    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. But communist systems with such rigid governmental control do not seem to have fared so well historically, and they certainly do not seem to have done any better at protecting the environment than capitalist societies who address such problems by taxes and markets.

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