Gore decreases his energy usage so TCPR lies about it

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.

More like this

It looks like the right-wing noise machine is (again) trying to beat back reality with truthiness. The current target is our former vice-president, Al Gore. It's kind of hard to tell what they think his current sin is, exactly. As far as I can tell, it looks like conservatives are mostly mad at…
I've always liked Tom Murphy's "Do the Math" work, and I really like his latest piece on phantom loads and electricity cutting. That's one of the very first steps for most of us whe we seriously try and cut our electrical usage, but one that a lot of people don't know to do about. We've been able…
I've been thinking more about energy sources since oil was at $50/barrel . Since we reached the staggering heights of the last few months, I've been puzzling even more over what people will move to next. Key to understanding this stuff is how much energy it takes to get your source in a useful form…
So says Sci-Am. The article is high on pic and low on facts. Only a small percentage of the CO2 is captured - 1.5% - but that is OK, it is only a demo plant. The key question, of course, is how much extra coal is burnt to achieve this? This vital fact is not clearly provided. The 1.5% is clear And…

I love Wingnuttia's thrashing around for totems to hate.

Best,

D

Lambert, you can quibble on the detailed figures, but you've yet to address the substantial central claim:

> Lots of talk, but more bloated than ever. It's almost like a metaphor.

Yes, that's it: Al Gore is fat!

Frank, you latte-lovin lib'rulll idiots never get it right. Its 'Algore', you AGW religion-loving moron.

HTH.

Best,

D

Let's see ... if I understand the argument, Gore uses a lot of energy, so global warming doesn't exist. I think there's a name for that argument, but I like "stupid" best.

Wow, that was sure dumb. What I like is how he waited until there was nobody left to endorse, and then he endorsed Obama. I was very surprised when I saw that! Like, I was even biting my fingernails in anticipation!

I'd agree that the contention that Gore's electrical usage increased is a bit deceptive...it increased until 2006, but has apparently decreased about 3.6% in 2007. This, however, is quite insignificant and may be attributed to a slightly-cooler billing year (and 2007 was indeed a cool year).

The real story here is Gore's continued profligate use of electricity and natural gas. I checked my previous year's usage and, on a per-square-foot basis, I'm sitting at around 6 kwh/sf. Gore is sucking back 3.5 times that. If global warming is such a crisis, I think it's not too much to ask Al Gore to cut back to what I'm using, given that he's saying I need to cut back, too.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

So, Jeffersonian, how many employees do you run out of your house? What were your receipts for revenues and expenses?

Close to Algoreisfat!!!!!'s revenues?

No? Is your house built to modern code with R-values or is it a large antebellum mansion? No?

Smarter clowns, please.

Best,

D

He IS cutting back and renovating and doing what he should to use less energy. But go ahead and ignore what's in the post.

A few inferences:
Gore's heating is now 90% Geothermal, 10% Natural Gas
The electricity is 4% solar, and 96% renewable from the local utility company. Seems to me that the carbon footprint of the house/office is very low.

The geothermal heating, solar, and efficiency upgrades have lowered utility bills by 40%.

It will be interesting to see if they report the bills next year, although I'm sure the headline will be, "Gore's home/business uses enough carbon free energy to power a village of starving Africans!"

Dano:

> Its 'Algore', you AGW religion-loving moron.

Aww crap. Maybe it should be written "Al-Gore", much like "Al-Qaida". Heck, let's write that in the Arabic script: اÙجÙر.

Anyway, he is fat, and that's what matters.

Jeffersonian: '2007 was indeed a cool year'; just .84°C above the 1951-1980 baseline which makes it the coolest since, ehm, 2005.I guess cool ain't as cool as it used to be.

By Ben Lankamp (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

So, Jeffersonian, how many employees do you run out of your house? What were your receipts for revenues and expenses?

Close to Algoreisfat!!!!!'s revenues?

No? Is your house built to modern code with R-values or is it a large antebellum mansion? No?

Smarter clowns, please.

Perhaps you'll tell us all how many employees Al Gore runs out of his home and what equipment they're operating. I have several computers I run here, probably what Gore's employees do (perhaps even a bit more energy-intensive, even). I don't see what revenues would have to do with it - being a lecturer with a small staff is not exactly an energy-intensive activity.

As for the home itself, I think you've put your finger on it. There are ways to upgrade even antebellum homes to modern R values, but Gore didn't even begin to implement them until it became an embarrassment. Why did such an environmentally-aware guy buy such a BTU-chugger?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

It was pointed out to me that "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." is technically correct, but is comparing apples to oranges.

In the past year, the average American household used enough electricity to power 12 average American households for a month. How shocking!

By Wolf Corlett (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Gore's residential energy use until Nov. 2007:

Home and business utilities + renovation energy use.

After renovation, the first is down by 40% and the second down by 100%.

Can Jeffersonian disaggregate? Doubtful.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm still waiting to hear what the size of Gore's staff is.

If his electrical usage is down 40%, he's still at almost 13 kwh/sf, more than twice the usage of this amoral right-wing madman.

And I might add that you don't gauge cooling load by mean annual temperature, but number of cooling degree-days. Using that measure, I'll agree that 2007 was a hot one that would increase AC usage.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm still waiting to hear what the size of Gore's staff is.

Is there a method for getting that data that everyone on the planet can employ except you, or do you just like to boss people around?

Not everyone can live in mom's basement like Jeffersonian.

The real story here is Gore's continued profligate use of electricity and natural gas.

but Gore didn't even begin to implement them until it became an embarrassment.

What's Jeffersonian's latest excuse for bashing Gore? I forgot. Maybe that's because it keeps changing.

Is there a method for getting that data that everyone on the planet can employ except you, or do you just like to boss people around?

Apparently Dano has access to that information given the implication of his post that Gore's profligate electrical usage is due (at least in part) to the large number of employees he has. I'm just asking him, or anyone else, what that number is. I'll even take a ballpark, say, within five, and a guess as to what this power-draining equipment they have might be.

Not everyone can live in mom's basement like Jeffersonian.

Does this policy:

Personal atttacks on other commenters will be disemvowelled.

apply to everyone, or just folks you disagree with?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

According to Tipper, Al's staff is muy, muy grande.

The do-nothing brigade will never run short of excuses, diversions, prevarications as to why we should sit on our collective hands. It's the ultimate asymmetrical warfare.

By trollhattan (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

What's Jeffersonian's latest excuse for bashing Gore? I forgot. Maybe that's because it keeps changing.

On the contrary, I've been quite consistent in my criticism. In my first post I called the claim of a 10% increase in usage "deceptive." The real story here, as I said, is Gore's insouciance about using so much energy until it became politically embarrassing to him. This suggests that his recent efforts at economy are motivated by public relations more than any concern for the environment.

At any rate, it's good to see Al finally get his kwh draw down to something just ridiculous as opposed to absurd.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

The do-nothing brigade will never run short of excuses, diversions, prevarications as to why we should sit on our collective hands.

I'm not sure who the "do-nothing brigade" is, but personally I've done the following in the last few years:

* Gone to all CFL lamps in standard-base, non-dimmable fixtures (about 50 lamps overall)
* Refitted my entire home with double-paned, high-R windows with low-E glass
* Swapped my old furnace for one that's 92% efficient
* Junked my old A/C for a 15-SEER unit
* Installed a high-efficiency water heater
* Planted several trees to shade the house, reducing summer cooling bills
* Installed motion-detecting porch and deck fixtures to reduce unneeded exterior lighting

I did this all without government compulsion, but I'm still the enemy because I did it for one reason only: Greed.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

It's a frickin joke!

Unless of course you want to present a schematic of your home and provide copies of your electric bills for 2007.

And it's pretty clear that the Gore home doesn't function as just a residence. How many of our homes are consuming energy all day because it's full of people working in it?

Why don't we compare Gore's home to say... Cheney's Wyoming home or Bush's Texas ranch.

Not that they would ever let the public know.

Careful Jeffersonian, with that kind of language they might start calling you a racist, sexist and homophobe.

Why don't we compare Gore's home to say... Cheney's Wyoming home or Bush's Texas ranch.

Not that they would ever let the public know.

Ask and ye shall receive. Bush-Gore Home Comparison

This is really just too easy.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Fix the link

Here's some text from CommonDreams, hardly an organ of the vast right-wing conspiracy:

The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.

Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.

A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.

No, this is not the home of some eccentrically wealthy eco-freak trying to shame his fellow citizens into following the pristineness of his self-righteous example. And no, it is not the wilderness retreat of the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council, a haven where tree-huggers plot political strategy.

This is President George W. Bush's "Texas White House" outside the small town of Crawford.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'm still waiting to hear what the size of Gore's staff is.

Please, no more discussions about hung juries or Tipper's a size queen or how it 'bends to the right' or shoe sizes or anything like that. This is a family blog, d&mmit.

Best,

D

BTW, the beginning of an HTML tag is not [a], it is [a href=""]. [/a] is the correct close. The URL goes in the quotes and the text between the > and the /a is what gets highlighted.

Best,

D

Unless of course you want to present a schematic of your home and provide copies of your electric bills for 2007.

And it's pretty clear that the Gore home doesn't function as just a residence. How many of our homes are consuming energy all day because it's full of people working in it?

Huh? What good would schematics do?? I'll give you a hint of the wiring, Steve: All 120V loads are connected between one of two incoming legs, each 180 degrees out of phase with each other, an neutral. Large loads are connected to both incoming legs and the same neutral. That's about it!

You're the second to claim that Gore's electrical usage is due to the number of people, and also the second to fail to tell us how many that might be. To be on par with my place, Gore would have to have 24 people there 24 hours a day. Think that he's got that many?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Nice. So why don't you try to do at LEAST what Bush does.
I think it's obvious why Gore's old mansion uses so much energy... Gore is really an evil reptilian who wants to secretly warm the earth to better suit his natural preference.

Thanks, Dano, that's what I was using, but the <> instead of squared brackets.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I would guess that the above is a link to a comparison between Bush's Crawford ranch, and Gore's home, which ignores a number of issues, not least the fact that Gore lives in his home, while Bush at least occasionally spends time in the White House.

Nice. So why don't you try to do at LEAST what Bush does.

I might, but I'm going to depreciate these assets first. We had a pretty hot summer last year and my electric bills went down by about 11%.

I think it's obvious why Gore's old mansion uses so much energy... Gore is really an evil reptilian who wants to secretly warm the earth to better suit his natural preference.

Really? I just assumed it was because he's wealthy and only interested in the environment as a means to expansion of that wealth (not to mention the power of the state, that magical elixer upon which the port side swills so drunkenly). But don't reptiles like it hot?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I didn't mean electric plans.. I meant floor plan. Square footage, amount of closets, bathrooms and windows.

It's OBVIOUS why Gore's mansion consumes more energy per square foot... IT'S A BIG OLD HOUSE.

Let it go.

My home is 2780 square feet, about 28% the size of Gore's. I have plans, but they're C-size hardcopies and I'm not having them scanned to refute what is, in essence, an ad hominem argument.

It uses less than 16,000 kwh per year of electricity, less than what Gore runs through is wires in a typical summer month. On a per-sf basis, I'm using less than 1/3 of what Gore does.

And let's not forget, larger homes tend to be more efficient than smaller home on a per-sf basis for the simple reason that energy-intensive areas like laundry rooms and kitchens are not generally duplicated in larger homes. Or will you now contend that Tipper is doing laundry of those daily throngs that traipse through Chez Gore?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I might add that the 2780 figure is exclusive of a finished basement. Including brings the footage to well over 4,000 and greatly adds to the already huge disparity in energy usage. But I didn't want to pile on.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Uhg. I was making a joke about you living in your mom's basement. I don't really want proof that you don't.

You're reasoning for why a 20 room mansion would use less energy per square foot than a 2 or 3 bedroom house doesn't add up.

Are you really trying to say that Gore uses a lot of energy because it makes him feel powerful? Your logic doesn't really add up.

Sigh...I see killfile coming soon.

I suspect Jeffersonian's house may be built to IBC, which IIRC is R-19 walls and R-35 roofs. The cooling of the Algoreacleisfat!!! house is likely much harder with the R-8-11 walls.

And I suspect Algore is purchasing carbon offsets.

Best,

D

You're reasoning for why a 20 room mansion would use less energy per square foot than a 2 or 3 bedroom house doesn't add up.

Sure it does. How many refrigerators, ranges, washers, dryers, dishwashers, etc. does a 10,000sf house need as opposed to one that is 2,800sf? (I have two, BTW, a 48" Kitchenaid built-in in the kitchen and a standard fridge in the garage for soda and beer). Do you think the Gores have eight full-sized refrigerators? I also have a low-water, low-power LG front-loading washer and dryer...do the Gores have four of each? Ditto cooktops, ovens, ranges...well, you get the point.

Furthermore, lighting should be a lower draw in a large home as opposed to a smaller one just by virtue of a smaller percentage of the rooms being occupied at any one time. Is this imaginary multitude at Big Al's staying the night, leaving all the lamps burning?

Are you really trying to say that Gore uses a lot of energy because it makes him feel powerful? Your logic doesn't really add up.

No, I'm saying he's actually indifferent to the environment based on the priorities he's actually set in his life. Just out of pure common sense, one would seek to reduce one's energy costs so long as payback is reasonably anticipated. Yet it never occurred to Gore to have an effect in the one realm where he had the unequivocal power to do so: His own home.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

And I suspect Algore is purchasing carbon offsets.

He does...from his own company. Like taking money from one pocket and putting in another, really.

But wouldn't it be more eco-conscious not to have all that carbon being generated in the first place?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Yeah. You just don't like Al Gore.

Even if Al biked everywhere and never flew on an airplane again, you'd find an angle to call him a hypocrite.

It's boring.

"No, I'm saying he's actually indifferent to the environment based on the priorities he's actually set in his life. Just out of pure common sense, one would seek to reduce one's energy costs so long as payback is reasonably anticipated. Yet it never occurred to Gore to have an effect in the one realm where he had the unequivocal power to do so: His own home."

"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."

Can Jeffersonian see the contradiction between his statement and the actual facts? Doubtful.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Can Jeffersonian see the contradiction between his statement and the actual facts? Doubtful.

As I said before, these energy-reduction projects became a priority only after the reality of Gore's profligate energy consumption became public. Up to then, Gore was perfectly content to use gas and electricity in vast quantities.

What does that say about his priorities?

Me, I did all my energy-saving stuff to save money, not to impress anyone. But that's me.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Even if Al biked everywhere and never flew on an airplane again, you'd find an angle to call him a hypocrite.

Good point...we haven't even touched on the amount of carbon Gore releases into the atmosphere from his jet-setting.

Will I get to gad about on private jets once Al's policies are in place?

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Is there some kind of troll tag team going on here? Why do we get only one wingnut at a time? It gets dull after a while.

My total CO2 emissions are probably just a tiny bit below the UK average thanks to our carbon intensive economy. None the less I don't fly, don't own a car, bicycle to work, buy organic food if I can, wear largely second hand clothes, and i live in a tiny boat whre our total energy burn i about 3 tonnes CO2 per anum. Quit sniping at Gore and spend the energy doing better than I have. Low energy bulbs my arse.

By jodyaberdein (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

(not to mention the power of the state, that magical elixer[sic] upon which the port side swills so drunkenly)

You mean like using the power of the state to invade and interfere in the internal sovereignty of foreign countries to control their resources, while simultaneously increasing domestic police powers against their own citizens?

Oops! That's the magic elixir of state power which the rightards swill so drunkenly.

Sorry.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

"As I said before, these energy-reduction projects became a priority only after the reality of Gore's profligate energy consumption became public."

Gore bought his house 3(three) years ago and immediately began renovation with the priority of building a showcase of energy efficiency (It's his thing). His so-called 'profligate energy use' became a public issue less than 2(two) years ago.

So unless Jeffersonian lives in an alternative universe where time runs backward, he is just plain wrong.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I think Jefferson's main problem is that Al Gore never personally paid him a visit to divulge his plans to buy a home and renovate it to be a "showcase of energy efficiency" and so the only fair thing to assume was that Gore cared nothing for the environment. What else could one possibly assume? And then assert.

I can't confirm the Gore's 2005 purchase of their home, LB. Can you provide a link?

Also, I was able to get new windows and doors in a matter of weeks for my home, new A/C and furnace even more quickly. A trip to Sam's took less than an hour to get all the CFLs I needed, too. What took Gore so long to do these things?

As I said, it's all about what one's priorities are.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

I'd say a complete renovation of a 80 year old home in an historical district of Nashville might require a little more planning and political jockeying with the local zoning board than a quick trip to Wal-Mart.

The Gore's apparently bought this place in 2002. They immediately hired one of the nation's premier green architectural firms to design the renovation. It wasn't until 2005 that they got zoning permission to begin work.

Politics, eh?

They'd already changed out the light bulbs.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Again, link?

I understand they needed zoning variance for the solar panels, but an A/C condenser? Plus solar panels are a generation device...they don't have anything to do with consumption.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

You are so #$%@ing awesome!!! Thank you for blasting this nonsense!!! Unfortunately, the dittoheads have dugg it way up in popularity. No wonder they don't believe in Global Warming, they can't do basic math! : )

and 2007 was indeed a cool year

Yeah, I think half of August was over 100 in Nashville (it was in Memphis). And if it was cooler as a whole last year, that means more money on heating in the winter. Here in Tennessee, our utility bills are higher in the winter than in the summer.

What A/C condenser?

Jeffersonian apparently has no knowledge nor experience working with zoning boards in historical districts.

Nor what happens to one's utility bills when one brings in a construction crew to do a major renovation.

Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

While you guys have shifted the focus to Jeffersonian and his energy use what about Al Gore? Regardless of the article getting it's facts wrong the issue is that Mr. Gore is a super consumer and there is no question about that. Is it really significant that he reduced his electricity use at his Nashville home to only consumes the electricity of 19 average homes? And this is one of his many houses/condos. If the idea is that we should reduce our emissions by living extravagant lives while opting for all the green options along the way as Mr. Gore does I doubt we will see any decrease in emissions.

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.

And he owns a private jet? What unbelievably hypocritical person.

"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."

Well, put it like that, and I can definitely see that global warming is over and the earth has cooled since 1998.

What A/C condenser?

I'm aware that Gore has geothermal climate control now, LB, but that was only after a mad scramble to repair the PR disaster of his obvious energy gluttony. Prior to his heat pump(s), he surely had in place a conventional A/C system that could have benefitted from a high-SEER condenser.

Jeffersonian apparently has no knowledge nor experience working with zoning boards in historical districts.

Nor what happens to one's utility bills when one brings in a construction crew to do a major renovation.

Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

Perhaps you can enlighten us with your vast knowledge on the topics, right after you provide the link to validate your assertion regarding the purchase date of Gore's home. And what effect would a construction crew working in 2007 have on Gore's 2005 and 2006 energy bills?

I see a lot of assertions, LB, with little support.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

And let's not forget that the sump-pumping you southpaws are so valiantly engaging in here is in defense of a guy who is reducing his electrical usage to roughly 12 times what the average American home uses, more than twice what it uses on a per-sf basis.

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

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

...that was only after a mad scramble to repair the PR disaster of his obvious energy gluttony.

So, Jeffersonian, where's your source demonstrating that this modification was due to public outcry, and not already-planned?

My money's on the proposition that Al Gore is not responding to the "PR disaster", seeing as no one outside the Gore-Derangement-suffering wing of the Right even gives a rat's posterior about the matter.

Personally, I don't understand this obsession with showing him to be a hypocrite, as hypocrisy does not invalidate an argument.

More in Jeffersonian's list of Main Excuses for bashing Gore:

we haven't even touched on the amount of carbon Gore releases into the atmosphere from his jet-setting.

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

Yeah, that's the main point, like all other main points. Al Gore is a crypto-commie!

Not only that: he's a fat crypto-commie too.

Therefore AGW is a scam.

Time doesn't just run backwards in Jeffersonian's universe, it organizes itself positionally and extensionally in accord to his a priori assumptions.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Personally, I don't understand this obsession with showing him to be a hypocrite, as hypocrisy does not invalidate an argument.

Posh tosh! Do your fancy-schmancy math and see, sir, that my flying all over for conferences and out west for a nice backpack on Vancouver Is makes my carbon footprint large! Large, I say! Huuuuuge! Ginormously humongous!!! Wow! What a hypocrite!

This, therefore, negates any argument I may make in the near future about how global cooling is a bogus argument. Therefore, there is global cooling, despite more CO2 in the air!!! Brrrrrr!

It is simply the best denialist logic evarrrr. Because it must be true, else their ideology is invalidated.

Best,

D

if we think of Gore Manor as a "dacha."

Oh, yes:

I see we're getting dangerously close to calling GoreWins Law on this thread. Pity, too, as this thread is a hoot. Hoot, I say.

Best,

D

Jeffersonian.

I am a little surprised.

My use of electricity averaged under 2.5 kw.h.f-2, in an Australian house built in the 50s to very dodgy eco-standards. This was as a partying postgrad student with an average of three people at any one time in the house, in a climate that varied from 0º to 42ºC.

My next house, of strawbale/adobe and in a climate that varies from -3.5º to 40ºC, should average, at the most, no more than half of my previous home, and will do so purely on solar HW and PV. This for 3-4 people, and I don't think that we live as do hermits in a cave.

What's sucking your power the most?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

So, Jeffersonian, where's your source demonstrating that this modification was due to public outcry, and not already-planned?

My money's on the proposition that Al Gore is not responding to the "PR disaster", seeing as no one outside the Gore-Derangement-suffering wing of the Right even gives a rat's posterior about the matter.

The fact that the most vigorous defense of the Gores' gluttony was, at the time the original revelation was made, that they were going to get a zoning variance for the solar panels. Not a word about the supposed architect firm, nothing about having just bought the joint, no pointing to a geothermal heat pump. All of those things sprung to the fore afterward.

Like Glenn Reynolds says, I'll start taking AGW more seriously when the proponents start taking it more seriously.

Yeah, that's the main point, like all other main points. Al Gore is a crypto-commie!

My comment, for the more obtuse here, was about Gore's slavish defenders, not him in particular. But I'll defer to your judgement.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Al Gore has nothing to do with the validity of the science of global warming. I've been convinced of the science behind global warming for many years, and an activist on the issue since at least 02. I don't see any suggestion from either myself or Jeffersonian disputing the science, and I find Dano's comments particularly offensive, as if criticising Al Gore is disputing climate change.

He does however have a lot to do with convincing people to take urgent and meaningful action against global warming. His hypocrisy is damaging to the latter. And that really pisses me off. Fuck him and his private jet.

that they were going to get a zoning variance for the solar panels.

Right. Energy sources had to be near the ground, to abate noise, and the code didn't think about solar panels being a source (or someone didn't want to look at them).

So what. I work with architects all the time, and many of them miss sh*t like that. All the time.

You are thrashing about. You got nothin'.

and I find Dano's comments particularly offensive, as if criticising Al Gore is disputing climate change

Oooh! Victim bully!

Algore is fat!!! Eat the rich!

Best,

D

I'm fasicnated by the attitude of Jefferssoni8an et al that Al gore (who is aftert all a Democrat and therefore guilty of treason) MUST provide complete details of every aspect of his personal life.

While we're at it's let demand daily drug tests for the rest of his life.

Gore isn't just "a lecturer" - he's Chairman of the Board of at least two company, a director of several others (including Apple); acts as a business consultant and has various obligations as a former VP.

Since 9/11 it's been reliably reported that ALL living ex-VPs and ex-Presidents are under 24-hour Secret Service guard. (Of course, if that was the case and Gore pointed it otu he'd be endangering national security and exposing those brave men and women to danger in order to make himself look good according to the wing-nuts).

Oh and let's ignore the fact that the power bill includes not jsut the main house but the guest-house.

I'm sure that as a former VP who was heavily involved in foreign affairs, Gore is never expected to host foreign dignitaries or THEIR security details.

But that's absurd - like asking how much energy went into the construction of that low-energy use House of Dubya's. (which is the ONLY house he owns, right? right?)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeffersonian.

At #70:

Like Glenn Reynolds says, I'll start taking AGW more seriously when the proponents start taking it more seriously.

To repeat the thoughts of others, aren't you shooting the messenger?

If you have problems with the data on AGW, what are they?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

"He does...from his own company. Like taking money from one pocket and putting in another, really."

He would only be able to pocket his share of the profit from the sale of the offsetting. Likely he just gets discounts, so no other partner gets to profit from it. Offsetting still has to occur and be certified.

"But wouldn't it be more eco-conscious not to have all that carbon being generated in the first place?

It's called Return on Investment.

"He does...from his own company. Like taking money from one pocket and putting in another, really.

But wouldn't it be more eco-conscious not to have all that carbon being generated in the first place?'

More lies.

Gore is one of the shareholders in Generation Asset Management, a director of the company and a major investor.

Generation Investment Management is an investment company not an offset company.

http://www.generationim.com/about/values.html

Generation Investment Management purchases offsets for ALL its employees - including Gore. It does so from an entirely unrelated company.

This is according ot that notorious fan-left pro-Gore eco-greeny site Cybercast News Service

http://www.generationim.com/about/values.html

Oh and why is Al purchasing green power in the first palce if instead he could "purchase offsets from himself".

The level of paranoia and economic illiteracy here is extraordinary. (For example , Al Gore's company presumably manufactures these offsets out of thin air at zero cost.)

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

"And he owns a private jet? What unbelievably hypocritical person."

Got any proof for that?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh and let's not forget that according to the utility company that actually supplies power to the Gore residency the Tenessee Centre for Privacy Invasion's claims about Gore's 2006 consumption were wrong in the first place.

But when one's battling traitors like Gore, lies and invasion of privacy are entirely justified. Right Jeffersonian?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Like Glenn Reynolds says, I'll start taking AGW more seriously when the proponents start taking it more seriously.

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.

"Which is exactly the point - how many people are swayed of taking action by this kind of refusal to take climate change really seriously"

You mean like paying thousands of dollars a year to source your electricity from renewable sources?

Yeah, why doesn't gore do that?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Re: 79

(but also for all who would seek to hide behind anyone who emits more CO2 than they do before they even contemplate the need for serious reductions)

'I'll start taking AGW more seriously when the proponents start taking it more seriously'

Why don't you read about Mayer Hillman then? Or better still read his book:

http://tinyurl.com/5trztx

Or alternatively you could read about Jeremy Leggett, particularly how he used to find oil for BP but now does something rather less polluting. Or you could read his book:

http://tinyurl.com/54tlls

This would have the advantage of somewhat showing you up against the high standards of professional obfuscation that USA negotiators have been practicing at climate talks for decades. They could certainly teach you a thing or two.

By jodyaberdein (not verified) on 18 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeffersonian writes, of Al Gore:

he's wealthy and only interested in the environment as a means to expansion of that wealth

And you know this how? Telepathy?

Al Gore was one of Roger Revelle's students. He knew about the greenhouse effect long before global warming was an issue.

Jeffersonian writes:

My home is 2780 square feet, about 28% the size of Gore's. I have plans, but they're C-size hardcopies and I'm not having them scanned to refute what is, in essence, an ad hominem argument.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA!!!

You're opposed to ad hominem arguments, are you? Except when they apply to Al Gore?

Don't you think these things through before you post them?

Gore haters like Jeffersonian and Glenn Reynolds always the most uninformed? They ignore:

1. Gore pays for TN's Green power switch, which means he pays extra to use green energy AND his paying extra allows the program to expand.
2. Gore has offices in his home.
3. TN has higher than average energy consumption.

And then the old "Gore buys offsets from himself" idiocy that rightwingers can never figure out is wrong.

Anyone care to bet that Gore sells carbon offsets?

Jeffersonian posts:

Like Glenn Reynolds says, I'll start taking AGW more seriously when the proponents start taking it more seriously.

Good idea, Jeff. And start taking black holes seriously when Stephen Hawking actually starts orbiting one. And Einstein -- did he ever make any effort to travel near the speed of light? No? Then why should I take relativity seriously?

Remember, folks -- scientific theories stand or fall, not on the empirical evidence, but on the personal characteristics of people who talk about them.

I say again:

I love Wingnuttia's thrashing around for totems to hate.

Best,

D

Jeffersonian,
As far as I'm concerned, Al Gore is welcome to use as much energy as he likes, as long as it's generated by renewable, non-CO2 generating energy sources like solar panels or recovered methane combustion. You're confusing the topics of energy consumption and carbon footprints. It's neither an original argument nor a valid one.

My next house, of strawbale/adobe and in a climate that varies from -3.5º to 40ºC, should average, at the most, no more than half of my previous home, and will do so purely on solar HW and PV. This for 3-4 people, and I don't think that we live as do hermits in a cave.

What's sucking your power the most?

Without putting a meter on specific branch circuits it's hard to know for sure, but just looking at the seasonal cycling of my bill, it's fairly heavily loaded to air conditioning. Other major load classes would probably include cooking (we're all electric, aside from the BBQ) and computers.

I'm going from memory here, but we're about 45% over the national average in terms of per-household electrical consumption, but about 10% under in terms of per-sf consumption.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh and let's not forget that according to the utility company that actually supplies power to the Gore residency the Tenessee Centre for Privacy Invasion's claims about Gore's 2006 consumption were wrong in the first place.

But when one's battling traitors like Gore, lies and invasion of privacy are entirely justified. Right Jeffersonian?

If the Tennessee Center had really invaded Gore's privacy, wouldn't they have gotten the numbers right? As I recall, the accurate numbers were on the order of 191,000 kwh for the period the Center cited. Of course, if we use those numbers as a basline, then Gore's usage did go up to 213,000 kwh the subsequent year and the Center is indeed correct.

Take yer pick, folks.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Oh, and as far as the Gores jumping right on the green energy thing at their home(s), that does not appear to be the case:

But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore's office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes.

That was late 2006, after the revelation of Gore's gigawatt gluttony. As I said, it wasn't a priority until it became an embarrassment.

And, unlike the poster who made that apparently false claim, I'll provide a link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-08-09-gore-green_x…

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Sigh...

191,000 kwh for the period the Center cited. Of course, if we use those numbers as a basline, then Gore's usage did go up to 213,000 kwh the subsequent year and the Center is indeed correct.

The old, pre-completed numbers were right around average kwh per per sf for the area.

This argumentation is similar to, oh, "Ten Trilllll-yun dollars to fix AGW!!! OMG!!!!!", when the cost per unit of GDP is small.

I provided, above, a piccie of the Gore Mansion. It is huge. So we must get down to a common unit, which is kwh/sf.

Now it is just so wonderful that Mr Perfect Jeffersonian has such a low kwh/sf in his home, built likely to IBC and thus much more energy-efficient than a three-quarter century old Mansion, so let's look at average kwh/sf for the climate region, and the GoreacleHypocriteMansion is right in there with the rest of them.

Profligate my *ss. Unless one means profligate use of green energy and credits and offsets.

We are continuing the smear campaign by rebutting this bullsh!t. Jeffersonian, you are full of sh!t.

[killfile]

Thanks for the fun, folks. It's been, well, if not enlightening, at least interesting. It doesn't take a weatherman to see which way the wind's blowing here...environmentalism as as much to do with the actual environment as straw does with strawberries.

Tchau, palhaços.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeffersonian, you ignored my post about the distinction between energy consumption and CO2 footprint. And that article about Gore is an outdated EDITORIAL which presents no actual evidence that Gore isn't signed up for the TVA Green Power Switch program. Troll.

I provided, above, a piccie of the Gore Mansion. It is huge. So we must get down to a common unit, which is kwh/sf.

It's right around 10,000 sf. Do the math, idiot. It's nowhere near the "average" of the area and I defy you to support your baseless assertion. Put up or shut up.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Jeffersonian, you ignored my post about the distinction between energy consumption and CO2 footprint. And that article about Gore is an outdated EDITORIAL which presents no actual evidence that Gore isn't signed up for the TVA Green Power Switch program. Troll.

Indeed, it's an editorial, but the cited passage is not opinion, but an assertion of fact.

By Jeffersonian (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

And Einstein -- did he ever make any effort to travel near the speed of light? No? Then why should I take relativity seriously?

Hey, he married his first cousin, didn't he? Isn't that relative enough?

Jeffersonian,
Actually, that's hearsay, not an assertion of fact. And given that author's record, "Correction: In this column that appeared Aug. 10 on the Forum Page, writer Peter Schweizer inaccurately stated that former vice president Al Gore receives royalties from a zinc mine on his property in Tennessee despite his environmental advocacy. He no longer does, as the mine was closed in 2003.", you would be well-advised to take it with a grain of salt.

I'm confused after reading all this. The claim is that Gore does not consider global warming dangerous because he uses more energy than most.

I remember reading somewhere (Can't remember if it was a book or a blog comment -- my shoddy memory) that someone making that sort of argument would have claimed that since FDR had fresh tires on his presidential limo and all the food he wanted/needed, they wouldn't have to ration for the war effort themselves. Or that since Churchill was being chauffeured all over the UK to make speeches, he had no business decreasing common access to gasoline.

I find your usage of tu quoque fallacious:

Al Gore makes criticism "We should not live energy-irresponsibly"
Al Gore is guilty of living energy irresponsibly.
Therefore, "We should not live energy-irresponsibly" is dismissed.

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.

By AtheistAcolyte (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Remember guys, the real problem with Gore is that he's a crypto-commie. And a fat crypto-commie at that.

Yes, that's the real problem. And once Gore earns wads of money by conjuring up carbon offsets with Satanic demon fluff, he'll use them to finance the machinations of THIRD WORLD KLEPTOCRATS!!!!!!!!!! who will then, with the collaboration of Silicon Valley Alternative Energy Impresariosâ¢, bring about a full resurrection of the Soviet Union.

It's all foretold in the Great Book of the Climatati.

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?

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.

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. :-)

By AtheistAcolyte (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

"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.

Ben,

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

Dickhead.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

Pardon my French.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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?

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.

Ben still doesn't get it ...

Answer the question, Ben.

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

Lopeta, yourself, dickhead.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

> 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.

"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.

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!

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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.

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?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 19 Jun 2008 #permalink

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. "

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!"

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.

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.

> 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.

> 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By AtheistAcolyte (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

> 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.

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.

> 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.

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?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

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).

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

>> 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.

> 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?

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.

> 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.

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.

> 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.

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

By AtheistAcolyte (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

> 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.

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.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

> 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.

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.

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.

By AtheistAcolyte (not verified) on 20 Jun 2008 #permalink
He's also a politician.

Yes. He's also a mammal.

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

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 21 Jun 2008 #permalink

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?

> 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.

erratum in #165:

> if they reduced their consumption to 20 mwh

Should be:

if they reduced their consumption to *12* mwh

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!

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!

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.

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?

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 22 Jun 2008 #permalink

"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.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 22 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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.]

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.

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.

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.

"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.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 22 Jun 2008 #permalink

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!!!!!

>> 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?

> 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.

> 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.

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.

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.

> "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?

> 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...

>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.

> 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.

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.

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.

>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.

@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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 23 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

>> 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.

> 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.

> 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.

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

"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!

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.

> 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.

> 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.

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.

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.

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.

>> 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.

> 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.

> 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.

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!

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.

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.

"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.

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.

@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?

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 25 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

> 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.

> 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.

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…

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.

> 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.

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.

@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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 26 Jun 2008 #permalink

> "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.

> 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.

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.

@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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 27 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 28 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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...

> 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.

> 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.

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).

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.

@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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 29 Jun 2008 #permalink

> 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?

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.

@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?

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 30 Jun 2008 #permalink

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.

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.

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.

@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.

By Robin Levett (not verified) on 01 Jul 2008 #permalink

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?

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?

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)