Thursday, June 19, 2008

If only we commoners could afford Al Gore's carbon footprint...

A year ago we saw that Al Gore was investing a lot of money in his Tennessee mansion to help it comply with U.S. Green Building Council standards.

You would think that after all of those improvements, we would see the efficiency improvements reflected in an overall decrease in the amount of energy consumed in Gore's home. You would be wrong.

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research has been watching Gore's energy usage for a long time. It was their first press release about his wasteful lifestyle that appears to have prompted last year's renovations.

TCPR issued another report this week letting us know how things are going at the Gore estate:
In the year since Al Gore took steps to make his home more energy-efficient, the former Vice President’s home energy use surged more than 10%, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

[...]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.
In addition to efficiency improvements, Gore relies on the purchase of carbon offsets to somehow make his off-the-charts consumption (both at home and in his extensive travel by private jet) okay.

What he has really done is prove that reliance on carbon offsets tends to lead to an increase in wasteful consumption. This makes sense, because carbon offsets amount to doing penance for your bad behavior without actually making an effort to modify the bad behavior.

June 20 UPDATE: Although the numbers in TCPR's June 17th press release are internally consistent, it is true that, as detractor Tim Lambert observes, the numbers are not consistent with TCPR's 2007 press release about Gore's 2006 consumption (linked above). It appears to boil down to a misstated number in the 2007 press release -- which to my knowledge TCPR has never corrected. I have asked them for an official clarification, and will post an update if and when I hear back from them.