Last night, via a hitherto unknown think tank in Tennessee, we all learned that Al Gore’s evidently talking the talk, but not walking the walk:
In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.
The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.
Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.
Bless their sweet, non-partisan hearts!
Okay — not really. This group seems to have a massive axe to grind, and given the volume of the shrieking, it looks like the Right has been bottling up a fair amount of anger at Al Gore that truly needed some airing out.
However, just because the chicken’s lost his head doesn’t mean the sky isn’t falling (so to speak). It’s hard to look at these numbers (evidently a matter of public record), and not wonder how Al Gore can possibly stand on a
stage pedestal and advise any of us on our power consumption.
ABC’s coverage of the story has some numbers, and it looks to me like their power-hog is the pool house. Evidently, it’s sucking down roughly half of those embarrassing numbers, which probably (but not definitively) means they’re heating their pool year round.
Foul!!!! Polimom and DH have a big house and a pool, but we can’t swim in it year round because we’d be unable to afford food. We, of course, are not Al and Tipper, and there’s the real rub. It’s not just that Al Gore is seen as a hypocrite here, but that he’s living a lifestyle the vast majority of people cannot.
One cannot be rich — whether Democrat or Republican — and simultaneously hope to be unassailable on issues that affect people who are not. Ed Morrissey said it beautifully (though not to this purpose):
Second, as I mentioned above, purchasing offsets only means that Gore doesn’t want to make the same kind of sacrifices that he’s asking other families to make. He’s using a modern form of indulgences in order to avoid doing the penance that global-warming activism demands of others. It means that the very rich can continue to suck up energy and raise the price and the demand for electricity and natural gas, while families struggle with their energy costs and face increasing government regulation and taxation. It’s a regressive plan that Gore’s supporters would decry if the same kind of scheme were applied to a national sales tax, for instance.
In the end, I think Gore’s problems this morning boil down to the green-eyed monster.
Families like the Gores can afford to continue in the lifestyles to which they’ve become accustomed, and even if they purchase offsets or install solar panels (and fluorescent bulbs), it’s not enough. It wouldn’t ever be enough. The Gore family could fill in the pool and pitch tents on the new, flat (and dry) surface, and convert the poolhouse to a stable for their new transportation, and we’d be reading about how radical they are — how they’ve taken this too far, and that common people can’t live that way.
Of course, common people can’t live this way, either… and therein really lies the problem.
Update: Speaking of money and the lifestyle to which folks get accustomed… from Volunteer Voters:
Those on right are busy today comparing Al Gore’s energy consumption to the average American. Well, Al Gore is not the average American. He comes from power and money and he has achieved power and money in his own right.
Al Gore lives a life different from most folks. I’m not one to defend elitism, not as a matter of practice, but some elitism is inevitable. There must be a leadership class. There always has been and there always will be. Even societies organized around the principle of the equality and preeminence of the proletariat have had an elite class. It is the natural order of things. The key for a society is to create a responsible, responsive and fluid elite.
Yeah… but we don’t like people with money.
Found via Glen Reynolds, who’s apparently trying to convince himself that he’d be okay with Al’s consumption and money, if only he weren’t so dratted moralistic. Unh hunh.