Al Gore says his high-carbon life-style of private jets, limousines, and four residences–including a mansion that consumers more energy in a month than the average household does in year–does not make him a hypocrite, because he purchases “carbon offsets.”
Amazing what some guys can say with a straight face. Let’s leave aside the question of whether Gore actually pays for those offsets, and whether paying someone else to plant trees that won’t mature for decades actually offsets any emissions you produce today.
Instead, let’s look at the morality of offsetting. If a glutton pays someone else to go on a diet, is he any less a glutton? Can an adulterer offset his sins by paying other people not to cheat on their wives?
Someone who looks strictly at energy balances might question the appropriateness of these jibes, but Al Gore says global warming is a “moral” and “spiritual” issue. In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore admonishes readers to “reduce the number of miles you drive by biking, walking, carpooling, or taking mass transit wherever possible,” and to “reduce air travel.” Does he practice what he preaches? Nope.
But does this make Al Gore a bad person? By his own lights, yes. But in reality, no. Gore’s high-carbon life-style reveals that he is a preacher of sham virtue. An Inconvenient Truth, the Oscar, the Nobel Peace Prize, and Live Earth, to say nothing of all the campaigning and networking and media outreach Gore did over the years would not have been possible without lots of affordable energy produced from fossil fuels.
Not even Al Gore, one of the world’s richest and most powerful men, can afford to live “beyond petroleum” for a single minute! Isn’t it a little crazy then to demand that government put ordinary folks on an energy diet?