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Inconvenient Truth About Gore

1 Mar 2007 (Source: The guardian published in Today)

Eco-warrior's energy consumption is 20 times the national average, says

WASHINGTON - Mr Al Gore knows a thing or two about the vicissitudes of
public life. Six years ago he was virtually written off as a has-been
vice-president after he won the popular vote only to lose the 2000 race
for the White House. On Sunday night his rehabilitation was completed as
he was crowned the moral mouthpiece of Hollywood, receiving an Oscar for
his global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

By Monday night, however, Mr Gore found himself back in that all-too
familiar place - the eye of the storm.

A little-known group based in his home state, the Tennessee Centre for
Policy Research, had the idea of looking up Mr Gore's energy bills for his
large home in the Belle Meade area of Nashville to see whether he
practised what he preached.

The figures, released to the group under federal freedom of information
rules, were striking. Last year the Gore household consumed 221,000
kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity - more than 20 times the national
annual average.

His household consumption of energy rose between 2005 and 2006, the bills
showed, from 16,200 kWh a month to 18,400 kWh last year. In addition, he
spent on average US$1,080 ($1,650) a month on natural gas. Combined, his
electricity and gas bills reached almost US$30,000.

The group released the information on Monday night under the title "Al
Gore's personal energy use is his own inconvenient truth".

Its president, Mr Drew Johnson, said that he had no objection to someone
spending US$30,000 on energy to light and heat a multimillion dollar
house. "I only have a problem with that person telling us what light-bulbs
to buy and that we should get a new low-energy refrigerator. That's
hypocrisy, and I'm proud to have exposed it," he said.

The news of Mr Gore's energy bills has been flying around the Internet.
Conservative bloggers luxuriated over the details, while liberal blogs led
by the Huffington Post tried to discredit the report by describing it as a
typical smear campaign. It had been timed for the Oscars, the Post's
blogger said, by a group that had no official status and had connections
with rightwing groups funded by ExxonMobil.

Mr Johnson denied the oil industry link and said he had no intention of
smearing Mr Gore, but had been motivated simply by a desire to hold public
figures to account. His group is registered as a non-profit organisation.

Ms Kalee Kreider, Mr Gore's environmental adviser, said Mr Gore's fuel
bills failed to tell the whole picture. All the energy used for the
Nashville home came from a green power provider to the Tennessee Valley
that draws its energy from solar, wind-powered and methane gas supplies,
among other sources, she said

The Gores were installing solar panels on the roof of their home, Ms
Kreider added, and making efforts to reduce their energy needs. Besides,
Mr Gore had adopted a "carbon neutral" life whereby any emissions for
which he was personally responsible were offset by buying green credits
such as parcels of forests.

Ms Laurie David, the producer of An Inconvenient Truth, said that the
furore was only to be expected. A leading global warming campaigner, she
is familiar with criticism of this kind having been called a "jetstream
liberal" for using private planes. "What this lame attempt to discredit Al
Gore tells me is that we are winning. This is comedy at its best - it's
straight out of the David Letterman show."

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