Liberal Hypocrisy?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by greekfire on February 27, 2007 - 11:03pm

Al Gore uses 20X more energy to power than the average American household according to recent reports (see below). I understand his message about the environment, but he needs to lead by example.

Mon Feb 26 2007 17:16:14 ET

Nashville Electric Service/Gore House


High 22619 kWh Aug – Sept
Low 12541 kWh Jan - Feb
Average: 18,414 kWh per month


High 20532 Sept - October
Low 12955 Feb - March
Average: 16,200 kWh per month

Bill amounts

2006 – $895.60 (low) $1738.52 (high) $1359 (average)
2005 – $853.91 (low) $1461 (high)

Nashville Gas Company

Main House
2006 – $990(high) $170 (low) $536 (average)
2005 – $1080 (high) $200 (low) $640 (average)

Guest House/Pool House

2006 – $820 (high) $70 (low) $544 (average)
2005 – $1025 (high) $25 (low) $525 (average)

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization, issued a press release late Monday:

Last night, Al Gore’s global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, collected an Oscar for best documentary feature, but the Tennessee Center for Policy Research has found that Gore deserves a gold statue for hypocrisy.

Gore’s mansion, [20-room, eight-bathroom] located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

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.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

“As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk to walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

For Further Information, Contact:
Nicole Williams, (615) 383-6431

Submitted by Borat on February 27, 2007 - 11:41pm.

That's pretty bad, and it reminds me of when Sting used to lead the "Save The Rain Forests" movement. Of course Sting gets to be a famous and wealthy rock star in part because his country cut down all of their trees a long time ago in order to build and advance their country and provide him with a good, safe environment to live in; now he travels to the Amazon to tell the quaint little natives to keep their rain forests intact so that wealthy westerners can come look at them living in their primitive, "natural" state. Many of the people in developing areas just want a car, a fridge, and air conditioning like everyone else.

This hypocrisy, however, doesn't invalidate what either Sting or Al Gore are saying -- it is true that man is on a collision course with nature and that if we don't moderate our resource use, we are going to be in for some hard times. The elephant in the room that no one will talk about is birth control/population control but that's a topic for another day...

Submitted by PerryChase on February 28, 2007 - 12:02am.

If I were the Brazilians, I'd say pay me to save the trees for you. What are they worth to you?

Al Gore's energy consumption is not that much for a rich guy. They have a staff and each person uses energy. All by itself the data presented is meaningless. How does it compare to the energy usage of a home of similar size in the same climate?

You may have a good reason to drive a big truck. What Al Gore is saying is that we should require the auto industry to improve the mileage of that big truck so you can still do whatever you need to do without consuming as much energy. I don't see any hypocrisy in that. The same goes for housing insulation, lighting and appliances.

I agree with Borat. The best way to save the planet is to limit the number of newborns. I've done my part. I have no kids.

Submitted by chewie83 on February 28, 2007 - 1:46am.

Al Gore said at the awards ceremony that it isn't a political issue, it is a moral issue. He lectured Americans that it is our moral duty to reduce our energy consumption. He is just a big phoney.

Submitted by Steve Beebo on February 28, 2007 - 8:01am.

When Al gets up to 300 pounds, (probably by around next weekend), he'll tell us that we eat too much, too.

BIG, BIG phoney.

Submitted by PD on February 28, 2007 - 8:22am.

He should be turning his home into a showplace for alternative energy. Otherwise, his consumption makes him look foolish.

I like how PerryChase gave Gore a free ride on this one because he is a rich guy. I guess all rich people can consume as much as they want, according to Perry. Therefore, since Amercians are richer than most of the world, we can consume as much as we want! Yippie!! Hummers for everyone!! Let poor people tighten their belts, they are used to it!

Submitted by greekfire on February 28, 2007 - 9:44am.

Perry, I like the old spin-technique to a slide-step maneuver. Are you sure you aren't a politician? I studied the environment in my undergrad days and I personally think it is an issue that we just can't poo-poo about. However, the message that many of the elitists (on both sides) provide just does not resonate with me and many other average Americans because they simply do not practice what they preach.

Regarding population growth, I am in favor of smart, responsible growth. I even have a website devoted to the issue of population called ( There are articles related to population growth as well as a forum to sound off on. - shameless plug :-)...I need some traffic!

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on February 28, 2007 - 9:49am.

PerryChase was right. Rich people are different.
Us regular people need to switch from driving our F350 extended cab pick-ups and start driving Prius' ... to compensate for rich people's energy use.

P.S. - This is not just a liberal issue. All politicians are hypocrites.

Submitted by PerryChase on February 28, 2007 - 1:55pm.

Life is all about paradoxes. So what, you don't want to listen to Gore because he lives in a big house and consumes a lot of energy?

Do you stop going to church because of some sex scandals?

You guys are missing the point on the environment. The key is not to deny the obvious and start transitioning to new technologies so we don't have to make sacrifices and lower our standard of living in the future.

I've made improvements to my house and I've cut my energy use about 50% from 10 years ago. It's not affected my lifestyle one bit. In fact, I run the air-conditioner more often now; so, if anything, my standard of living improved.

Let's all do our little part rather than trying to kill the messenger because we're too lazy to examine our own behavior.

Submitted by PD on February 28, 2007 - 2:01pm.

Uh, the point here is that Gore needs to examine his own behavior. He is setting himself up a moral standard bearer yet he is a huge consumer of energy. He needs to clean up his own act or else he has no legitimacy.

The church does not lose legitimacy because of a bad priest (unles it condones bad behavior). However, the priest loses legitimacy.

The green movement does not lose legitimacy because Gore consumes pigish amount of enegry. Gore himself loses legitimacy.

Submitted by ucodegen on February 28, 2007 - 2:17pm.

On a previous post, (Global Warming) I was posting that global warming was not significantly due to C02 as many think.. that being said, I don't think we can ignore energy consumption.

It was previously stated that a rich man's consumption is intrinsically different. I disagree. If Gore truly believes what he preaches.. he would be 'walking the walk' as well.

To back this up.. introduce the website of someone who talks the talk AND walks the walk.. it is the website to his house, and he has it connected to his power controllers. He knows how much he is generating and consuming at any particular time.. and lets you know too!

Negative values means that he is putting that amount of energy back into the grid (net generator).

This guy made his money during the dot com period.. and some of it to literally walk the walk..

Submitted by PerryChase on February 28, 2007 - 2:47pm.

I can accept your point of view, PD.

It would be interesting to see how Al Gore's house stacks up to other similar houses in terms of energy use.

I believe that Al Gore lives in his old family home. What would you expect him to do? Raze the house and turn the land into a park, then move to a small apartment? Would it not be an even greater waste of resources to destroy what's already built?

I don't think that an environmentalist should never drive an SUV or live in a big house. Just like I don't believe that one who fights hunger should starve himself or deny himself delicious dishes.

The Pope lives in gilded luxury at the Vatican and travels on private jet. Is his message of humility, piety, modesty and charity any less powerful because he doesn't live in a hut?

Submitted by FutureSDguy on February 28, 2007 - 2:57pm.

PerryChase makes a gosh darn excellent point: focus on the message not the messenger.

I distinguish between hypocracy and double-standards. Beneficial hypocracy can recognize a weakness of self but is still committed to general betterment. Double-standards recognizes a weakness of self and does nothing about it.

Analogy: "I think everyone should at drive the speed limit, but I still drive too fast" is better than "I think everyone else except me should drive at the speed limit."

Gore is guilty of a double-standard, and in this case, it's worse because the nature of his hypocracy is still beneficial. (i.e. the message is still good, but the messenger is a lazy liar.) (BTW, I mean "good" on the assumption that CO2 reduction is really needed.)

Submitted by pmretep on February 28, 2007 - 3:11pm.

I hope everyone has seen his move, "Inconvenient Truth." I just recently experienced it and was disturbed by the presentation. I approached the movie from the standpoint that it was going to be an objective, dispassionate display of evidence that irrefutably establishes that global warming is occurring, that it's cause is unquestionably, human CO2 emissions, and that most scientists accept that reality. In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, I accept the premise and the arguments.

However, what was disconcerting about the film is that it was to a large extent all about Al Gore. The viewer gets to hear about Gore's young son's brush with death and Gore's older sister's death from lung cancer due to smoking. So what! What do those two events have to do with global warming? In the context of the film, it's as though those events are just thrown in to make the viewer feel sorry for Al Gore. And, there are other examples of the typical Clintonesque "the poor children" approach to rationalizing arguments. There's the polar bear that drowns because he can't swim to the next ice floe and some other baby animal or animals (I can't remember the details of which) are going to die because of global warming.

What is scary about my reaction to the film is that I find myself agreeing with Sean Hannity in seeing the film more as a "cult of personality" tribute to Al Gore rather than being a believable documentary about the underlying subject. (What's scary about that is that I disagree with Sean Hannity about just about every other conceivable subject under the sun.)

While I tend to think that politically I differ from most of the others who have posted on this subject, I find myself agreeing with those posters who take issue with politicians and celebrities who use the issues of the day as a way in which to advance their own careers. Further, I agree with those posters who point out the hypocrisy of telling those in the third world and emerging economies that they have to conduct themselves in a certain way so that the affluent lifestyle which we have established for ourselves is preserved and unaffected.

But then, it's all going to become a moot point when the real estate implosion drags down every other aspect of the American economy.

Submitted by PerryChase on February 28, 2007 - 3:16pm.

Below is how the Anonymous Liberal puts it.

Monday, February 26, 2007
Gore's Energy Use
(Updated below)

The right-wing noise machine really is a remarkable thing to behold. Al Gore wins an Oscar, gets some well-deserved recognition for his efforts, and within hours the Republican noise machine is already in full smear mode, trying to undercut Gore's message by attacking him personally.

It began this morning when a group that no one has ever heard of--the Tennessee Center for Policy Research--issued a press release claiming that Al Gore's utility bills reveal that his house in Nashville uses 20 times more energy than the average American household. This, according to the group, makes Al Gore an enormous hypocrite.

The press release, which apparently went to every right-wing flack on the planet, was featured prominently on the Drudge Report and was the topic de jour on conservative talk radio and cable news. The right-wing blogosphere didn't miss a beat either. Before long Glenn Reynolds, Townhall, Free Republic, Hot Air, and all the other usual suspects were linking to the story and ridiculing Gore (here's a memeorandum snapshot).

This is a textbook example of the mindless swarming behavior that is so typical among right-wing partisan flacks. First, everyone on the right--from top to bottom--simply assumed that the content of this press release, which was put out by an organization none of them had ever heard of before, was factually accurate. Actually, that probably gives them too much credit. It's not that they assumed it was accurate, it's that they didn't care. The press release was chock-full of truthiness, and that was good enough.

The press release claimed that Al Gore's home in Nashville consumed 221,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity last year compared to a national average of 10,656 kWh per household. I have no idea whether the number cited for Gore's house is correct, but let's assume it is. The 10,656 number comes from data published by the Department of Energy. But it's an average of all households nationwide (including apartment units and mobile homes) and across all climate regions. As it turns out, the region in which Gore lives--the East South Central--has the highest per household energy usage of any climate region in the country, a good 50% higher than the national average quoted in the press release (I assume this is due to the combination of cold winters and hot, muggy summers). So that's misleading in and of itself.

Moreover, Gore lives in a large home (10,000 sq. ft.). If you look at the data, it's clear that Gore's energy usage per square foot (even assuming the 221,000 kWh number is accurate) is well within the average range for his climate region. So all this accusation boils down to is a claim that it is somehow "hypocritical" for Al Gore to live in a large house.

That's awfully weak. Gore's a former Senator and Vice President of the United States. Does he have to move into a studio apartment before he has the right to talk about climate change?

And more importantly, as Think Progress reports, even this watered-down hypocrisy charge entirely misses the point. What Al Gore wants people to do is reduce the carbon footprint of their residence as much as possible and then purchase carbon offsets to reduce the remaining footprint to zero. Gore has installed solar panels in his home, he uses fluorescent light bulbs and other energy saving technology, and he purchases his energy from Green Power Switch, a provider which utilizes solar and wind power. He then purchases carbon offsets to reduce his remaining carbon footprint to zero.

Could Gore use less overall energy if he and Tipper moved into a one-bedroom apartment? Of course. But he's not asking people to move into smaller homes. He's asking them to reduce their carbon footprints, which is exactly what he has done. He practices what he preaches.

And last but not least, I'm always amazed by the triumphalism displayed by right-wingers when they think they've managed to humiliate a messenger, as if doing so somehow undermines the message itself. It's bizarre. I mean, suppose Al Gore was caught tomorrow driving around the country in a fleet of Hummers that run on solid coal. Would that somehow invalidate decades of scientific research? Could the inhabitants of low-lying Pacific Islands suddenly breath a sigh of relief? It's sad what passes for logic these days on the Right.

For more on this topic and the shady group behind this smear, see this excellent post by Dave Johnson.

Submitted by chewie83 on February 28, 2007 - 3:19pm.

This is almost as ironic as it would be if the British started to lecture Americans about having healthy diets. Oh, wait

Submitted by poorgradstudent on February 28, 2007 - 3:35pm.

Wow, this is what Conservative pundits are upset about? Matt Drudge must really have deep, deep feelings of male inadequacy.

Smoke and mirrors to attempt to distract the public from Iraq I suppose. You know FOX News was loving the Anna Nicole Smith thing.

Submitted by jg on February 28, 2007 - 3:53pm.

PD, very nice logic/argument flow in your first post/retort (and second one, too).

Submitted by jg on February 28, 2007 - 3:57pm.

Hey pgs, quit bad-mouthing Drudge; in case you don't know, he IS a gay Jewish guy.

And, he does great work; I still remember the morning when he broke the Monica Lewinsky story that the gutless Washington Post refused to release.

Submitted by FutureSDguy on February 28, 2007 - 3:58pm.

pmretep: "I hope everyone has seen his move, "Inconvenient Truth." I just recently experienced it and was disturbed by the presentation"

I was equally disturbed when I watched the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." LOL

Submitted by Hadj Braunz on February 28, 2007 - 4:23pm.

There's nothing more saddening intellectually than seeing smart people being misled by the clever manipulation of factual information. This article shows facts completely out of context and then smart people fall for it prey of their own deductive power.

Here's the way the thinking process goes:

Al Gore spends a lot of money on energy - fact. (This is the scope of the article).

Energy creation has an inherent side-effect that's bad for the environment through CO2 pollution and its effects on increasing global warming - fact. (Ironically, this is exactly what Al Gore predicates)

Logically then, it follows that Al Gore is indirectly doing things that are bad for the environment, and hence he is a phoney (this is the goal of the article). The conclusion is straightforward, but it's also wrong because the premise is being framed incorrectly!

Let's add some more context...

Al Gore has never claimed that he uses energy at the level of the average person.

What Al Gore has claimed time and again is that he is carbon neutral. This means that whichever harm his lifestyle habits cause to the environment in form of CO2 pollution, he offsets by funding initiatives that reverse the damage, such as reforesting.

The idea is quite simple really. There are organizations that measure the carbon offsetting activities and how much they cost. Next, they sell certificates to any prospective buyer, such as Al Gore, for $5 to $30 per tonne of CO2 removed. The money is used to continue the reforestation efforts. Interestingly enough, this approach is more efficient and easier to implement than a straigthforward reduction in fossil fuels consumption.

So, now that we have a different frame for understanding the article, let's see if Gore's claims of being carbon neutral are realistic.

The average CO2 footprint for a resident of a developed nation is between 6 and 23 tonnes of CO2 per year. Taking the article at face value, Al Gore consumes in a month the same amount of energy that the average person consumes in a whole year. That would put Gore at 12 times the average CO2 footprint. Taking the upper limit of 23 tonnes, that yields 276 tonnes of CO2 per year. Let's say that Gore likes to pay top-dollar for his certificates, and buys them at the $30 rate. He must then shell out $8,280 per year to be carbon neutral. Somehow I have the hunch that he can afford an extra $8K per year. In fact I bet he puts in a bit more than that since 100% of all proceeds from the Inconvenient Truth are used to fund a bipartisan educational campaign. If only 13 people out of all his listeners became carbon neutral then Al Gore could afford not to offset an atom of his CO2 footprint and the world would still be better off.

Sure, there are still controversies around carbon offsetting and there's no set standard on how to measure these activities and perhaps Gore has many other things that people could pin on him but I bet he is smart enough to have covered his butt on this one - come on people, it doesn't take a genius to realize that his opponents would try to attack his credibility the minute he opened his mouth.

Submitted by drunkle on February 28, 2007 - 4:10pm.

Submitted by pmretep on February 28, 2007 - 3:11pm.
I hope everyone has seen his move, "Inconvenient Truth."

that was my reaction too. as much as there is good information in the movie, the side trip along al gore lane was distracting and even self aggrandizing.

however, another way to look at it is that it covers his personal reasons for promoting the information, that questions of his personal interests would invariably come up. either way, it wasn't necessary for me as i've long been educated on the matters at hand.

anyway, this "debate" is pointless. al gore is simply a messenger, a politician who believes in what he preaches. nitpicking the guy on his personal behaviour is stupid, particularly when there's little to no actual information available. even if there was full disclosure and it turned out that he burns a mountain of coal just to make his coffee, it wouldn't change the fact that it is wrong.

consider duke cunningham. busted for corruption and yet all you hear is how the democrats can't pass strong anti corruption and lobbying legistlation. and yet, in the 10 years of republican control of congress, they didn't do squat, didn't raise a peep and in fact promoted wanton corruption. and now that the dems are "in power", they simply whine and weep about how dems are hypocrits. yeah, that's honesty for you, isn't it.

back to al gore; what is the apples to apples comparison? how much energy he uses vs the energy use of an average rich politician? and the carbon credits he purchases vs the credits purchased by the average rich guy?

Submitted by DrChaos on February 28, 2007 - 4:50pm.

The Right Wing Noise Machine is at it again.

From Gore's office:

1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.

2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:

What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.

Also Gore purchases "green energy" at a higher price per kWH. Gore has home offices for himself and wife, as well as staff.

Now, let's see. Dick Cheney got the Republicans back in '01 to remove HIS share of the electric bill of his official residence from his office's budget, as had been typical practice, and got the Navy to pay it.

In any case, I have no problem with people using electricity re global warming if it comes from nuclear, hydroelectric and wind.

Of course if Gore went to live in an unpowered hut, the Right Wing Noise Machine would compare him to the Unabomber and sneer at him for being a dirty hippie or whatever.

The RWNM seems to believe that abject disgusting selfishness is more noble than being a reasonable person and doing something about problems without turning into a maniac.

Submitted by gold_dredger_phd on February 28, 2007 - 5:10pm.

This country could be saved if liberals just stopped having children.

Submitted by PerryChase on February 28, 2007 - 5:34pm.

This country could be saved if liberals just stopped having children.


hahaha, that's funny.  Most liberals I know come from conservative families.  They only return home for a few days on holidays cuz they can't take too much of the bull.  At least they have the sensibilities to spare their parents the "disappointment." 

For you conservatives out there, you'll know why when your kids don't come home and visit that often.  


Submitted by jg on February 28, 2007 - 6:20pm.

Aw, Perry, that's because you hang out with non-religious types. Lack of practice of religion correlates with all sorts of bad things, including, often, estrangement from one's parents, higher rates of teenage sexual activity, etc.

You'd learn a few new things about human nature if you got married and had kids. Or, became a regular churchgoer. Try 'em; you might like 'em.

Submitted by drunkle on February 28, 2007 - 6:41pm.

Submitted by gold_dredger_phd on February 28, 2007 - 5:10pm.
This country could be saved if liberals just stopped having children.

are you happy in your life as a cog in the machine?

congratulations on achieving your inhumanity.

Submitted by drunkle on February 28, 2007 - 6:45pm.

Submitted by jg on February 28, 2007 - 6:20pm.
Aw, Perry, that's because you hang out with non-religious types. Lack of practice of religion correlates with all sorts of bad things, including, often, estrangement from one's parents, higher rates of teenage sexual activity, etc.

You'd learn a few new things about human nature if you got married and had kids. Or, became a regular churchgoer. Try 'em; you might like 'em.

you don't need children or religion to observe childish behaviour in people. case in point, the trite attack on gore.

Submitted by ucodegen on February 28, 2007 - 7:12pm.

Now you know why I don't post much when comments get to this stage.. too much name calling (on both sides of the camp).

That Gore is using green power from a power company, that needs to be checked. Looking at his bill, I would say that he is not because the charges are too low per kilowatt ($1359/18414 = $0.0738/kWh). Check your SDG&E bill and see what you pay per kWh (sum it up w/ all the charges)..

That he is using solar power, considering the bill, I would find that highly unlikely. The link to solarwarrior I posted earlier, shows his net use and the solar array he is using. 'Solarwarrior' is a net generator (puts more into the grid than he takes out). That guy is also considered rich (Net worth in excess of $500Mil when I last looked).

I don't see why Gore, who is holding himself up as an example to follow, is not really walking the walk. The 'offset' accounts is a lot of bull crap(where is the money going in the end?? financing Gore's push on AGW?). (I am not pointing to the anti-AGW crowd because they don't believe it.. so why should they be expected to act as if they do?) On the other hand, Gore is very strong proponent of AGW, so why can't he conduct himself accordingly? There are others with fewer resources that have done considerably better than he (most power supplied directly by renewable means). Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

Submitted by drunkle on February 28, 2007 - 7:51pm.

Submitted by ucodegen on February 28, 2007 - 7:12pm.
Now you know why I don't post much when comments get to this stage.. too much name calling (on both sides of the camp).

how magnanimous of you. oh wait. the name calling started from post 1 and yet you only now condemn it when people stand up to the lies and slander. did i say magnanimous? i meant self serving.

I would say...

I would find...

I don't see...

where is the money going...

Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

as if people can only be sincere if they are extremists. and yet, i bet you think islamic extremists are terrorist nutjobs and not "freedom fighters".

given your *opinion* of carbon offsets and your ignorance of the facts, your post seems pretty meaningless to me.

Submitted by ucodegen on February 28, 2007 - 8:04pm.
    how magnanimous of you. oh wait. the name calling started from post 1

I was only hoping it would go away, but it continued.. and it seems you like to continue it..!! I don't call you self serving, arrogant, bull headed, idiotic or asinine.. or other terms I can think of. No where in any posts do I resort to that, nor do I do it here. It seems though, that you like to name-call.. (NOTE: you did not prove how it was self-serving either - assuming because you said so, it is so? the world operates according to 'dunkle's precepts??).

    given your *opinion* of carbon offsets and your ignorance of the facts, your post seems pretty meaningless to me.

You have not proven ignorance of the facts, and simply by stating, assume it is proving.. wrong.

    as if people can only be sincere if they are extremists. and yet, i bet you think islamic extremists are terrorist nutjobs and not "freedom fighters".

Non sequitur. Does not follow line of reasoning.. try to prove by innuendo or false 'example'?

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