23 March 2007
In defence of Al Gore

I notice that not a few bloggers have taken a look at the gargantuan emissions associated with Al Gore’s house, air travel etc and accused the climate change campaigner of hypocrisy.

Now, much as this is fun, knockabout stuff and helps silence a man who could benefit from a few moments of quiet reflection, there’s just one small teensy-weensy problem with it.

It’s not hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy means saying one thing and doing another.  But that is not what the former Senator is doing.  What Gore is saying is that emissions should in the future be cut by the use of coercive measures such as tax and regulation.  Presumably, he would be happy to accept the consequences of such measures even if they affected him personally.  Judging by the energy consumption of his house this could end up being quite expensive.  But seeing as those measures are still some way in the future he can hardly be accused of hypocrisy in the here and now.

Now, if he were to be, in some way, opposing emission controls on the quiet or seeking to avoid having to personally pay the price, then he would, indeed, be a hypocrite - but to the best of my knowledge he is doing neither of these things and I have no reason to think that he is.

Frankly, Al Gore, in this case at least, is no more of a hypocrite than I am for using the NHS or state-regulated trains.

UpdateBrian makes the point, albeit in a roundabout, you’ve-got-to-follow-the-link kind of way, that Gore is not quite as white (or should that be green?) as all that.  Gore talks about dealing with climate change as a “moral imperative”, and therefore an individual responsibility.  So, he’s guilty as charged and I take it all back.

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  1. I believe Gore buys carbon offsets in order to stay carbon-neutral.  The idea is that it’s OK for him to attack the evil oil-guzzlingness of Bush while his house uses three times as much energy as Bush’s ranch because he, unlike Bush, pays some guys in Ghana to burn less wood, or something.  This reasoning strikes me as a little dodgy.

    Posted by Squander Two on 28 March 2007 at 06:51pm

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