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I just talked with a reporter from CNS News — a right-wing media site — about the Al Gore pseudo-scandal. Who knows how my comments will end up being represented in the piece. Probably something like, "Al Gore … does it … with … hogs."
But just to keep a public record, here are the talking points I shared with him. Feel free to borrow them for your own encounters with media or family and friends:
- It’s nice to see the conservative media taking the message of conservation and energy efficiency seriously. Hopefully they will hold their own leaders and readers to the same high standards.
- The Tennessee Tax Dept. does not consider the "Tennessee Center for Policy Research," which roughly no one had heard of before this, a legitimate group. It’s run by a long-time right-wing attack hack, and its only registered address is a P.O. box. Why is everyone in the media taking what it says about Gore’s electricity use at face value?
- Gore’s electricity company has no record of being contacted about his bills.
- The “average” home electricity use quoted by TCPR is a national average that includes apartments and mobile homes. In Gore’s climatic zone, the East South Central (Dept. of Energy PDF), the average is much higher, thanks to hot, humid summers and cold winters. Within that zone, Gore’s usage is three (not 20) times average, and his per-square-foot usage is squarely average. (More here.)
- The Gores are not an average family. He’s an ex-VP with special security arrangements, and has live-in security staff. He and his wife both work on their many business and charitable undertakings out of their house, so they have space for offices and office staff. All that would be tough to cram in an average size house.
- Gore buys the maximum allowable green electricity from the program offered by his utility.
- Most of the electricity in TN comes from hydro and nuclear, and so doesn’t generate all that much CO2 anyway.
The larger point, which probably won’t work well as a cable-show soundbite but is nonetheless true, is that Gore has done heroic work making global warming a top issue for governments the world over. He has prompted more individual and collective action on this issue than anyone else alive. The changes he has wrought outweigh his personal carbon emissions by many orders of magnitude.
They know Gore’s message is winning. They know they are losing. Even if they’re successful in tarnishing Gore, it won’t change that.