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By Robert Rapier on Feb 5, 2013 with 25 responses

Al Gore Profits From Fossil Fuels He Vilified

Oil Money is Bad Money, Except When…

Al Gore has just released a new book — The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change — and is on a media tour to promote it. But he has had to face some very uncomfortable questions involving a charge that has been around for a while: That Al Gore is a hypocrite.

The hypocrisy charge has been raised against Gore over the years. Until now, the most infamous incident of apparent hypocrisy took place in 2007 when it was widely reported that Al Gore’s mansion had a utility bill about 20 times more than the average family home. (See Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’? — A $30,000 Utility Bill). I found the news troubling; after all Gore was the Conservationist-in-Chief but he certainly didn’t appear to be walking his talk.

But I also wrote that if he was running a staff out of his home, then the higher electric bills were more understandable. I also learned at the time just how rabidly partisan people can be when discussing Gore. Some on the left would not tolerate criticism of Gore, and I was vilified for saying that I was disappointed in his behavior.

But, I really wanted to like Al Gore. I thought of him as someone who was making a positive impact by calling attention to a serious problem, and getting people to conserve. I defended him when people noted that Gore traveled around the world in fossil-fueled jets. After all, I argued, if he traveled halfway around the world but convinced 500 people in a foreign country to become involved and take action, then the net impact could easily be lower carbon emissions as a result of his travels.

I even have an award on my desk signed by Gore. In 1996 I traveled to the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. and received the 1996 Green Chemistry Challenge Award as part of Professor Mark Holtzapple’s research team at Texas A&M. The award was presented by Carol Browner, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and it was autographed by Vice President Al Gore. I imagined at the time that some day Gore would become president, and I would show that award with pride to visitors.

I say all of this, because I want to make it clear that I didn’t set out to dislike Al Gore. But I have come to the conclusion that he is in fact one of the worst hypocrites I have ever seen.

Hypocrisy: When a Climate Change Crusader Sells Out to Fossil Fuels

Gore has vilified fossil fuel usage for decades. In his new book, he writes “Virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies — not just during campaign seasons, but all the time, year in and year out — with messages designed to soothe and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened.”

(Read More: Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures)

But what did Gore turn around and do? He sold his Current TV network to Al Jazeera for $500 million. Gore reportedly pocketed $100 million, and in another widely reported story he is alleged to have pushed to get the transaction completed before higher tax rates kicked in on January 1 of this year.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that Al Jazeera is funded by Qatar, which receives the bulk of its wealth from fossil fuels. Gore was grilled over this apparent hypocrisy, first by Matt Lauer:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Lauer challenged him on the fact that he had criticized the influence of fossil fuel money in television, but then got very wealthy selling his network to another network that exists because of fossil fuel money. Al Jazeera had the money to pay Gore $500 million because of fossil fuels. Lauer asked Gore if he saw a contradiction in his position. While Gore said he understands the criticism, he disagrees with it because Al Jazeera is a great network and has won major awards.

Now, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t ever recall Gore saying that it was OK to take fossil fuel money in television as long as the network is a good network or is one that has won awards. He is engaging in the logical fallacy of special pleading, which is where someone applies a special exemption to their rules when those rules contradict their actions. For example:

Al Gore: “You should never run a red light.”

Me: “But you just ran a red light.”

Al Gore: “Yes, but I was in a hurry.”

I can apply the same special pleading to any oil company and justify consuming their oil since they make charitable contributions and invest in renewables.

Gore was also grilled on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (one of the only TV programs I regularly watch). Jon was polite with the questions, but he went after Gore several times over the apparent hypocrisy:

Here is an excerpt of their exchange:

Jon Stewart: “You had an opportunity to make a statement, probably, about your principles, and some people would feel, and for me as well, I thought it was an odd move. Not because of some of the other things, but because it is backed by fossil fuel money.”

Al Gore: “I get it. I get it. I get it. But it was an easy choice after doing the diligence on the network itself.”

Jon Stewart: “Can you see how people at home might think — but he’s asking me in my life to make choices about light bulbs and a cost-benefit analysis for the purpose of sustainability when I just want to see my book. That’s the issue.”

Al Gore: “I’m very, very comfortable with it. I completely get the criticism, but this was a good choice and the net benefit for the U.S. is going to be very positive.”

Yes, Al Gore appears to be very comfortable in selling out his principles for a $100 million profit. And at least he “gets” the criticism. He disagrees that it is hypocrisy, apparently on the basis that he doesn’t like the word hypocrisy.

Stewart highlighted the fact that Gore could have made a statement about his principles, but at the end of the day Gore determined that the cost-benefit analysis benefited him enough to be comfortable with taking fossil fuel money.

Cost-Benefit — For Whom?

What Gore doesn’t seem to understand is that this is the same cost-benefit analysis that results in the world’s rising use of fossil fuels. He is like many environmentalists who don’t seem to understand the real reasons we are dependent upon fossil fuels. They would rather blame the fossil fuel companies and their various lobbying and subsidies than blame the real culprit — the desire of consumers to have affordable and reliable energy.

Poor people across the developing world determine that their contribution to climate change is insignificant relative to the benefit they will receive from introducing heat and electricity into their homes. Every day millions of people around the world determine that the benefit of them filling up with gasoline and driving to work outweighs the cost of their fossil fuel consumption. Everyone — Mr. Gore — can argue that the cost-benefit analysis favors their usage of fossil fuels. People from all walks of life — including staunch environmentalists — use fossil fuels every day and justify it based on the cost-benefit to themselves. Even Bill McKibben once admitted that he was a hypocrite, but like you he rationalized his hypocrisy.

(Read More: Climate Change and Developing Countries)

And that, in a nutshell, is why the world is so dependent (and becoming more dependent) upon fossil fuels. People determine that the benefits of using fossil fuels outweigh the cost. You aren’t special Mr. Gore. You did what others do every day. The only difference is that you have used a bully pulpit for years to urge people to sacrifice and make different choices. Yet when faced with the same cost-benefit analysis, you proved to the world that you are the hypocrite many always believed you to be.

Al Gore’s “activism” has been a money maker on a tremendous scale. He has made a mint selling indulgences — er, I mean “carbon offsets” — and in some cases even sold them to himself in order to claim that his (very high) carbon footprint was neutral. So while he’s busy taking the high road telling people what to do, he himself not only goes and profits off of that (creates network, sells it) but his profit comes from the very same people/industry he built his reputation on by vilifying and imploring people to avoid.

I realize that Saint Al can do no wrong in some people’s eyes, and some will (wrongly) conclude that this is a partisan attack. It is nothing of the sort. But I will never attempt to defend Gore again. I also hope to never hear his voice again. It grates on my nerves now, because all I hear now are the ramblings of a hypocritical windbag.

Link to Original Article: Al Gore Profits From Fossil Fuels He Vilified

By Robert Rapier

  1. By Thomas J Miller on February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I agree with your article, Robert. Especially the part explaining the mechanism of Special Pleading. It’s painful to watch a so-called ‘Champion of the Environment’ be cleverly exposed to being just another fat cat with his eye on wealth accumulation – specifically dodging accountability by deploying conversational distractions.

    Oh wait. He’s a politician. And he’s a very talented one at that. I guess the old “grain of salt” adage still applies. Even if the politician says he’s an environmentalist, he’s still a politician.

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    • By TimC on February 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      He understands the criticism, and he gets it, he gets it completely, but regarding Special Pleading, Gore’s counsel has advised him that there is no controlling legal authority or case that says there is any hypocrisy whatsoever.

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      • By HalfEmpty on February 6, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        Al was upstairs in the Lu when the deal went down, you know the he’s always had problems with the tea ceremony.

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  2. By jamest2 on February 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I gave up on Al Gore when he wrote about the negative environmental impacts of intensive corn cultivation in his book “Earth in the Balance,” published in 1992, and then as President of the Senate in 1994 cast the deciding vote to extend corn ethanol subsidies, and boasted about his vote when addressing an agricultural convention in 1996. He confessed in 2012 that his support for corn ethanol had been motivated by a “special fondness” that he felt for corn farmers as he prepared to run for president in 2000. In reality, the only sincere “special fondness” that has ever motivated Al Gore is for himself.

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  3. By Edward Kerr on February 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Robert,
    Hypocrisy, at any level, is maddening. At “high level” it’s particularly so.
    Ed

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  4. By Edward Kerr on February 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Robert,

    Having agreed that hypocrisy is a disgusting thing I have also to point out that much of what Al discusses in his interview with Jon is true. (I watched all 4 segments) Powerful interests (the fossil fuel industry being one of them) have subverted our government. So even a hypocrite can be right on some issues.

    You state, and it has some basis in truth, “They (environmentalists) would rather blame the fossil fuel companies and their various lobbying and subsidies than blame the real culprit — the desire of consumers to have affordable and reliable energy.” when you spank environmentalists for pointing at the “big guy” instead of the “little guy” when it comes to blame. It is true that people, due to budgetary issues, choose the least “out of pocket” option available when living their daily lives. The fly in that ointment is that “viable” options are few and far between. Also folks don’t realize the massive TRUE costs of fossil fuels. They don’t see it in their “health care” costs. The cost of the military to control the dwindling resource of oil. Environmental degradation costs. Costs for “natural disasters” floods-droughts-storms and other cash eating problems caused by climate change. Rising food costs too.

    I have posted this here before and will again I’m sure. Have folks considered this cost?
    { http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html } So, tell me, if Malcolm Light’s assertions prove to be true, what price then can we place on our blunder of burning fossil fuels?? How “cheap” will it have been???

    Finally, blaming individuals with empty pockets who are forced to use what is available while giving those with deep pockets who resist change (but should be leading the way to a clean energy future) a pass only clouds the true issue. Even if climate change wasn’t part of the equation changing over our transportation and power station fleet will take years an a lot of resources. The longer we delay, allowing the big monied interests to continue exploiting fossils, the more costly and less likely it will be that we will succeed. Also, blaming the little guy makes them “shut down” as they can’t internalize the massive guilt that it implies.

    We need to place the blame where in now truly resides and take back our government and force the power companies to be power companies and not the denying obstructionist that they have become. It all started out innocently but with our evolving knowledge of the consequences it has become criminal. What the relationship now amounts to is a “murder- suicide pact”. Though the suicide part is something that the myopic fossil fuel industry can’t see coming but it will get them none the less.

    Regards,
    Ed

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    • By Robert Rapier on February 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      “Finally, blaming individuals with empty pockets who are forced to use what is available while giving those with deep pockets who resist change (but should be leading the way to a clean energy future) a pass only clouds the true issue.”

      Ed, it isn’t so much about placing blame as explaining the reason for this. I know why people use fossil fuels. It is because they are the cheapest and most convenient option, and people tend to go with the least resistance. An individual can always make choices to lower their energy consumption, but — and this is where messages from fossil fuel interests can cloud the issue — they are often reassured that oil will be cheap and plentiful for a long time.

      My problem with Gore is that any time someone uses the bully pulpit as he has, they better set an example. If I insist that people should be willing to walk a mile to work, I am going to set the example by walking two. Al set the example by saying that you should walk to work, while he will take his chauffeured limo. That doesn’t set well with me at all.

      So this isn’t about whether or not we should reduce our fossil fuel consumption. I have preached that same message for many years, and it is a central theme of my book. But until Gore and other prominent environmentalists like Bill McKibben come to grips with the true reason for our fossil fuel dependence, they will be helpless at addressing the problem.

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      • By Edward Kerr on February 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        Robert,

        I understand your point and certainly agree that overall demand drives the fossil fuel infrastructure as it exists. You and I both know that we cannot continue down the same road for much longer. Assuming that we can alter the chemistry of the atmosphere with impunity we are now relegated to sources like tar sands, deep ocean drilling, environmentally damaging “fracking” and what’s left of the “low hanging fruit” in the middle east. Supplies are dwindling as demand increases worldwide and the wall will be hit.

        True, Al and Bill should listen to their own preaching but can we allow that type of issue to divert our attention away from the larger picture? From my point of view we are in dire straights and it’s maddening to see us careening wildly along with no clear policy that might solve the problem. If (assuming we haven’t already slid too far down the path of extinction) we are to remain as a civilization we are simply going to be forced to find ways to tap energies other than fossil fuels.

        The problem now is that it has become apparent that we cannot continue to tamper with the atmosphere. This compounds the problem exponentially. If you would go and read the article that I’ve offered then maybe do some further research you may become as alarmed as I am. I have grandchildren and you have children. What will we say to them?

        Of course, I hope that Light is totally wrong but I can find little to convince myself otherwise. The problem, in total, is a daunting one and there isn’t a likely “one size fits all” solution. I do everything that I can personally but I’m not even a drop in the bucket.

        With best personal regards,
        Ed

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        • By OD on February 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm

          Yikes, Ed. If that article you posted is at all correct, I don’t see the point in trying to change things now. It appears we are pretty much doomed. Might as well enjoy the decade(s) we have left.

          I really hope for my children’s sake, that is horribly wrong. I guess we’ll find out.

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          • By Edward Kerr on February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

            OD,

            Like you I hope that Light is wrong. However, he makes a strong case and having chase down most of his claims I can find little wiggle room. At the end of his article he states that we can address the methane with radio waves degrading it into nano-diamonds and hydrogen. This would buy us some time. Compared to the cost of changing over to all renewable sources of energy it will be relatively cheap to work on degrading the methane. Then, of course, we will be right where we are now, needing to abandon fossil fuels (as fuel but they could certainly continue to be used for the 250 other uses we have for them)…For a while I was in despair but that can become a self fulfilling prophesy. I think that we simply have to keep working on both problems with the idea that we will be successful. To do otherwise will be to accept defeat in a cowardly manner. I don’t know about you but I’d rather go down fighting than otherwise for the sake of all children everywhere.

            As you say, time will tell…
            Ed

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  5. By Steve Foster on February 6, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I’m going to rant a little here:

    The rank hypocrisy gets worse when we look at Mr. Gore’s position on nuclear power. He said in his new book, in the section titled “False Solutions”, that R & D in new generation of smaller and safer reactors “may yet play a role in the future… we’ll know by 2030″. He further said that new reactor designs hold promise but are at least 15 years away. The hypocrisy bit is that he was VP and did nothing to stop the Integral Fast Reactor from being cancelled almost 20 years ago. This reactor possesses intrinsic safety (already demonstrated ability to stably shut down by itself in a worst-case coolant fail accident), addresses sustainability (proven ability to recycle nuclear waste delivering 100-fold fuel economy over LWR’s), and proliferation safety (actinide recycle stage performed on-site and no pure plutonium exists anywhere in the cycle). If his administration didn’t cancel the project after 10 successful years, with the stated reason not that it didn’t work but that the technology “wasn’t needed”, we would have this NOW not another 15 – 20 years from now. It chafes my hide to hear him spout this nonsense about nuclear power, in this passive aggressive manner, when it is clearly, hands down the largest single scalable solution to reducing emissions on a huge scale. France went from zero to 80% nuclear in about 20 years and now has the lowest carbon-intensity grid in Europe, along with the cheapest power. Clearly, this is a key part of the solution *as it has been proven effective* before.

    Where I live, right now, our nuclear plants are cranking out approx. 10,000 MW of electrical power on 24×7 basis, which if generated by gas would pump about 5,500 tons of CO2 per HOUR into the atmosphere. (Moreover, those N-plants do it for less than 5 cents/kWh). That’s a savings of about 48 MILLION tons per year – roughly 100 million tons if we’re talking coal, just in my small corner of the world. How THAT kind of carbon reduction success can be ignored, and at that price, or be damned by faint praise is completely beyond me, especially coming from someone claiming to care about climate change and the urgent need to reduce fossil fuel emissions. He is subtly trying to shoot down the single most effective, proven means of carbon mitigation! If coal is to be eventually eliminated globally in electricity production, nuclear is THE ONLY tool to do it as it is the only scalable zero-carbon alternative for baseload power.

    For nuclear to be THE solution on a global scale, sustainability (resource utilization and waste) and proliferation resistance need to be addressed, but that’s precisely what the IFR design successfully solved. Moreover, all current inventoried spent nuclear fuel and depleted uranium from LWR’s and enrichment operations represent new IFR FUEL, enough to provide the energy needs of the USA alone for centuries. So it also solves the “what do we do with the waste” compliant.

    Mr. Gore had a hand in the demise of the IFR. Well done Sir. As someone else pointed out in a related blog posting, he should apologize for his hand in that and advocate getting the IFR and other new nuclear technologies on a fast track NOW.

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  6. By Benjamin Cole on February 7, 2013 at 2:01 am

    No matter how bad a hypocrite may be Gore (or Bush jr., or Reagan, or Obama) we have to separate out the man from the position.

    It may be that ethanol is great idea—–the fact that Bush jr. was a huge proponent of corn ethanol, and even cellulosic ethanol, does not make ethanol a bad or good idea. Ethanol must stand on its own two feet (I think ethanol is a terrible idea).

    For some reason, even though Bush jr spearheaded and enacted subsidized and mandated ethanol, and proposed to double or triple the footprint thereof, no one calls Bush jr. a hypocrite. He was supposed to be for free markets, no? How does mandated and subsidized ethanol fit into the framework of free markets?

    I have no love for Al Gore. But he seems to ignite the foaming-mouth crowd just by being.

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  7. By ben on February 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    “The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

    - Plato

    Alas, it’s true, we get the government that we earn. This hard truth is one that stings. We somehow think that we deserve more than what we’ve endured in recent years. Yet, we

    continue to reap what our collective indifference has sown.

    As for the former vice president, I will simply share an anecdote that tends to confirm the general sentiment offered, above.

    A old and dear colleague who was in attendance this past week at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany, shared with me a fascinating insight in the late summer of 2000 during what was to become the most controversial presidential race in modern times. His views involving the likely outcome of the upcoming election grew out of his extensive interactions with the vice president principally during his years of service in the US Senate. Specifically, he shared a story of the senator from Tennessee’s own participation as a delegate to the annual Wehrkunde Secuirty Conference (now known as the Munich Security Conference) and how his own “indifference” would prove a harbinger of later failings that would deny him that which he had always coveted–a cozy spot in public housing over at 1600 Penn Ave..

    In the mid-to-late 1980′s Senator Gore was a delegate at the MSC with a keen eye on cultivating the press and specifically that in New York and California. In fact, he did so with such headlong determination that he actually snubbed some local media back in his home state who sought out his opinion on more mundane issues of interest to the workers and small artisans back home. To the amazement of a number of his conference colleagues, the senator-son of a former Tennessee senator couldn’t be distracted from his mission; the world was “starting to burn” and only Albert Gore stood in the breach between utter calamity or a world left securely to posterity. Any doubts, well, just ask him and then settle in for the long lecture. Most of his conference (and senate colleagues) found the man a tad insufferable. Alas, he “isn’t here to win a popularity contest…..” Hmmm, that isn’t actually the one that actually counts for the purposes of gaining the presidency:) And that is, in fact, the point made by my friend that summer of 2000; “Gore will lose the election because he’ll suffer something that no other major presidential nominee has done in history. He will lose his home state.”

    At the time, I chuckled with an air of incredulity. “Surely you jest,” I offered in quick reply. The man has won statewide election twice as a senator. “Not at all,” he shot back. “I’vee witnessed this fellow violate the cardinal rule of politics often invoked by Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil; “all politics are local–and don;t forget it!” Well, when you spend more time in a Washington, DC cond or on the campus of St. Albans than you do talking to beat reporters in the small towns of the Volunteer State, it’s only a matter of time before word gets around that you may have grown a bit big for your britches. And that, of course, is precisely what happened in the end. The can’t miss heir to the presidency proved himself a bit weak in too many rural counties where people the folks who actually work for a living tend to remember who comes around from time-to-time to check on how things are shaping up back on the homefront rather than in the salons of Europe or among the jet-setters along those major coastal hubs.

    I could share a great deal more of the story here, but suffice it to say that the former VP appears to have continued his great quest for our collective salvation under the guise of self-promotion. Oops, what was that line from Willie Wonka? Something about “scratch that and reverse it.” Ah, perhaps the sale of a television station to the fine folks in Doha was a deliberate act of genuine civic conscience. I really cannot say. I guess we’ll just have to rely on the common sense and decency of working people from a place like, ah, Tennessee:)

    Thanks RR and readers. Let’s agree to keep the faith in something a bit more durable than contemporary politics (and that famed art’s deft practitioners:).

    Ben

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  8. By Dave on February 8, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I believe that Qatar mostly has reserves of natural gas. Natural gas is considered a clean . . ish . . fuel here in the States. What’s the problem?

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  9. By sault on February 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Wow, you start out trying to establish non-partisan credibility and neutrality, but then you slowly move towards the personal attacks against Al Gore that I see coming from partisans all the time. By the end of this hit-piece, it looks like I’m reading Faux “News”!

    So what did the sale of Current to Al Jazeera do to increase carbon emissions, exactly? Where’s your proof of Gore selling carbon offsets to himself and the other allegations you present against him? Yeah, nobody’s perfect, but Gore isn’t trying to tell everybody to dump fossil fuels altogether and live in huts either. Did you ever see the end of “An Inconvenient Truth”? He was suggesting that people switch out incandescent light bulbs, buy fuel-efficient vehicles, improve their home’s energy efficiency and bug their representatives in Congress to do something about climate change. Gore seems to be doing all of these and then some.

    As for the cost-benefit analysis, the negative externalities of fossil fuel pollution can go a long way towards paying for the clean energy transition. $100B – $500B ANNUALLY gets flushed down the toilet due to the increased healthcare spending, lower worker productivity, property damage and premature death that JUST coal power pollution causes. You need to stick THAT into your cost-benefit analysis!

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    • By Robert Rapier on February 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      “By the end of this hit-piece, it looks like I’m reading Faux “News”!”

      Then I can say — without question — that you are a Gore apologist with blinders on. Personal attacks? I am reporting facts, which apologists try handwave away.

      “So what did the sale of Current to Al Jazeera do to increase carbon emissions, exactly?”

      I am not going line by line here, because you are obviously not interested in an objective discussion about Gore, and you mostly miss the point. What does oil company influence in TV do to increase emissions? Maybe nothing. But Gore’s point is “probably something.” So here he is rewarding a country that gets the bulk of their money from fossil fuels — something he has explicitly criticized. Thus, he is a hypocrite.

      “Where’s your proof of Gore selling carbon offsets to himself and the other allegations you present against him?”

      That’s been very widely reported. No need to waste my time on something you can easily find and investigate for yourself if you are really interested.

      The rest of your rant misses the point. This is not about whether fossil fuels are good or bad. This is whether Al Gore is a hypocrite in his approach. Yes, he is. That is without question. The vast majority realize this. Some Gore homers will forever defend him regardless.

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      • By sault on February 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

        “Facts”? Please. What’s with the “St. Gore” label, or calling carbon offsets “indulgences”? You’re letting your bias clearly show with these. Had Gore sold Current to News Corp, would you be complaining about how it’s 10% owned by a Saudi prince?

        “What does oil company influence in[sic] TV do to increase emissions?”

        It decreases the likelihood that they will cover energy and climate change issues fairly.

        What does Al Gore’s sale of Current to Al Jazeera do to increase emissions?

        It makes all the teabaggers and closeted partisans increase their emissions of hot air trying to gin up a controversy.

        How is he “rewarding” Qatar by selling Current to them? If anything, the profits he, and other investors, made on the deal brings a little bit of our oil money back to the USA. The sale is not facilitating any more oil production like if Gore would have sold them drilling bits or something. There is no direct connection to the Current sale and Qatar’s carbon emissions. People like you are tying themselves in mental knots to make one.

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        • By Robert Rapier on February 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

          “What’s with the “St. Gore” label, or calling carbon offsets “indulgences”?”

          St. Gore is because of conversations like this, where someone is so infatuated with Gore that the rank hypocrisy is hand-waved away. So he is St. Gore to many. Carbon offsets are indulgences. I can consume more carbon if I can afford to pay someone else not to. That’s an indulgence.

          “You’re letting your bias clearly show with these.”

          Or — stay with me — you are letting yours show by not seeing their relevance. What are my biases? Tell me, since you can see them. Bet you get them wrong. But please indulge me. Tell me my beliefs. Peg my political viewpoint.

          “It decreases the likelihood that they will cover energy and climate change issues fairly.”

          But Current TV being owned by oil money is given a free pass because Gore determines that oil money is OK in this case? What’s good for him, isn’t necessarily good for you. That’s the point. He has vilified fossil fuel money, and the only way this purchase was possible was because of fossil fuel money. So, either fossil fuel money isn’t all bad, or Gore is a hypocrite. Actually, we know he is a hypocrite. Almost everyone knows anyway.

          “People like you are tying themselves in mental knots to make one.”

          Tell me, what are “people like me?” I am sure you think you have me pegged, simply because I have been very critical of Gore. But consider that your biases are possibly leading you to an incorrect conclusion. Once we have established that you are wrong about that, we can discuss whether those same biases are clouding your vision of Gore and leading you to behave as an apologist in a case that simply makes you look like a Gore sycophant.

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        • By Ed_Reid on February 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

          “It makes all the teabaggers and closeted partisans increase their emissions of hot air trying to gin up a controversy.”

          How did male homosexuals who practice scrotum sucking get “sucked” into this discussion, closeted or not?

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  10. By John Williamson on February 11, 2013 at 1:51 am

    I can’t disagree with the content of the column, except to say that to me it’s really a media story, more than a fossil fuels story. If as a result of this sale Al Jazeera America begins broadcasting, then the American public will have a quality alternative to the current cable news offerings. Despite the charges from some quarters, Al Jazeera, much like the BBC, puts U.S. infotainment news to shame, as Hillary Clinton and John McCain have noted. Too bad about the way Al turned out, but hopefully something good will come of it.

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  11. By ben on February 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I must say that RR seems to have it a nerve in pointing out the former VP’s expedient lapse of principle. Ah, but one can hardly expect principle to intefere with self-interest especially when a very real alternative may be the prospects of doing business with a group that is thoroughly objectionable (from a political point of view). If the Arab notion of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has any currency than the merits of a sale to the folks in Doha makes for some tidy logic. Hey, the Al in Al Jazeera actually poses an efficient segue into the daily news. The irony here, of course, is that the new owner/oil & gas peddlers will inevitably cross swords with some AG’s former (or current) apologists who will grow a bit weary in defending a politician who never hesitated in talking south but driving north. Why, this reminds me of another story shared by my old friend about then-Senator Gore as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the confirmation of a Navy secretary during the Reagan administration. Perhaps that is one worth sharing in the hope of offering some additional amplification to an itch that has long been the ultimate bane to Al Gore’s aspiration to be the chief–if not the saint.
    Thanks for truth to power–regardless of where the chips may fall. Keep that up and we might actually stimulate in due course a little shake-up along the Potomac. Ah, but perish the thought that the people should actually be responsible for the governance of our own country!
    Ben

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  12. By Jay on February 12, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I was pretty disappointed in this post. I’ve come to respect RR as someone who cuts through biases to make clear, rational arguments. Unfortunately, this post comes off in the vein of ad hominem attacks people use against valid points (i.e. I don’t care what the report says, it was funded by oil money so I discount it) and seems like some sort of personal vendetta against Gore. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to Gore. I do think there is hypocrisy in telling people about all the urgency and need to sacrifice to prevent disatorous climate change and then living in a massive house and generally partaking in excessive and inefficient actions so I tend to ignore him. But criticizing him because he sold his media company to another well-respected media company that is of higher quality than most of their North American peers, just because of where the revenue comes from is extremely reductionist and not what I’ve come to expect from this blog.

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    • By Robert Rapier on February 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Jay, the point is not whether Al sold his program to a well-respected media company. He just got rich from fossil fuel money. This was the same thing Jon Stewart and Matt Lauer both pressed him on. It is incredibly hypocritical to spend your career bemoaning the influence of fossil fuel money only to sell out to fossil fuel money. There aren’t many ways to sugarcoat that. Trying to spin that any other way is nothing more than special pleading. He told people to do one thing, and he did another because it was the right thing to do for him after he did the cost benefit analysis Of course one of those costs is public perception, but $100 million can comfort him.

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  13. By God on February 18, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Al, you enriched yourself with oil money douchebag. That’s what Stewart should have said. Not impressed with that obscene mansion on Google images either. Not having environmental leaders who practice what they preach is a serious problem. We did a bit better in the 70s in that respect.

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