Bracing for the Storm

May 21, 2007

Al Gore at Work

There are many progressives that the right simply cannot help but abhor. Al Gore is chief amongst them. I think deep down, many Republican’s resent the fact that he won the popular vote in 2000 and has gone from being a boring nerd with a slide rule to a modern day voice of authority on climate change. Critics never miss a chance to pile on whenever they can as February’s specious reports of his personal energy use have demonstrated.

So when I saw the above image by TIME photographer Steve Pyke of Gore at work at home, I can’t help getting the sinking feeling that critics will attack again. The man is, after all, looking at three 30″ Apple Cinema Displays. Not only that, but he’s also got a flat panel TV going on the wall opposite him. Three computer monitors AND a TV… IMAGINE THAT? How much energy does this consume? How much CO2 does this wasteful use of our fossil fuels pump into our atmosphere? How can Gore be such a hypocrite?

Of course the answer for anyone not blinded by partisan politics is that Gore isn’t a hypocrite. He and his family purchase power from Green Power Switch that sells “clean” electricity to portions of the Tennessee valley from renewable sources such as solar, wind and methane. The Gore home also makes use of solar panels that help generate approximately 30% of the home’s energy needs. So you see, Al can sit there in front of his 3 30″ cinema displays and his flat panel TV and do his work knowing that he’s not contributing, at least not significantly, to the world’s greenhouse gasses.

None of this matters however. If the past is any indication, I fully expect to see an “exclusive” post on Drudge about Gore’s energy use as early as tomorrow. The right will do its usual hit pieces to try and discredit him. Every time they do so is just one more clue to the American people that they are in the pocket of big oil. They try to proclaim the “nutroots left” are out to ruin the U.S. economy and that there is no concensus for global warming. They are wrong on both counts and running scared. I can feel it.

Polls show the American people are tiring of people in power’s obvious disregard for the facts. They are ready for their President to take the environment just as seriously as they do. Exploding sales of hybrid cars and the ever increasing successes of “green” companies demonstrates this trend all too clearly. Even if Al’s Mac setup sucked down fossil fuels like a Hummer H3, I’d still take Gore over Bush any day of the week. Who would you trust to run the country? A man who can multitask, surrounds himself with books and serves on the Apple Board of Directors, or someone who boasted he doesn’t even read newspapers?


4 Responses to “Bracing for the Storm”

  1. I would have to lookup exact numbers, but I think one huge 24 inch CRT monitor consumes as much as three 30 inch TFT screens. So compared to the past…

    But as you point out it is of course very important where the electricity comes from: I recently learned that about 50% of the electricity in the US i produced with coal! That is shocking, just shocking. This is absolutely the no.1 priority. I cannot understand why there are still coal power plants built today.

    A new study here showed that some of the dirtiest coal power plants in Europe are located in Germany. Though, on the other hand, 70% of Austria’s electricity is produced from renewable resources! Isn’t it great to be able to switch between Germany and Austria at will? :-)

  2. Ged Says:

    Coal power plants are by far the worst producers of greenhouse gasses and China currently has plans to bring a staggering 562 new ones online by 2012. India plans to add 213 more and the U.S. 72 of its own.

    All of these new CO2 emissions threaten to swamp the carbon savings that are represented by the Kyoto Treaty protocol. We hear a great deal of talk about how coal power is now “greener” than ever before. Some of this may be true, but not for countries like China where they are just now discovering their economic power and a growing need for new sources of energy. They are building themselves (and us) into a C02 corner that may permanently tip the balance of climate change. Scary.

  3. Though I never like it when we (Europe included) point our fingers at China and India, saying “if you do this now you will kill us all”. Which is true, of course, but the last 200 years it was our doing who brought us to this point. I’d say, without checking the numbers again, it is at least three fourth “our” CO2 all-in-all.

  4. LostInNC Says:

    Why are there still coal fired plants in the US? Pretty simple really. We have effectively killed the Nuke Fired ones off, Congress has written provissions into the laws that make it far more affordable to keep using the inefficient coal plants than to build new LPG plants, or upgrade the older plants to higher standards and we also have plenty of cheap domestic coal to burn.

    Until we force a change in the rules as they are you honestly can’t blame the power industry for playing by the rules they have.

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