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Author Topic: Gore Refuses to Take Personal Energy Pledge
fugu13
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You think the people buying carbon offsets don't feel good for having offset their carbon? Given that there's nothing requiring it for private citizens, and how spread out the impact is, I think that enjoyment is actually all the measurable direct benefit they enjoy. Which is exactly analogous to something that helps you wind down after work [Wink] .

Making ads is a perfectly viable area of production. Its been big business for centuries, and is still big business today. It contributes significantly to the economy. The problem was never the ads, it was the perverse incentives to make too many ads that people (other producers, and consumers for the signalling value) didn't need.

I'm not trying to sell you on how much money its going to make some people, I'm underscoring that at least an approach like this will allow some people, people who are helping the environment, to make money, instead of just costing everybody.

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The Pixiest
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Fugu: selling ads is fine and dandy. But when you're just selling ads to people who sell ads to people who sell ads, money is shuffling but nothing is happening. At no point does money come from the consumer. It just comes from other businesses spending their venture capital till the venture capital runs out and the bankrupsies chain down the line.
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fugu13
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There's no need to agree CO2 causes problems; lots of carbon is emitted in forms like CFCs and particle pollution, both of which cause measurable harm.
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fugu13
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Yes, which can only happen because there are perverse incentives to buy unnecessary ads. Again, my point isn't that the ad selling wasn't a bad thing, but that it was only a symptom, not a cause.
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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
It should be noted that Gore's TN home is currently having solar panels installed on it.

His energy consumption won't be that high for long, or, of it is, it'll be clean, self produced energy.

Wait, has solar panel technology advanced to the stage where a home installation can power a house?

Or is Gore using solar panelling not generally affordable by the public, or does his property have a lot of land on which to install panels?

(I'm not trying to bait you or anything, I'm actually curious: my family at home has solar panelling, but only enough to inconsistently heat their water. [Big Grin] )

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fugu13
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(My point is also that it has nothing to do with them being ads; we've had economic recessions caused by the presence of perverse incentives related to physical goods, too. But that matters less).
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Krankykat
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fugu:

Your posts are informative and I am learning from what you say, although I don't agree with your entire premise. Smiley faces aside, saying things like "I didn't call you a liar, I said you'd be calling yourself a liar..." is purely semantics. You are still calling me a liar. Although you seem to have been offended by my "hot air" joke, it was not an attack on you. It seemed like you took it personally. There is no reason for you to continue to patronize me.

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Lyrhawn
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Solar panel technology has been at the level available to power a house for some time now. It's not a continuous thing, in that, it isn't always producing power (especially at night obviously). It's ability to power an entire home continuously depends on the size of the house, number of panels, energy usage, but houses with modern panels can power themselves, and even turn a profit for themselves by selling excess energy back to the grid. It literally turns the dial back on your energy meter, reducing whatever supplemental energy you buy from the power company.

If for example you're at work during the day and your house isn't using much energy, it will send that energy back into the grid, turning your house into a mini power plant, and the dial on your meter will turn back. When you use energy at night, you buy energy from the power company, but in the end, depending in circumstances, it can even out, or leave you with a profit.

Combine that with efficient energy star products, CFLs, and solar heating, and your house could be virtually utility bill free.

And it is rather expensive, but like any other home improvement, it's an investment that pays for itself over time.

Generally the panels are mounted on the roof of the home, not out in large fields like you see the commercial power plants are, though for rural homes that works too. Are you sure your family is using photovoltaic cells and not solar heating tubes? Solar heating is used for hot water, and depending on how modern your home is, for home heating as well.

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fugu13
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What I took personally was your ignoring an attempt at reasonable discussion in favor of making bad jokes about someone who's already being smeared for being a hypocrite when he isn't in the link you first posted in the thread.

And no, I don't think you're a liar, I think you made a bad joke, and then made a flawed attempt at extending that bad joke. Only someone who seriously thought the link was substantiating your bad joke would think you a liar; I don't think it was, therefore I don't think you're a liar. I try to be precise in my language.

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Lavalamp
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fugu said:
quote:
Bob: the costs of reduction will always be born somewhere. There's no way to get rid of them. They don't magically disappear if people approach reduction solely by reducing their personal emissions. A market-based approach is far more likely to result in equitable outcomes than one based on direct regulation.

With a strong carbon market, there is an incentive to reduce emissions. To people whom the emissions are worth more than the incentive to reduce (which means they're worth more to the people purchasing from them, which means they're worth more to society, in the only reasonable measure of that which we have), they can pay for them instead of reducing . . . which results in the same reductions as if they had reduced them themselves, and enriches someone who has an easier time reducing energy.

In fact, I suspect many of the people you discuss would find considerable windfalls in a strong carbon market, because they'd adapt in ways that reduced carbon emissions. There would be significant industry devoted to businesses assisting other businesses in reducing carbon emissions.

I think it's stating the obvious that the costs will be borne somewhere/by some people. The question is not whether we can avoid the costs of reducing emissions, but how to most fairly distribute those costs.

I'm not a big believer in the innate efficiency of the marketplace. I think that's a good myth we tell each other, but by and large it almost never actually works out to be truly efficient or equitable.

There [i]might[i] be an argument in favor of a carbon trading market that says it's not the worst solution, but I think there are always going to be people who end up big losers whenever something like this is established.

For one thing, the little guy isn't going to be well-represented when the rules for the market are established. Secondly, small fries aren't likely to get the kind of expert advice needed to make this whole thing work well for them.

Call me pessimistic (I am, after all), but I have seen similar systems in operation. An example is the truck weight allowances market that was set up as states tried to limit over weight vehicles. Basically, companies with larger fleets could afford to do the things that would put them into a large positive balance and then they could just go on violating the rules that were supposedly intended for them. It gave them a huge competitive advantage because they could afford to shift this artificial resource around to where it gave them the best combination of sales of weight-rights and use of it themselves. Smaller operators didn't move immediately into vehicles that efficiently carried lower weights (so the cost per ton mile was about equal). They didn't have the flexibility to do it, nor did they have the ready cash to buy up the rights to haul more weight.

I haven't seen any detailed proposals about how to divide up the carbon pie, but I think that when all the dust settles, the smaller/poorer folks are going to be harmed.

Look at it this way. People who were likely to buy a new car anyway can afford to get the one that uses less fuel and puts out fewer emissions. They get a carbon credit and dump their older gas-guzzler on the used car market. The poor people in this country can't usually afford a new car. They buy what's available in their price range. So, suddenly the market is flooded with SUVs from the 1990s and 2000s. They might get a good price on those, but their carbon debt goes up a lot in the process.

Likewise, they aren't the ones getting new energy-efficient appliances for which the manufacturers charge a premium. They're either getting used stuff or the cheapest (less energy efficient) models offered.

I know it's possible not to burden the working class and poor with a bunch of new regulations, but I don't hold out much hope.

Another thing I suspect will happen is that while this is all being mulled over, people will actually get worse in their pollution habits. Why? Because they'll defer purchases of new, less-polluting items until they see what incentives are being offered, and/or which things get the most credit.

I've already replaced all the incandescent bulbs in my house. So...do I get credit for that later on or not? Time will tell. If I expected that the rules were coming out soon, I would defer the replacement of bulbs until I saw if there were incentives being offered as part of the new "program."

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stihl1
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I refuse to take the oath as well. If it's good enough for Al, it's good enough for me.
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fugu13
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I can point you at recent studies showing that those places in Mexico which most opened themselves up to globalization (by several measures) had the highest increases in standards of living, if you like [Smile]

Well-operating markets have a track record beyond any other mechanism we've tried for efficient allocation. For instance, guess which poor countries (starting out similarly) have had huge increases in general standard of living and health (including among the poor) -- those receiving large sums of aid, or those reducing regulations, tariffs, and taxes? The latter group, by far.

Of course, markets do not mean no regulation. Markets operate efficiently when there are rules that reduce information inequality issues, transaction costs, and the like. GIven those rules, markets operate efficiently.

Your SUV example is flawed, btw. The poor people already had an old, used car, which probably got middling to bad mileage, and the rich people had the SUVs. If suddenly the rich people have really efficient cars and the poor people have the SUVs, the situation is still improved -- the really efficient cars have replaced the middling to bad old used cars. Carbon usage goes down.

Also, that's only an issue in the short term. I'm interested in long term solutions, and in the long term yesterday's pretty efficient new cars are tomorrow's pretty efficient old cars. I could care less about a decade or so spike (which almost certainly doesn't happen, as noted previously; not to mention that SUVs, while popular, are still not that much of the car market, especially the used car market), provided the long term effect is highly positive.

Most of this is unpractical, of course. The most effective area for carbon credits as a reduction approach will be in applying them to production. I don't expect consumer carbon offsetting to be anything more than a boutique market for quite some time, and quite possibly permanently. Consumer carbon production that's independent of producer carbon production might as well be nonexistent.

And I said that someone will be bearing the costs for a reason. Your were talking about people who travel particularly far bearing the costs disproportionately. That's the point: the people who produce the most carbon bear the most costs.

I'd be interested in reading some of the literature on truck weight allowances; its hard to google for, for obvious reasons. Could you point me at some?

However, there're good examples of similar markets as well. For instance, the sulfur (edit: sulfur dioxide emissions, just to be clear) markets set up in the US became quite efficient in just a few years, and when assessed against likely outcomes of proposed direct regulations (partly by observing state level regulations) performed superiorly.

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erosomniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Solar panel technology has been at the level available to power a house for some time now. It's not a continuous thing, in that, it isn't always producing power (especially at night obviously). It's ability to power an entire home continuously depends on the size of the house, number of panels, energy usage, but houses with modern panels can power themselves, and even turn a profit for themselves by selling excess energy back to the grid. It literally turns the dial back on your energy meter, reducing whatever supplemental energy you buy from the power company.

If for example you're at work during the day and your house isn't using much energy, it will send that energy back into the grid, turning your house into a mini power plant, and the dial on your meter will turn back. When you use energy at night, you buy energy from the power company, but in the end, depending in circumstances, it can even out, or leave you with a profit.

Combine that with efficient energy star products, CFLs, and solar heating, and your house could be virtually utility bill free.

And it is rather expensive, but like any other home improvement, it's an investment that pays for itself over time.

Generally the panels are mounted on the roof of the home, not out in large fields like you see the commercial power plants are, though for rural homes that works too. Are you sure your family is using photovoltaic cells and not solar heating tubes? Solar heating is used for hot water, and depending on how modern your home is, for home heating as well.

Cool. Thanks for taking the time to explain that - I'd been in the dark! (BA-DUM, KSHH......guys? Hey, guys?)
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Krankykat
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fugu:

Like I said your posts are interesting and informative.

For your own sake, I am glad you have, in terms of semantics and patronization, become a very clever writer during your six years and almost 12,000 posts on Hatrack. You are much better at it than when you first started in the forum. I hope you continue to be "precise" in your business and personal life's language. Surely, it will make you a success, especially if you consider politics. I have not entered a thread for about five years and have rarely entered posts during that time, but I do read the forum from time to time because I find Hatrack to be informative, interesting and fun.

I was never “ignoring an attempt at reasonable discussion,” I was just having fun. After many years, posting a thread on the forum today seemed like a reasonable and fun diversion to my busy life. In the future, if YOU want to continue to patronize me without “attempt at reasonable discussion,” there will no longer be a reason to continue a dialogue.

Krank [Wink]

(BTW: Winkey Faces and Smiley Faces aside, I'm still having fun.) [Smile]

[ March 22, 2007, 10:26 PM: Message edited by: Krankykat ]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
fugu: My spell checker is on the Google toolbar. I spelled it your way first and was corrected >_<

I think your spell check is hinting that it's time for a vacation. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And it is rather expensive, but like any other home improvement, it's an investment that pays for itself over time.

Some states and/or local utility companies will subsidize the installation of panels, or give you rebates or refunds because of them.
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Boon
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quote:
Originally posted by erosomniac:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Solar panel technology has been at the level available to power a house for some time now. It's not a continuous thing, in that, it isn't always producing power (especially at night obviously). It's ability to power an entire home continuously depends on the size of the house, number of panels, energy usage, but houses with modern panels can power themselves, and even turn a profit for themselves by selling excess energy back to the grid. It literally turns the dial back on your energy meter, reducing whatever supplemental energy you buy from the power company.

If for example you're at work during the day and your house isn't using much energy, it will send that energy back into the grid, turning your house into a mini power plant, and the dial on your meter will turn back. When you use energy at night, you buy energy from the power company, but in the end, depending in circumstances, it can even out, or leave you with a profit.

Combine that with efficient energy star products, CFLs, and solar heating, and your house could be virtually utility bill free.

And it is rather expensive, but like any other home improvement, it's an investment that pays for itself over time.

Generally the panels are mounted on the roof of the home, not out in large fields like you see the commercial power plants are, though for rural homes that works too. Are you sure your family is using photovoltaic cells and not solar heating tubes? Solar heating is used for hot water, and depending on how modern your home is, for home heating as well.

Cool. Thanks for taking the time to explain that - I'd been in the dark! (BA-DUM, KSHH......guys? Hey, guys?)
Not only all that, but there are lots of folks that use deep-cycle batteries (usually golf cart batteries) and special appliances, so that they produce enough electricity to be completely OFF THE GRID, or only use their own electricity AND sell some to the electric company.
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Lyrhawn
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Last I checked, there's a 7.5% rebate in California, and a 10% or better Federal rebate, but the fed rebate might only be for commercial ventures, you'll have to look into it if you want to do it.

Local utility companies may also work with you in partnership when you hook your panels up to their grid. They might either give you a discount on supplemental energy you buy from them, or as riv mentions an outright rebate on the cost of your panels.

Check the DoE and other Federal energy resources first of all, and then check your state for more. Your chances of finding a rebate will probably be better in southern states where returns are higher, but still check anyway. It should also be noted that with every passing year, the price of panels falls, while the efficiency increases, making it cheaper and cheaper to get more and more energy.

On the flip side, in CA anyway, the rebates are also falling with the prices. Either way, in the end you come out on top moneywise.

It should also be noted that PVCs and even solar heating panels give a VERY big bump to the selling price of your house. When it comes to home remodeling, the two best places to sink your money are usually the bathroom and the kitchen, as they will give you the best value for your invested money when it comes to selling your home. For example, if you were to spend $10,000 on PVCs vs. $10,000 on remodeling your living room and bedroom, you are going to get a higher percentage of that 10K investment back from the PVCs, in addition to electricity savings, when it comes time to sell your home. PVCs, currently, generally last for about 30 years and require a minimum of cleaning and maintenance from year to year. That's one more thing people should consider with buying them, they aren't just a way to decrease your energy bill, they pay off in more than one way in the long run.

Thanks for mentioning that extra bit there Boon, I forgot to bring up batteries. Batteries help by storing energy you aren't using during offpeak hours and allow you to use it to supplement your supply during peak hours. Daily excess can be sold back to the power company for a profit.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
KoM: Then sell me on the CO2 is harmful (good luck) angle, not the profit angle. If I don't think it's harmful (which I don't) I'm not going to see cleaning it up as meaningful work.

That's certainly fair enough. But I think the post you were objecting to had already assumed this; if you wanted to disagree with an unspoken assumption, it would have been better to do so explicitly.

Touching the fairness of such a market, it's worth noting that it worked amazingly well to reduce sulfur emissions, back in the day, and I don't notice anyone complaining about how unfair the sulfur quotas are.

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DarkKnight
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Has anyone else heard that Gore is not buying carbon offsets? He is buying stock in his own 'carbon offset' company?
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Tresopax
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It should be noted that Gore is in fact NOT the average American and may have legitimate energy needs that the average American would not. It is only hypocritical to refuse this pledge if he has no reason to need more energy than the average American, but I don't think it is fair to Gore to presume such a good reason doesn't exist in his rather unique case.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Everybody is a unique case, and in our own judgment, almost everybody is above average as well.
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Tresopax
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True dat.
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Dagonee
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quote:
It should be noted that Gore is in fact NOT the average American and may have legitimate energy needs that the average American would not. It is only hypocritical to refuse this pledge if he has no reason to need more energy than the average American, but I don't think it is fair to Gore to presume such a good reason doesn't exist in his rather unique case.
If we only look at his home, then, absent a situation where disability or illness requires extra space and more mechanization, then he doesn't have any needs that require more residential energy use. (Where more takes climate into account, which is not a unique characteristic.)
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Teshi
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To be fair to Gore, if someone who clearly thought I was an idiot, and clearly was trying to cast a negative light on me without much thought or consideration of my motives, I might be wary of signing a pledge no matter what it said.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
I can point you at recent studies showing that those places in Mexico which most opened themselves up to globalization (by several measures) had the highest increases in standards of living, if you like [Smile]


As I'm sure you're aware, globalization is a hugely political football. Many groups on the right and the left spend a lot of time either promoting it or decrying it. Some groups that decry it decry it for reasons other than standard of living (pick up almost any issue of Adbusters, or read almost any Pat Buchanan column to see what I mean).

That said, I'd really love to read what you in your learned opinion believe are good studies that show the benefits of globalization. Book recommendations are good, too.

Thanks.

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fugu13
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Dagonee: does entertaining large numbers of people in his home count as a need? I presume that's also part of the reason they have a guest house.

I'm just interested in your thoughts on that; from my persepctive, there's no need to treat him as a unique case, he's proceeding in a way that's generally applicable.

edit: SS, I'll try to get together some links this weekend; bump this on Monday and remind me if I forget.

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Mig
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
It should be noted that Gore is in fact NOT the average American and may have legitimate energy needs that the average American would not. It is only hypocritical to refuse this pledge if he has no reason to need more energy than the average American, but I don't think it is fair to Gore to presume such a good reason doesn't exist in his rather unique case.

Of course he has a good reason. He's richer than the average American and wants to maintian his life style accordingly. I have no problem with that.

The problem is that he's asking everyone else to sacrifice for the sake of the environment, but he is unwilling to do more than what his wealth can purchase or to do anything that will require that he compromise he wealthy life style. Flying coach? Nope. Better to use a Gulfstream and pay for some "papal indulgences." Like, for example, buying carbon offsets from his own company.

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Dagonee
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quote:
Dagonee: does entertaining large numbers of people in his home count as a need?
Not in my mind. I don't think there's any need to treat him as a unique case, either, but if we start judging (or, even more so, if we start mandating) others on whether they produce more than their "share" of carbon, then being super popular and throwing big parties doesn't count as a need.

My comment was aimed solely at what constitutes a "good reason."

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MrSquicky
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Is anyone aware if Al Gore has made statements detailing why he has a high environmental/resource footprint other than offsetting it with the carbon credits thing?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Krankykat:
Of course he needs to examine it and think about it, Rakeesh. A smaller energy effecient home would be inconvient.

-Al Gore’s home uses more than 20 times the national average

-Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy.

In all this you fail to mention the sources of Gore's energy. They are all "green" sources including hydro-electric and solar power. Do a little more research, please, before you start being a mouthpiece for some anti-Gore slash campaign, the motivations for which we have no idea.
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Dagonee
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Is anyone aware if Al Gore has made statements detailing why he has a high environmental/resource footprint other than offsetting it with the carbon credits thing?

If he's smart and people are presenting his proposed solutions being carbon-offset based rather than mandatory reduction accurately here*, then he would not try to present that information.

* I have no reason to think they haven't been presented accurately, I just don't know for sure.

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Mig
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I'm starting to get the warm feeling inside that the tide is turning on this man-made global warming hyteria. Even sixth graders are starting to become skeptical: http://www.longmontfyi.com/Local-Story.asp?ID=15357
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Qaz
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Mr Gore bought 108 blocks of green power in the past 3 months. ( http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070226/NEWS01/70226055 ) According to his power company ( http://www.nespower.com/green_power_switch.aspx ) , that would be 108*150kWh = 16,200 kwh. If he purchased at that rate for a year it would be 64,800 kwh. People consume more energy in winter so I don't think it would be unusually small.

His house consumed 221,000 kwh in 2006 ( http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=nation_world&id=5072659 ). So based on this he went green for about 30% of his electric bill.

Also apparently he spends $1,080/month on natural gas ( http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_102512.asp ).

Draw from this what conclusions you will, but it turns out that Gore's energy sources are not really all green.

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Hitoshi
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quote:
Originally posted by Mig:
I'm starting to get the warm feeling inside that the tide is turning on this man-made global warming hyteria. Even sixth graders are starting to become skeptical: http://www.longmontfyi.com/Local-Story.asp?ID=15357

Because six billion people in the world can't possibly effect it. And species can't go extinct, either. Oh, wait a tic...

I'll believe scientists over the doubts of sixth graders any day.

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dantesparadigm
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I think it's pretty clear why Mr. Gore isn't interested in going green.

He's making too much money off of global warming.

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Teshi
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quote:
'm starting to get the warm feeling inside that the tide is turning on this man-made global warming hyteria. Even sixth graders are starting to become skeptical:
Was going to respond, but have decided not to: too obvious.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Mig:
I'm starting to get the warm feeling inside that the tide is turning on this man-made global warming hyteria. Even sixth graders are starting to become skeptical: http://www.longmontfyi.com/Local-Story.asp?ID=15357

I too would have the warm feeling that the 'tide is turning' against global warming, if indeed it were possible for me to ignore the patently obvious rising support for the idea in favor of a story about sixth graders.
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Qaz
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I think the teacher is to be commended for having such an effective way to get kids talking about science. I think the kids are to be commended to. The article said their debate was full of graphs and data. That's a lot better than it being full of claims about who's got the most on their side and who's making money off the debate, which is ad hominem anyway. Whether they are right or wrong they did better than we do I think, because they used data rather than ad hominem.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Mig:
I'm starting to get the warm feeling inside that the tide is turning on this man-made global warming hyteria.

Glad that is all settled.... [Roll Eyes]

That wasn't a very intelligent argument, Mig.

[ March 25, 2007, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Kwea ]

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Kwea
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I agree though, the teacher had a great idea, and it got the kids thinking about BOTH sides of this argument.
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Qaz
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/23/AR2007052301510.html

U.S. Carbon Emissions Fell 1.3% in 2006

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropped slightly last year even as the economy grew, according to an initial estimate released yesterday by the Energy Information Administration.

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