We've actually been more interested in the response from Planet Gore that it's much ado about nothing, inasmuch as the ex-Veep buys "carbon offsets" and "green power."
We speculated that we knew what "carbon offsets" might be (we were wrong), and we were pretty sure that we knew what "green power" probably was (we were right). But we were equally sure that buying green power couldn't possibly actually accomplish anything. Please recall that our undergraduate education is in economics, and we have an advanced degree in bullshit-detection. As to green power, someone else has boiled it down rather well:
Buying "green power" is just rearranging the deck chairs, buying power that would have been in the energy mix anyway. It's like buying the green M&M's when no one else cares what the color of their M&M's are.But we assumed that "carbon offsets" were some sort of market or trading system which would permit al Gore to produce more methane, by paying someone else to use less methane than that other fellow would have produced. How this might be accomplished was pretty murky. Would Al buy a year's supply of Beano for some poor Mexican family? Or maybe pay some kid who'd then agree to ride his bike to school for a month rather than drive his Range Rover. But we were wrong.
We learned what this scam actually involves from NPR, although they (surprise!) didn't seem to recognize what they were actually saying. While it's far more complicated, it's all about giving money to a firm that's doing something thought to be environmentally friendly. That is, al Gore uses as much coal-fired juice as he wants, so long as he passes over enough long green to somebody who's promoting compact florescent bulbs, or who promises to plant a tree.
Why Al oughtn't to contribute to such efforts -- and then endure the conservation hardships himself that he so quickly demands be imposed on the rest of us -- isn't readily apparent. But there's a disturbing similarity here to so much other Rich Liberal blather, as Ed Morrissey recognized:
. . . purchasing offsets only means that Gore doesn't want to make the same kind of sacrifices that he's asking other families to make. He's using a modern form of indulgences in order to avoid doing the penance that global-warming activism demands of others. It means that the very rich can continue to suck up energy and raise the price and the demand for electricity and natural gas, while families struggle with their energy costs and face increasing government regulation and taxation. It's a regressive plan that Gore's supporters would decry if the same kind of scheme were applied to a national sales tax, for instance.This is the same old same old: Teddy Kennedy doesn't care how high your income taxes are, because he's already rich, having inherited money made back when rates were low, and there was a tremendous markup on smuggled Canadian Club.