Leave it to Al Gore to strip the global warming question of any credibility it might have.
A story in the New York Times (registration required) outlines what we’ve long suspected of our famous former vice-president and Nobel Prize winner turned crusader — that this carbon-footprint thing is making him a very rich man.
Gore’s investment company, Generation Investment Management, sells carbon offset opportunities and is the largest shareholder of the Chicago Climate Exchange, which stands to make big bucks in the so-called “cap and trade” plan. And that’s not the only financial interest he has in environmental matters.
This is according to New York Times reporter John Broder:
… former Vice President Al Gore thought he had spotted a winner last year when a small California firm sought financing for an energy-saving technology from the venture capital firm where Mr. Gore is a partner … the company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Gore’s firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital providers, looking for $75 million to expand its partnerships with utilities seeking to install millions of so-called smart meters in homes and businesses … Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers … the deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.
… few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes … critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in … Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, asserted at a hearing this year that Mr. Gore stood to benefit personally from the energy and climate policies he was urging Congress to adopt.
Gore says there’s nothing wrong there; he’s just putting his money where his mouth is. “Do you think there is something wrong with being active in business in this country? I am proud of it. I am proud of it.”
Although this quote sounds like something from Capitalism 101, few of his supporters seem to notice. He’s considered a saint in some circles, and Newsweek recently ran an article calling him an “eco-prophet.”
Uhh, try eco-profit. But then, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a capitalist, then it’s great. More power to him. But if you’re one of those share-the-wealth types that considers WalMart to be evil and Bill Gates to be the devil incarnate, then it’s time to rethink Gore because there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference.
Global warming causes still a mystery
Just so you know, here’s my take on global warming: I’m somewhere in the middle between the Gore gang and the naysayers. It’s a little hard to see footage of the Antarctic ice cap breaking apart and the Arctic ice cap receding and say it’s all a bunch of crap. It’s a little hard to say it’s bad science when you can see changing tide levels over the past decade here in Charleston. Some of it is cyclical; the planet has a history of warming and cooling trends as long as we’ve been able to collect evidence. Some of the temperature change can be called natural causes, but it’s true man’s poor management of his home turf is also a factor. How much of a factor, though, remains open to debate.
And it’s amusing listening to the naysayers trotting out their own statistics and hypothesis; that cattle farts and belches unload more carbon dioxide than humans ever could, that keeping a pet dumps off more CO2 than keeping a sports-utility vehicle. Like carbon dioxide itself, many of these explanations are just full of gas.
And, blaming our environmental crises on carbon dioxide sounds pretty sketchy at best. There are plenty of real pollutants floating around in our atmosphere to worry about; to pin it all on CO2 is pure hypothesis and nothing’s been proven there. But the Gores of this world are ready to build a whole economy around it, with him making a fortune in the process.
Respin and try again
After several years of evangelizing on the ills of carbon dioxide, Gore recently backtracked a bit. He now admits CO2 may be overrated, that the gas we exhale was not the chief culprit for global warming occurring until 2001.
“Over the years I have been among those who focused most of all on CO2, and I think that’s still justified,” the former vice president told Newsweek . “But a comprehensive plan to solve the climate crisis has to widen the focus to encompass strategies for all” of the greenhouse culprits identified in the NASA study.”
Gore now blames soot and methane for the majority of global warming, leaving the door open for a tax on livestock, a tax on meat, a tax on milk, and on and on until he changes his mind again and blames another culprit so that too can be taxed.
Amazing how he can shift gears like that without being branded an idiot. But many who swallow his Kool-Aid don’t seem to know good science from bad, and certainly don’t care whether the facts bear out the theory or not. And if not, respin it and try again.
As mentioned, Gore sees nothing wrong with making money from an idea. Businessmen do it all the time, and they’re usually condemned for such profiteering – particulary by folks on the left. But these very same people consider sainthood as appropriate for Gore. What’s the deal here? Put Gore in the same camp with the Bill Gateses, the Waltons, and the Buffets and see how you like it.
Lobbyists make a living twisting governmental arms for the sake of a profit, and on a good day they’re called slezebags. But when Gore pushes to implement laws, he’s considered a forward-thinking man of the people.
What kind of hypocrisy is this?
(I snagged the artwork from Newsbusters.org … I really liked it.)