Gore signed up for "100% green power" and buys "carbon offsets"! The house has solar panels and CF lighting!
The 100% green power that they use out there at the Gore Mansion is only mostly "green". In fact, two-thirds of it comes from wind power; the rest is solar or "methane".
The methane plant is a coal-fired plant which is "co-fired" with the methane produced at a nearby wastewater treatment plant. (At least that page admits that methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is.)
They say the "methane" plant saves "more than 20,000 tons of coal per year". According to my calculations that seems to assume that the coal-fired plant that the "methane plant" assists uses bituminous coal, which is the dirtiest form of coal and also the least efficient. Bituminous coal contains about 5,000 BTUs of thermal energy per pound. It's soft and cheap and high in sulfur.
If the plant used a blend of hard and soft coal, the numbers won't work; and if it used only anthracite coal, it definitely wouldn't work. 7,500 tons of anthracite coal contains the same thermal energy as about 22,000 tons of bituminous coal. Anthracite is cleaner-burning but more expensive. The hard-soft blend has about twice the energy of pure bituminous coal.
Solar power contributes 0.2% to this "Green Power Switch" project. It looks like it contributes something like 45,000 kilowatt-hours per month to the total of about 15.8 million kilowatt-hours per month. And for that, what is the environmental impact of making all those solar cells? You don't make solar cells with popsicle sticks and lemonade; you make them with a lot of toxic and caustic chemicals.
The Gore defense finishes,
These are the lengths that climate skeptics must go to suppress action on global warming. There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community, so the right-wing busies itself with talk about how much electricity Al Gore’s house uses — and even then they distort the truth.None of that changes the fact that he uses twenty times the electricity of an average American family, at one of several houses!
Where is the distortion in that? While Al Gore is preaching to us that we all have to conserve energy and stop driving big cars and worry worry worry about how our carbon emissions are going to destroy the world, cause disease, and kill the animals, he's flying around in a private jet and living in a 20-room mansion which costs more to power and heat than many families earn in a year. And that is just one of several homes that he owns. So he pays a premium to get "green" power--so what? So he pays someone to promise to plant some trees--so what? The issue, I thought, was with actual energy consumption and the resultant carbon emissions, not how they are "offset" or "greened"--and Al Gore isn't doing shit to limit his consumption.
Far from being a distortion of the truth I think it's a salient point. Al Gore is telling us that we have to change our behavior or else the Earth will melt--if he seriously believes this, why isn't he personally doing anything? If he is so concerned about the environment, why doesn't Al Gore set an example for us? Why doesn't he level that 20-room mansion and rebuild it "green"?
Take a look at Ed Begley Jr's web site for someone who actually cares about the environment and is actually willing to set an example, to walk the walk of someone who believes what he says to others.
Al Gore is very good at getting up on a stage and tell us all what we have to do to stop global warming; but when it's time for him to do anything personally we get a lot of BS about "offsets" and "green power".
And of course his defenders accuse us of "distortions" and trot out the same old horseshit about there being "no meaningful debate" about global warming. There was "no meaningful debate" in the physics community back in the 1900s about Relativity, either, but despite the consensus that Einstein was on drugs, it turned out to be a pretty accurate description of how the universe works.
There was "no meaningful debate" in the intellectual community about the sun revolving around the Earth; and there was "no meaningful debate" about the Earth being flat, either.
In fact, those issues were "resolved"--before being utterly disproven--using the same kind of "science" which tells us that human activity is going to cause catastrophic global warming.