In what was clearly a pre-planned smear campaign against Al Gore - timed to launch on the heels of An Inconvenient Truth's Oscar win - the right wing think tank the Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported that Al Gore's home consumes 20 times the power as the national average - an assertion that was lasciviously lapped up by Drudge.
Whether or not the figures disclosed by the TCPR are true or not scarcely matters as they are entirely beside the point. In seeking a solution for global warming, the goal is to attain 'carbon neutrality'. For those who failed grade school math (i.e. the people at Drudge) what this means is that you take responsibility for offsetting any greenhouse gases that you produce. If you produce 1 tonne of carbon, you need to do something to ensure 1 tonne is removed from the atmosphere in some other way. Allowing offsetting in this way makes sure that everyone has the ability to reducing their carbon footprint in the most cost effective way. This is precisely what Al Gore does.
Responding to Drudge’s attack, Vice President Gore’s office told ThinkProgress:
1) Gore’s family has taken numerous steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their private residence, including signing up for 100 percent green power through Green Power Switch, installing solar panels, and using compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving technology.
2) Gore has had a consistent position of purchasing carbon offsets to offset the family’s carbon footprint — a concept the right-wing fails to understand. Gore’s office explains:
What Mr. Gore has asked is that every family calculate their carbon footprint and try to reduce it as much as possible. Once they have done so, he then advocates that they purchase offsets, as the Gore’s do, to bring their footprint down to zero.
Similar efforts have been attempted before. For the a previous high profile smear against Gore see my post - Al Gore Cracks the Conservatives Lies - the false accusations there are bound to crop up again now.
On a more fundamental level, the issue points to a core difficulty westerners have with any good act. Somewhere in our cultural history we drew a very strange line in the sand that in essence says, "You are free from any allegations of wrong doing or immorality, unless you endorse improving a wrong, or the state of the world at large. In that case, you need to be a saint or else you're a hypocrite."
This is diseased mindset that is grows from a culture of unaccountable capitalism that knows no morality and perceives sees any good act as a threat to its survival. There are no perfect people, only best intentions and actions, and Al Gore represents both because he does walk the walk - he lives a carbon neutral life.
More to the point, in the issue of global warming, the time is long past for absurd personal attacks as most of the western world is now moving towards solving this problem. It's time for the far right of the political spectrum to start joining in those solutions.