Green Hypocrisy as Al Gore Sells Out for Petro-Dollars

Green Hypocrisy as Al Gore Sells Out for Petro-Dollars

By Peter C Glover

Some years ago I suggested that the height of green hypocrisy stood at around 30,000 feet. My point then was that Al Gore’s merry greenies were regularly jet-setting to exotic locations to harangue the rest of us on the morality of riding bikes, eating muesli and living quaintly. Since then, however, green hypocrisy has become much more grounded, mostly in terms of cutting lucrative greenback deals.

Al Gore had much to celebrate at New Year as he and his partners in the Current TV cable channel venture cashed in by selling out to Al Jazeera for $100 million. Gore’s cut being around $20 million. Al Jazeera has been looking for a way to buy into the US media market for some time. Gore’s Current TV having become a media lemon attracting a paltry 50,000 viewers, offers the ideal entree. Now you might have thought that providing Al Jazeera with a US platform to spread its vile anti-semitism is bad enough, but what of the ‘green’ morality in selling to a station backed by Arab oil money?

As Climate Depot’s Marc Morano has been quick to point out, “It’s official: Al Gore is by far the most lavishly funded fossil fuel player in the global warming debate today.” Neither did it take long for Gore’s Current TV staffers to lash out at his hypocrisy. “He’s supposed to be the face of clean energy and just sold the channel to very big oil, the emir of Qatar!” said one senior Current TV staffer. The staffer added, “Current never even took big oil advertising – and Al Gore, that bulls***ter sells to the emir?”

The fact is, Al Jazeera is funded by the oil-rich Qatari government and has long been considered a tool for the oil-rich monarchy which heavily subsidizes fuel prices. Qatari drivers only pay around $1 per gallon at the pump. Which helps to explain why, as I pointed out in Kyoto: The Last Rites, in the league of the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emitters, Qatar ranks no 1 in the world. So if you, as a strongly committed green idealist, were reviewing the offer you could only conclude that Al Jazeera would fit the bill for an ‘unfit prospective buyer’. Not so Al Gore. According to the New York Times which first broke the story, Gore and his colleague’s wanted the deal pushed through before January 1, 2013 to avoid being hit with higher taxes. The same higher tax regime that Gore and his Democratic Party backed to ensure the rich would pay their “fair share”. For Gore, personally pocketing $20 million in greenbacks clearly trumps planet-saving hair-shirtism.

Not that Gore’s green hypocrisy is an isolated affair. Gore has long been criticized for his private jet-setting lifestyle, for shunning taxis for private limousines, and most famously, for the scandal over his energy-guzzling Tennessee mansion. A mansion that uses more energy in a single month than his neighbors use in an entire year. Upset by the level of media approbation, Gore treated himself to some retail therapy … purchasing yet another energy-guzzling mansion, this one overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

In his June 2011 article The Failure of Al Gore, Walter Russell Mead nailed not only why Al Gore is “one of the most consistent losers in American politics”, but why he represents a key reason why the influence of the global green movement has “tanked”. Excerpts from Mead’s assessment are worth repeating:

“Let us begin with a basic question of judgment.  The former vice president has failed to grasp the basic nature of the kind of leadership the global green cause requires.  Vice President Gore, like all who aspire to lead great causes, must reconcile his advocacy with his conduct — that is, he must conduct himself in a way that is consistent with the great cause he seeks to promote.

But while some forms of inconsistency or even hypocrisy can be combined with public leadership, others cannot be.  A television preacher can eat too many french fries, watch too much cheesy TV and neglect his kids in the quest for global fame.  But he cannot indulge in drug fueled trysts with male prostitutes while preaching conservative Christian doctrine.  The head of the IRS cannot be a tax cheat.  The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways.  Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig.

You cannot be a leading environmentalist who hopes to lead the general public into a long and difficult struggle for sacrifice and fundamental change if your own conduct is so flagrantly inconsistent with the green gospel you profess.  If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets.  You cannot own multiple mansions.  You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.

It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.

Al Gore’s lifestyle is a test case for the credibility of his gospel — and it fails. The tolerance of Al Gore’s lifestyle by the environmental leadership is a further test — and that test, too, the greens fail.

The average citizen is all too likely to conclude that if Mr. Gore can keep his lifestyle, the average American family can keep its SUV and incandescent bulbs.  Al Gore looks to the average American the way American greens look to poor people in the third world: hypocritically demanding that others accept permanently lower standards of living than those the activists propose for themselves.

Bizarrely, Mead attempts to exonerate Gore from the charge of hypocrite. I do not. In fact, Gore represents the very epitome of the spineless moral ‘do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do’ hypocrisy, and one only too willing to sell out his green soul for a mess of petro-dollar pottage. I’ll leave the final word to Mead who concludes thus:

If Al Gore really wants to understand why the global green movement has tanked, he should start by taking a long hard look in the mirror.  Gaia, too, can be betrayed by a kiss.

Amen to that.

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