Climate change deniers and right wing pundits are thrilled to see a report suggesting Gore's Nashville mansion used 221,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in 2006. While the report comes from a right-wing think tank, it appears to be credible judging from additional A.P. reports and the response from a Gore spokesperson. The average U.S. home uses around 10,000 kw hours per year.
She said Gore subsidizes renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power and methane gas to balance 100 per cent of his electricity costs.
She said Gore participates in a utility program that lets people buy blocks of "green power" for $4 a month. Gore purchases 108 blocks a month, the equivalent of 16,200 kilowatt hours.
The Gore home is also under renovation to add solar panels, Kreider said.
This falls perfectly into the discussion we have had about whether offsets are valuable in themselves or whether there should be an efficiency consideration. I think this is the perfect example of a major downside of offsets. People like Gore should be selling their mansions to families of 50 or investing in super efficient insulation and lighting at the minimum.
This attack is clearly politically motivated, but Gore's personal life does appear to be incompatible with the changes needed for reducing GHGs. Efficiency is more important than offsets despite being less public and braggable.
Update: Some had used this realization, coupled with Bush's apparently enviro-friendly house in Texas to suggest that Bush is friendlier to the environment than Gore.
This is absurd. Whereas Gore apparently lives less efficiently in his Nashville home than Bush may in Crawford, the simple fact is that these differences do not even exist when compared to national energy consumption. What is important is policies and how they drive the market. Gore's policies are right and his lifestyle choices are questionable. Bush's (ahem, when it comes to energy, Cheney's) policies are wholly wrong whereas he appears to have made less deleterious personal choices in building his mansion.