Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How “inconvenient.” Former Vice President Al Gore, preacher-in-chief of the carbon-footprint gospel, himself owns a mansion which burns through more electricity in a month than the average American family uses in a year. You didn’t hear that Sunday night, of course. Mr. Gore’s Oscar acceptance speech for “An Inconvenient Truth” instead claimed that climate change is a “moral issue.” Mr. Gore apparently thinks he should be exempted personally from his own carbon morality.

Gas and electricity for Mr. Gore’s 20-room Nashville manse cost nearly $30,000 last year, the free-market Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported in a post-Oscar release. Heating and powering the pool house alone cost Mr. Gore $544 a month. The estate’s total 2006 power consumption was almost 221,000 kilowatt-hours. The average American household uses less than 11,000. But then, average folks weren’t busy inventing the Internet.

It’s good to be king, as Mr. Gore has discovered. No one begrudges his payoff on an early in Google-stock fortune, reportedly worth scores of millions of dollars. Good for Al, Tipper and their four grown children that they and their guests have 20 rooms and eight bathrooms in which to sprawl. Mr. Gore’s more bizarre suggestions aside, it’s no sin to be prosperous.

But presuming to tell the average consumer how to live while enjoying a lifestyle many, many times more lavish is another matter. This is a “let them eat cake” moment, and it should be remembered every time Mr. Gore scolds the rest of us for overconsumption of electricity. Sure, Al. We’ll think about it once you start practicing what you preach.

Mr. Gore should have known he would be scrutinized on his own terms. He does not fare very well.

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