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Monday, May 28, 2007

Intentions Are All That Matters

Consider my environmental footprint.

I drive a Hyundai Elantra (gets nearly 40 miles to the gallon on the freeway) less than 10 miles to work and I often ride my bicycle. Our one and only house doesn't even have air conditioning and we rarely use the heat. And we don't travel very much.

Consider Al Gore's environmental footprint.

1. Gore’s [20 room] mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). ... Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

2. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. [...] Humanity might be "sitting on a ticking time bomb," but Gore's home in Carthage is sitting on a zinc mine. Gore receives $20,000 a year in royalties from Pasminco Zinc, which operates a zinc concession on his property. Tennessee has cited the company for adding large quantities of barium, iron and zinc to the nearby Caney Fork River.

3. Turning now to the air, with the fuel Gore's private plane used for this trip, you could probably take your vehicle and travel back and forth between Vancouver and Halifax about four-and-a-half times. Gore chartered a Falcon 200, a twin-engine jet that seats nine. The distance travelled between Nashville, Regina, over to Calgary for an event Monday night, and then home to Nashville, totals more than 4,500 kilometres. According to local aviation experts, the Falcon 200 burns about 215 imperial gallons of fuel per hour. Based on distance and expected flying time, about 1,800 gallons of fuel will be used.

And so forth. Note that the above mentioned mansion is just one of the homes Gore owns and that he travels extensively.

Yet associates of mine who are ecofanatics think Al Gore is an environmental saint. These same associates consider me to be scum of the earth.

Why? Because intentions are all that matter.

My intentions are bad. I bought the Elantra, not because I wanted to save the planet, but because I couldn't find a car that I really liked at any price (I considered Lexuses and other luxury cars but didn't like them) so I decided to buy something inexpensive instead. Turns out it gets great gas mileage but that's not why I bought it. We live in San Diego near the beach where the temperature is generally fairly cool so there's no need for air conditioning. Of course, it doesn't get cold either so no reason to use the heat. San Diego is very nice, so why travel anywhere? And, of course, unlike Al Gore, I don't have a movie to promote.

In addition, I'm just not very reverent to the whole climate change apocalypse thang. I actually have the gall to poke fun at his saintness and other ecofanatics, and, well, write posts like this one.

So the scorecard is: Me - behaviours good, intentions bad, Al Gore - behaviours horrendous, intentions (supposedly) good.

Therefore I'm dogmeat and Al Gore is a saint.

I guess I should start learning to lie. Then I could just pretend my intentions are good. You don't suppose there's any possibility that Al Gore is doing just that, do you? If he were just pretending to have good intentions, but really had not so admirable motivations, how would we tell?


Oroborous said...

Apparently it's not just Gore's behavior, it's also his methods of persuasion that are questionable.

Although I don't care enough to verify this, I've read that Gore's film is filled with errors, half-truths, and outright lies.

Maybe he regards it as "false but accurate", in what passes for his "mind".

Bret said...

I think I'm gonna rent Gore's movie. A lot of schools are showing it and I've had high school kids (babysitters) tell me all they learned from it. I figure I probably ought to know first hand just what they've learned.

Oroborous said...

Better you than me, although I admire anyone who takes the time to investigate and understand opposing viewpoints, no matter how inane.

Howard said...

George Gilders' daughter subjected herself to the same exercise. The output is posted at The Gilder Technology Blog.

I was thinking of doing the same...but I'll let you go first!

Hey Skipper said...

And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film.

His treating the two as an exclusive-or, as opposed to a non-sequitor means one of two things: either he is impenetrably stupid, or he believes his audience to be.

Note: the exclusive-or does not preclude both he and his audience being thick as bricks.

What is even worse, though, is his use of a private jet instead of traveling via a commercial airline.

Even an old airplane, such as a DC-9, gets an average of 40 mpg/passenger (presuming a full airplane); modern, larger, airplanes are closer to 100 mpg/passenger.