Former Vice President and full-time environmental alarmist Al Gore was eager to tell members of Congress how they should use their legislative powers to change the way Americans live but refused to take a pledge to lower his own energy consumption to the levels equal or below the average American household.
He said his family would pay more for “clean energy” instead.
On March 21 Gore testified to both the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee about the “true planetary emergency” of global warming that he said was a “challenge to the moral imagination.”
In his question and answer period Ranking Member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) asked Gore to take a pledge that said: “I pledge to consume no more energy for use in my residence than the average American household by March 21, 2008.”
Inhofe said by taking the pledge Gore must reduce his consumption, not merely pay money to “offset” his energy levels. He intoned that Gore should show support for families who could not afford offsets by reducing his energy level to the average families’ energy consumption level.
“The offsets and credits are used by the wealthy so they do not have to change their lifestyle,” Inhofe told him.
Gore would not pledge to live by energy limits set by the average American household and said he would continue to purchase offsets.
Gore filibustered. “Thank you so much for your question,” he said to Inhofe. “One of the other recommendations is that you also set standards for green energy set by utilities. That is what we purchase and we [his family] pay more for it because it is rather uncommon. We purchase wind energy that does not produce carbon dioxide. That does cost a little more now. And that’s why it does cost more. We are in the process of renovating a new home.”
Inhofe cut Gore off and said Gore could answer “yes” or “no” to the pledge. Gore did neither.
At the end of his question and answer period, Inhofe returned to his first question by asking Gore about his film, An Inconvenient Truth. Inhofe said, “In the last frame of your film, you’re asking ‘Are you ready to change your way of life, are you ready to change the way you live?’ I would have to ask you the same question.”
Gore would not pledge to reduce his energy consumption. “We [his family] live a carbon neutral life. We buy green energy. We pay more for clean energy,” he said. “We are in the middle of installing solar panels.”
During the Senate hearing, a young woman circulated stickers that featured a caricature of Al Gore’s face. In green letters the sticker said, “AL GORE SAYS ‘DO AS A I SAY NOT AS A DO.’”
Gore’s Congressional To-Do List
In his opening testimony, which was not made available to the press at either the House or Senate hearing, Gore gave Congress a hefty legislative to-do list.
He advised Congress to implement “an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions,” issue a moratorium on all new coal plants not properly equipped with costly carbon-reduction technology and commit to “defacto compliance with Kyoto” by 2010.
Gore said Congress should ban all incandescent light bulbs. “And there may be some other products that are placed into that [banned] category,” he said. He told the House committee members they might meet opposition to objecting industries for doing so, but advised them, “They’ll do it, set the date! They’ll adjust as long as everybody plays by the same rules.”
Gore also suggested that Congress mandate an “Electranet” that would “encourage power distribution” by allowing home owners and small businesses to sell solar or wind energy in their communities. “Set the rate to have a tariff that reflects the market price. You may never have to build another central power plant,” he said.
A new “carbon neutral mortgage association” was another idea Gore gave Congress. He said this would be a federal program to help homeowners outfit their properties with carbon reduction technology through government subsidies. In front of the House committee he compared it to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. He called it “Connie Mae.” He said, “They’ll say here’s your Connie Mae home improvement package” and “you don’t have to worry about paying for that. It’ll pay for itself that the Congress of the United States has made sure of that.”
Gore also said Congress should increase CAFĂ?â?° (corporate average fuel economy for cars) standards and require corporate disclosure of carbon emissions.
Inhofe low-balled that the cost of implementing Kyoto protocols alone would be at least $300 billion. He said this would be the “largest tax increase in history — 10 times Clinton-Gore of ’93.”
At Gore’s urging, the Clinton Administration passed an energy tax in 1993. In a little noticed interview with the Financial Times in November 2006 he told reporter Fiona Harvey that the Democrat-supported tax was rejected so harshly that it helped Republicans take control of Congress a year later.
Gore said, “I worked as Vice President to enact a carbon tax. Clinton indulged me against the advice of his economic team….One house of Congress passed it, the other defeated it by one vote then watered it down and what remained was a pitiful 5 cent per gallon gasoline tax."
Gore reflected, "That [the 5 cent per gallon tax] contributed to our losing Congress two years later to Newt Gingrich."