Al Gore: Green Advocate or Green Lobbyist?

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Barack, Environment, Gore, Technology

When Big Oil executives “advised” the Bush administration on energy policy, a lot of people were rightfully upset over the obvious conflict of interest. So, should we also be upset that Barack Obama is getting environmental advice from those who stand to profit from increased regulation and green investment? Well, Al Gore is in Chicago to discuss energy and climate change with Obama and Joe Biden. And Gore now stands to substantially profit from the implementation of his ideas.

[Gore has] plunked $35 million into a particular “firm that selects the private funds for clients and invests in makers of environmentally friendly products.” …

Mr. Gore also has a position in a Silicon Valley “green” venture capital outfit — another group of people investing in companies that would be worth real money in an America with Gore-favored environmental policies. The firm sells carbon “offsets,” which are only window dressing at present, but which would be assigned artificial value through artificial scarcity under state-imposed emissions limits.

Gore’s investments by no means invalidate his opinion or diminish his knowledge on the subject. But they do create certain conflicts of interest that Obama and other government officials will have to take into account when seeking Gore’s advice.

A lot of people find ways to profit from the field in which they work. And there is nothing wrong with investing in technologies and companies that are advancing a cause in which you believe. But there is a difference between an advocate and a lobbyist. If Gore is promoting government action that would directly profit him, it’s hard to say he’s not a lobbyist. And if he’s lobbyist, we have to treat him with increased skepticism.

Right now, there’s no indication that Gore is trying to use his access and authority to generate a big payday. Nor do we know if Obama is turning to Gore just to be considerate or if he plans to turn to Gore repeatedly. But there’s reason for the rest of us to pay attention. Nothing pollutes public policy as quickly as conflicts of interest. That’s true whether we’re talking about Big Oil or clean-energy technology.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 and is filed under Barack, Environment, Gore, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Responses to “Al Gore: Green Advocate or Green Lobbyist?”

  1. blackoutyears Says:

    Well said, Alan.

  2. J. Harden Says:

    diminish his knowledge on the subject.

    Which is no greater than mine or the average Joe on the street — it is similar to Justin’s claim to be the greatest of “moderates” – just because someone says it, doesn’t make it so.

  3. kranky kritter Says:

    So, should we also be upset that Barack Obama is getting environmental advice from those who stand to profit from increased regulation and green investment?

    Yes. We should at least be very leery.

  4. blackoutyears Says:

    Yeah. Al Gore doesn’t know more about climate change than the average Joe on the street. Someone needs a nap.

  5. Frank Says:

    An excellent question, and one I doubt I would hear anywhere else. It is for balance like this that I turn to Donklephant. Great work guys. Keep it up.

  6. J. Harden Says:

    Yeah. Al Gore doesn’t know more about climate change than the average Joe on the street. Someone needs a nap.

    blackoutyears – Provide one scientific credential of Al Gore. Just one. One thing that makes him more scientifically qualified than…anybody. You are right, I do need a nap, but you need to remove your head from the rectal cavity of the MSM and be a bit more discerning on who you trust for expert knowledge.

  7. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Remember, Al Gore didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry; he won the Nobel Peace prize. Because climate science is under the category of politics, I guess.

    Next up, Yale professor Peter Moore is about to be nominated for the Nobel prize in Classical Literature for his work on ribosomal peptidyl transferase reactions and tRNA decoding during protein synthesis of eukaryotic cells in vivo.

  8. TerenceC Says:

    Nice!

  9. L Says:

    To defend Al Gore, I think he is seen more as a leader in the green movement. Just like most presidents have never studied economics and few could be considered experts in all fields of foreign or domestic policy, they are elected to their position because of leadership capabilities, along with enough of a brain to understand issues presented to them.

    No, Al Gore is not a scientists, and he probably doesn’t know any more than anyone who reads this blog (which is probably more than the average Joe though), but he is a largely accepted voice in the green movement, which includes scientists and activists alike, and his knowledge of climate change research is probably comparable to the extent of knowledge we expect our presidents to have of specific issues. Though I think he is a bit of a propagandist and I question awarding the IPCC the Nobel Peace Prize, I can understand both why he should be consulting with Obama and why we should be aware of any conflicts of interest.

  10. Jim S Says:

    Al Gore does one thing that most of the people sneering at him never do, he pays attention to the scientists that are motivated by the science instead of those motivated by their own political stance or their connections to energy companies. This also puts him way ahead of the average joe on the street.

  11. David Says:

    Jim: have you seen Gore revise any of his statements or claims based on new scientific research or corrections in any old research? THAT is something that would be required of someone who is paying attention to scientists who are motivated by science.

    By definition, science investigates areas where there are gaps in knowledge – if we don’t learn more as we go along, we’re doing it wrong.

  12. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Thats a good point, David. NASA fixed an error in its global temperature data, and found that the hottest year on record was actually 1934, not 1998. Also, the oceans are not as warm as Al Gore predicted, Polar Bears are thriving better than ever recorded, ect… Al Gore has never once explained these discrepancies, his “documentary” was just as much of an appeal to the audiences emotions as their reason, with stark images of crusty desert landscapes and drowning CGI polarbears. He is using tried-and-true corporate marketing techniques to sell Gloabal Warming to the masses.

    He claims the debate is over. When was this debate? When did Al Gore stand on one side of the stage, with a dissenting scientist on the other, giving opening statements, rebuttals, taking questions from the moderators, giving closing arguments ect… When did this happen? Al Gore is Chicken Shit. Even if he is right there are thousands of legitamate climatologists who have dissenting views and would gladly challenge Al Gore in an open forum if given the opportunity.

  13. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Jim S:

    Al Gore does one thing that most of the people sneering at him never do, he pays attention to the scientists that are motivated by the science instead of those motivated by their own political stance or their connections to energy companies.

    Well, do you suppose he will listen to the over 650 world-renowned scientists who have recently petitioned the IPCC for representation in their dissenting views on man-made global warming?

    Will you? You can start, if you feel up to it, by reading through some of those quotations listed on the webpage I linked to. Why bother, they are probably “flat earthers” right? After all, Ivar Giaever won a Nobel Prize for physics not peace. What would he know about science? Are you sneering now?

  14. J. Harden Says:

    Yes, Jimmy — I was actually going to send Justin G. a private e-mail regarding these 650 scientists to see if I could get someone on Donklephant to actually post this recent development. I figured the silence would be deafening, a big carbon elephant sitting in the room.

    I guess George Bush and Justin Gardner may have an actually equal disrespect for science if it does not promote their political agenda. Man, its been a good week so far for the libbies. ;)

  15. blackoutyears Says:

    Harden, no one said anything about scientific credentials. Asserting that Gore doesn’t have more practical knowledge or a more educated opinion on climate change than the 20-year-old bimbo who rings me up at the Speedway across the street from my apartment while discussing her latest STD, or my neighbor who was burning tires in his backyard last weekend, or, oh, 99.9999999% of the people you meet walkign down the street smacks of the most pathetic ideological enslavement on your part. While my head is anywhere but up the MSM’s ass, yours is irrefutably lodged firmly in the GOP’s. It must be tiresome to be so predictable.

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