Monday, June 29, 2009

An Inconvienient Truth?

The US House of Representatives just passed the Cap-and-Trade Energy Bill (H.R. 2454) designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by the year 2020. This would help offset the theoretical man-made global warming problem. The most controversial part of the bill is that greenhouse gases are bought and sold by companies based on the amount of pollution emitted. Some say that this bill would put an extra burden on US industries resulting in continued export of jobs to other countries. Other parts of this bill are not known as it just passed today and the final copy of the 1200-page bill was just released last night.

Now I am in favor of less pollution but with the US economy as it is and with many industries struggling to stay afloat, is this a good time to add an extra cost? It seems that the current US administration should spend more time on the giant elephant in the room (how to balance this budget).

So what is global warming? It is the increase of the earth's air and ocean temperature in the last 50 years. How come it is occurring? Some scientists say man-made greenhouse gas emissions and some say it is a natural occurrence similar to the ice age and the exit from the ice age. The most well-known proponent for man-made global warming is Ex-Vice President Al Gore. His movie, An Inconvenient Truth, presents the data that shows the effects of global warming and how it is a great moral issue for the world.

I have not see all the facts for global warming and I lean on the side that the most notable cause of global warming is from natural effects. I know I may be a little biased, but I still have a few points that just irritate me about Al Gore's agenda, regardless about the causes of global warming.

1. He calls this a moral issue yet he owns a mansion outside of Nashville, TN that uses 20 times as much energy as the average American household. Sounds like he is serious about this issue? In the movie, he even criticizes the Bush administration for their lack of global warming initiatives. The inconvenient truth is that George W. Bush's Crawford Ranch is amazingly efficient.

2. Al Gore defends his extravagant energy usage by explaining that he buys "carbon offsets" to remain carbon neutral. Does this sound like a monetary penance in which the rich can continue to sin? The interesting note is that Al Gore buys "carbon offsets" through a company, Generation Investment Management, in which he serves as the chairman. Very Convenient.

3. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his movie based on man-made global warming; a topic that is still only a theory. What is most shocking is who was second place. An polish Catholic social worker, Irene Sendler, who risked death and saved 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Are you kidding? Who is risking death? Who is directly saving lives? Who is gaining monetarily?

Now I admit that I am a little frustrated and a little biased and I think the green initiative is a good thing and should be pursued, but how can you trust someone who does not practice what he preaches and appears to gain monetarily because of this?

I would love to hear your thoughts.