Environmentalist Hypocrisy and Excessive Carbon Footprints

Shortly after Al Gore's blockbuster hit An Inconvenient Truth, a mass-forwarded e-mail went viral (which Snopes confirmed to be true). The e-mail described in detail two different houses and asked the reader to guess which one belonged to an environmentalist. The first house that was described was a 10,000 square-foot, 20-room mansion heated by natural gas.

Besides the 20 bedrooms, it had 8 bathrooms. It also had a pool and a pool house.According to the e-mail, the average electricity and gas bill ran $2,400 a month, and the amount of natural gas consumed by the mansion was over 20 times the average American home.

The second house that was described was a 4,000 square-foot, 4 bedroom house that incorporated every "eco-friendly" feature that current home construction offers. The house used geothermal heat pumps that drew ground water from 300-foot deep pipes, and this water was used to cool the house in the summer and heat it in the winter. This system used no natural gas and used only 25% of the electricity used to power a conventional heating and cooling system.

Rainwater was collected from the roof and funneled into an underground 25,000-gallon cistern. Wastewater from the showers, sinks, and toilets was sent through water purification tanks underground before being sent to the underground cistern. This cistern water was then used to irrigate the property around the house.

The e-mail's surprise ending revealed that the first house, the gas-guzzling mansion, belonged to none other than Nobel Peace Prize-winning documentarian, Al Gore himself. The second house, a paragon of "green" efficiency, belonged to George W. Bush. Obviously, the point of the e-mail was to point out "an inconvenient hypocrisy" of the left.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is an agency of the USDA which works among other things to solve the problem of "anthropogenic global warming." On their website, they say that even though agricultural sources account for only 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions, farmers can and should still do things to curb their emissions and help to "solve" global warming. You'd think that the NRCS and our government would want to set a good example. (Or not.)

The Government Accountability Office reports that the NRCS operates over 9,500 vehicles for its 11,600 employees. And even though the NRCS has reduced its fleet in recent years due to budget cuts, the USDA, its mother agency, has actually increased its fleet by a couple thousand vehicles in the past few years. Including the Postal Service, the U.S. Government owns and operates over 650,000 vehicles.

When you include government buildings, our government has a "carbon footprint" of 123 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. About half of those tons are apparently not subject to reduction targets because they're generated by our own Department of Defense. Our government doesn't have to try to reduce those emissions because President Obama, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, has to continue fighting his wars overseas.

The government wants us to reduce carbon emissions by using public transit, buying the right cars and using "alternative" fuels. Some states have even introduced "carbon taxes." Maybe a good way for them to set a good example is not to continually add bureaucracies to themselves that end up wasting more money, resources and energy. It looks like the only man-made "greenhouse gas" that needs significant reduction is our own over-bloated federal government.