Al Gore’s Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

By Vijay Jayaraj

As an Indian, I don’t know whether to be more annoyed by Al Gore’s condescension or his hypocrisy when he describes my country as “the world’s third-highest emitter” of carbon dioxide in a tweet congratulating it for pausing investments in coal-fired power plants for five years.

As the world’s most populous nation, India’s CO2 emissions are frequently cited by climate zealots in their demonization of the life-sustaining gas. However, such descriptions or “carbon pollution” lack as much in context as they do in scientific validity.

Comparison of Per Capita Emissions and National Average

The per capita CO2 emissions for the United States is 14.24 tons per year (2021). As we shall discuss, the number would be higher for Al Gore, who owns expensive properties and travels in carbon-intensive modes to international events.

In comparison, India’s per capita emissions for 2021 were just 1.9 tons. In other words, an Indian emits about 13% of the CO2 that an American does over the course of a year! Yet, people like Al Gore use the smear of “polluter” to browbeat some of the planet’s poorest people into submitting to the climate cult.

Even if one ignores per capita emissions, the United States as a whole releases nearly twice as much CO2 (4,752 tons) as India (2,648 tons), a country where 1.4 billion people live. In plainer terms, despite having only 25% of India’s population, the United States generates almost double the CO2 of India.

A comparison of Al Gore’s lavish CO2 footprint with many millions of India’s poor would be even more absurd. Just consider how he compares the typical U.S. citizen. In 2017, the National Center for Public Policy Research listed some of the climate-unfriendly impacts of the former vice president’s hypocritic lifestyle.

The Gore home used 19,241 kilowatt-hours of electricity (kWh) on average per month in 2016, which is far more than the typical American household’s consumption of 901 kWh. So, Al Gore guzzles more electricity in one year than the average American family uses in 21 years.

Gore ate up 66,159 kWh of electricity merely to heat his pool between August 2016 — August 2017, during which time he paid $22,000 in electric bills. That much energy would be a year’s supply for six typical American households.

Finally, Gore paid an estimated $60,000 to install solar panels, whose output amounted to less than 6% of his energy consumption. It is safe to assume that much of the remaining 94% was supplied by fossil fuels.

Why are so many in the media okay with a man of Al Gore’s means berating some of the most impoverished people?

Perhaps a more pertinent question is: Why do people like Al Gore find it acceptable to use fossil fuels to sustain their own extravagance but want to deny less fortunate fellow humans access to the same energy sources to develop economies that have already suffered under centuries of colonialism?

Abject Living Conditions

Millions of Indians are still in a state commonly referred to as “third world living conditions” whose hallmark is insufficient access to energy. Around 41% of India’s households still cook with unclean fuels like wood, dung, charcoal and other solid fuels that expose them to lifelong disease and early death. Just in 2022, many regions of the country faced the worst power blackouts in six years.

Just 7.5% of households in India own a car and only 18% own a washing machine. Despite much of the subcontinent having a tropical climate with summer temperatures regularly exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit, only 24% of households own an air conditioner.

India’s focus on economic growth and poverty reduction will result in an inevitable increase in energy use during the next few decades. Energy-intensive industries and infrastructure projects are required as the country works to raise living standards.

There will be a rise in demand for fossil fuels that provide reliable, affordable and abundant energy at a large scale. The coal-fired power plants that have been put on hold are actually needed to boost millions out of poverty. The so-called green technologies of wind and solar simply cannot do that now — or quite possibly ever.

We do not begrudge Mr. Gore his wealth, but we do reject his vision of a “decarbonized” energy system that would doom countries like mine to continued deprivation.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.

This commentary was first published at The Daily Caller, June 21, 2023, and can be accessed here.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.

Photo credit (Al Gore image only):

Jalisco Campus Party, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


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