Thursday, March 08, 2007

Correction: Gore doesn't buy Carbon Credits from himself

He gives them to himself.

He gets them as an employee benefit of his own company.

So the man pumps 20x more CO2 than the average American home CO2 into the air of the planet he's trying to save from the suposed effects of that CO2, but that's ok because he buys gives himself ofsetting "carbon credits" which "pay" for, even though he paid nothing for them, vague "researchiness" and "developmentiness" of carbon-alternative, or carbon-reduced energy technology. Or so we assume from the definition of a "carbon offset" -- not that we really know what is actually being purchased in Bigfoot Al's name.

The following quote from someone in the company was acutally put up as a part of a defense of Gore. (original article here)

"We do not invest in any activity of carbon offset. That's nonsense. We are a fund management business that does sustainability research," he added.

The confusion, Campbell said, arose because GIM pays to offset the energy use of its operations and the personal emissions of its 23 employees, including Gore.

They're saying that since they don't directly sell "carbon offsets", Gore couldn't possibly buy them from the company. They're also revealing, however, that Gore doesn't really buy them at all. His company does it for him.

One could argue, I suppose, that since he's co-founder of Generation Investment Management (GIM) and part owner, he cuts into his own profits and therefore is, in a way, paying for them. It does insulate him a bit from the payments, though -- if Al's company goes bankrupt, Al will not go bankrupt - not a luxury the rest of us have. Plus it's not like the offsets purchased don't encourage investment in companies in GIM's portfolios. Another point I'd like to make -- Al is basically saying by example is that if you're rich enough to buy the "offsets", you can pollute as much as you want. A bit of pollution class-ism.

If you look at GIM's website, it's chok full of vague language about what it is they do, but one consistent statement is "social, environmental, and geopolitical issues can materially impact a company's ability to sustain returns". In other words, they suggest that their investment philosophy is to invest in companies that can sustain profits through the very social, environmental, and geopolitical changes that Gore is trying jetting all over the world to effect.

Bigfoot Al, chairman of GIM says:

"Integrating issues such as climate change into investment analysis is simply common sense."

You know, every time an oil or coal company helps fund research investigating AGW and said research does not support it or actually counters it, it can (according to progressives) be dismissed without even reading it because of a "conflict of interest".

I'm thinking that Al Gore has a vested financial interest in using social and political pressure to steer industry toward goals in alignment with the companies you'll find in his investment company's portfolios. Mmmmm?

Michael Crichton, "State of Fear" is apparently much closer to the truth than I thought it might be.

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