On Sunday night, when the movie An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar, its star, Al Gore, took the stage with a message about global warming. He called for people the world over to change the way they live, so that they have less impact on the environment.
Not so fast, said a libertarian think tank called the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. They called up the Nashville Electric Service and asked about the bills for the Gore's 10,000-square-foot home.
"The average American uses about 11,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, but Al Gore devoured 221,000 kilowatt hours," says Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
Of Gore, Johnson asked, "Is he doing the sorts of things that he's asking us to do?"
In response to the center's research, Al Gore's office said that the Gore family does a lot to reduce how much they pollute, such as making renovations that include solar panels, and purchasing carbon offsets.
Melissa Block talks with Mark Trexler, president of Trexler Climate and Energy Services in Portland, Ore., about carbon offsets — what they are, and how a small consumer can reduce carbon emissions.
Trexler says that carbon offsets work by calculating how much carbon dioxide you are putting into the air, and then you figure out how much to pay a carbon-offset company to counteract the pollution.
The system works by supporting alternative energy initiatives. And after buying offsets from retail offset brokers, "You can them claim to be climate-neutral," Trexler says.