Should Al Gore Profit From Global Warming? Should Any of Us?

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al-gore-climate-change-global-warming.jpgAl Gore, who barely lost (or won) the US Presidential election in November 2000, and vowed never to return to US political life, appears to have come out a winner for not doing so. The former Vice President for 8 years under the Clinton Administration decided to devote his time afterwards to teaching as well as making the world aware of the dangers of global warming, a warning that has been noted several times on Green Prophet, including a more recent article tying global warming and climate change with what is happening in the Middle East.

Gore’s efforts to make the inhabitants of our planet more aware of what fossil fuels and other man-made polluters are causing must have rubbed off on some people, as it has resulted in Gore being honored and awarded a number of acclaims and prizes, including an Academy Award in February, 2007, from the Hollywood film industry for his documentary film: An Inconvenient Truth, that paints a sobering a graphic picture of what is happening to this planet thanks to its human inhabitants.

This honor was followed a few months later with Gore and the UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , jointly winning the 2007  Nobel Peace Prize. Gore was also honored in Israel less than a year later, in July 2008, with an award from the Dan David Foundation for alerting the world to the dangers of overuse of fossil fuels.

So as it has worked out, it appears that the best thing that has happened to the former Vice President was actually losing the Presidency; for had he become the 43rd US President, it’s most likely that Gore would not have become so involved with his environmental crusades as he simply would have been too busy dealing with the aftermath of the “9-11 terror attacks” which would have taken place during his “watch”.

Since the filming and release of his documentary movie, and being awarded the Nobel Prize, a lot of money has come Al Gore’s way, with a great deal of it going to a foundation he set up, known as the Alliance for Climate Protection , founded in 2006, and today has more than 5 million members worldwide. The New York Times says that his green stocks are up and Gore’s made a killing from clean tech investments.

Beyond investment interests, his foundation works with a number of affiliate organizations to find solutions to the problems of climate change and global warming in ways that “diversifies and strengthens the global network of concerned individuals who want to take action now on climate issues”.

Just who is against Mr. Gore and what he is trying to do to save the planet? A lot of  business interests and organizations, for one, who are connected to the fossil fuel industries (oil companies in particular), and who have hired a large group to research scientists to try to disprove Gore’s theories that it is petroleum, coal, and other fossil fuels (including natural gas, by the way) that many say are greatly responsible for the present state of the world’s environment.

For Gore’s part, these allegations of his profiteering from his environmental crusades haven’t affected him that much, since he considers the matter of global warming “not as a political issue but as a moral, ethical, and spiritual one”.

Gore himself is a religious man, belonging to the Southern Baptist Church. He was presented with the Baptist of the Year Award in January 2008, for his efforts on behalf of the environment.

Mr. Gore may never have gotten to occupy the Oval Office (except during a skit he was involved in for an episode of Saturday Night Live); but it now appears that he wound up being a bigger winner by losing the Presidency. And taking everything that has happened to him into account since the events of November/December 2000, he has come out much better than that “other guy” who did sit there for 8 years, critics et al.

What do you think? Should Gore profit from the environment?

Article by Maurice Picow appearing courtesy of Green Prophet

[photo credit: via Baptist Press]

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11 Comments

  1. What’s your point? Isn’t this a website about how to profit from environmental technologies?

    Al is a rich man from a rich family. He and his family have made money from oil, coal, mining and politics. So, why not make money from “green” technologies now?

  2. There is nothing wrong in making a profit. It is how you make it that counts. Mr. Gore investing in renewable energy projects and making a profit is much better that if he others are investing in profitable coal plants or other non-renewable energy projects. Mr. Gore is putting his money where is mouth is. He is walking the talk. Not all initial investments in wind and/or solar projects turn out to be profitable.

    The world is more complicated that just asking if it is OK for Mr Gore to invest in profitable renewable energy projects. Unfortunately many energy efficient projects like urban mass-transit can not be financed by the private sector. Managers and technocrats who operate our mass transit systems (devlop US high speed rail) are doing just as important a job as Mr. Gore and his associates investing in profitable renewable energy projects

  3. I agree with all the points made… of course he should be making money investing in green energy projects (and all of us should too!).

    The concern, I think, was that he like many other activist investors before him, have used their clout and pulpit to promote politicians to vote in policies that effectively support the bet he has made… I think we excuse it largely because we either agree with the policies presented. I am not certain we would if he were sensationalizing or demonizing concerns, and affecting policies, that were not in line with what I am guessing the preponderance of the readership on CleanTechies espouses.

  4. Exactly why is profiting from strategies that will reduce the impact of climate change wrong?

    I really cannot understand why anyone would object to this, especially anyone who believes in the free market.

    We strongly believe that the only way climate change can be stopped and reversed is if there is a strong monetary reason to do so. In short, we believe there is a bucket load of money to be made from saving the planet. The more people who begin to believe this, the more likely technologies, products and services with positive environmental and social outcomes will come to market.

    To take the opposing belief is to acknowledge that your business intent is to make money from destroying the world.

  5. I have no problem with the man making profits by championing causes. I just wish he wasn’t such a hypocrit (like how he flys all over in a large, fuelish and polluting jet) or how he spouts manipulated opinions as fact (such as claims about Global Warming that are not substantiated).

  6. The thing about investing in a technology, is that your money helps that company grow. So wealthy people have a choice in what technologies they invest in. Gore has chosen clean tech, and that somehow makes him suspect? This is a case of him putting his money where his mouth is…..

    He and his wife offset EVERY flight they take with carbon offsets. Many of the environmentalists that I know do not, do you?

    I am not even going to address the validity of Global Warming, I am sure if I looked hard enough I could find someone who still thinks the Sun rotates around the earth. Science…… Iook at the science! the real peer reviewed articles, not the sound bite crap.

  7. Kirsten, please don’t take my comments personally. Buying carbon offsets is a sham. Mr. Gore’s jets’ pollution is made and damages the environment (in exactly the same way he is rallying against) and throwing money at it (buying offsets) later doesn’t make it go away. There are cleaner ways that he can make his point (news media, Internet) but they do not generate public appearance money for him. So he taints his own cause.

    As for the validity of the Global Warming theory, scientists are still struggling to verify or deny it. But having the attitude that “it could be true” and then demanding that everybody else adapts that attitude does not confirm it. There have been as many credible reports against Global Warming as there have been for it. Folks who insist upon supporting unverified theories only hurt their own cause, since they lose credibility.

    My bottom line: I applaud celebrities like Mr. Gore who get involved with apparently good causes. But there comes a time where you have to walk the walk if you want me to believe your talk. And you need to be open to all research on your topic, favorable or not, until the whole truth is discovered.

  8. David Kunhardt on

    Fair-minded people might respond favorably to reading “There have been as many credible reports against Global Warming as there have been for it.” But this is not true. Global scientific consensus is behind the awareness that the globe is warming. (See today’s report on unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice cap, which, because it is landed ice melting, is causing the ocean level to rise). Also see this site for a comprehensive listing of scientific work on global warming: http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html

    If our own government’s analysis does not satisfy you, the UN’s view is even more stark: see: http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/climatechange/lang/en/pages/gateway/the-science/Ecosystems-Close-to-Tipping-Point

    If inter-governmental cooperation is not to your liking, then see the information source that is the grandest public consensus of all: Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming.

    If none if these is to your liking, maybe you will read with interest the analysis of a group of former senior military advisors to the the US have to say at: PoweringAmericasDefense.org

    You may not like certain politicians, but ignoring the global scientific consensus that the earth is warming, and it is human activity to blame, is to put your head firmly in the sand. Wake up, shake it off, pay attention to the real world, and get in and help.

  9. Profitting from the environment? Not Al!

    $140K per 75 minute talk plus expenses…what’s a guy supposed to do – feed the world?

  10. global warm in maine on

    The deniers of AGW and their constant tiraid against Gore making money has always puzzled me. Profit is the primary incentive for all new technologies. It is the very catalyst of innovation.

    I dont see many deniers complaining against oil company profits or executive compensation or bonuses. The very oil companies that fund questionable “research” to support their position that AGW is a scientific hoax.

    The people that claim man’s impact on the earth is minimal since the earth is so large are the next generation of deniers who 50 years ago said the oceans were to vast for man to pollute.

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