Kleiner Perkins Partner Al Gore Getting Skewered as “First Carbon Billionaire”
|Posted on: May 5th, 2009|
Former VP Al Gore is accustomed to vigorous heckling from the conservative right, but even he might be surprised by the attention that has focused on him since he was questioned before Congress last month about his motivation to support cap-and-trade legislation.
As many readers will already know, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s widely watched request for “some clarity” owed to Gore’s role as a partner at the “capital firm” Kleiner Perkins, one of the most active green tech investors in the country. The position could translate into some big paydays for Gore, she noted.
Gore responded by telling Blackburn that not only has he been working to raise awareness about global warming for 30 years but that “every penny” he has made from his renewable energy investments, as well as from his book and movie, both titled “An Inconvenient Truth,” have been directed to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.
Gore’s visible disdain during the subcommittee meeting didn’t help any more than Blackburn’s seeming lack of preparation or her own tone. (She brought up Kleiner Perkins by citing a reference to his very public affiliation with the world-famous firm in the New York Times, then asking: “are you aware of this company?” (I rolled my own eyes.)
Still, purveyors of dissenting views on climate change have been dining out on the exchange with surprising lustiness, and judging by recent headlines, they’re not planning to stop any time soon.
Last week, for example, The Nation called Gore sleazy and nefarious (as a tongue-and-cheek echo of GOP talking points), while today, PoliGazette, a blog featuring “different moderate perspectives” asks its readers: “Do you want your tax dollars be wasted on projects that will turn Al Gore into ‘the first climate change billionaire’?”
Meanwhile, Marc Morano, a former spokesman for Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who recently launched the Website ClimateDepot.com, has attracted the most attention thus far, telling Fox News on Friday that “Al Gore wants to become the first carbon billionaire.” Gore is “poised to do it,” too, asserted Morano. “As much as Gore’s made now, it is going to be piker league compared to what he is going to make in five years if all these new carbon trading mandates go through. [...] He who controls carbon controls life. It is a bureaucrat’s dream to control carbon dioxide and Washington is a field of dreams right now.”
Ironically, Senator Inhofe, who has called Gore “full of crap” in the past, last month joined Democratic senators in promoting a bill for an official review of the dangers of soot or “black carbon” to the environment and the public’s health. He told the Guardian today that his concern over soot stems from his interest in Africa, where poor families who cook on wood stoves can suffer lung diseases from the soot.
Inhofe also added of his unexpected alliance with Gore on the issue: “Al Gore probably would be against automobile accidents and I am too. This has nothing to do with the CO2 issue.”