It's OK to Discuss Pickens' Windmill Investments but Not Gore's
For many months, NewsBusters has been reporting the financial interest Nobel Laureate Al Gore has in advancing global warming hysteria, and has continually wondered when media will raise this issue to the American people.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Gore gave host Tom Brokaw the perfect setup to ask him about his investments in renewable fuel technology when the former Vice President mentioned how much money T. Boone Pickens has put into windmill farms.
Predictably, Brokaw missed this opportunity to be the first major, mainstream media member to ask the Global Warmingist-in-Chief about his own investments, and just how much he stands to make if America does indeed shift all of its electricity production to renewable sources of energy.
Here's the exchange in question (video embedded below the fold):
TOM BROKAW, HOST: I don't have to tell you that there are a good many political fights going on right now, to say nothing of what's going to happen in the future, and also you have some competition. Anyone who's been watching this broadcast or television recently has seen a familiar American figure and what he has in mind. Let's listen to some of that.
MR. T. BOONE PICKENS: (From political advertisement) I'm T. Boone Pickens. I've been an oil man my whole life, but this is one emergency we can't drill our way out of. And I have a plan. In the coming weeks, I'm going to share the details of that plan to use American technology and alternative energy to slash our dependency and break foreign oil's stranglehold on us.
MR. BROKAW: If you go to his Web site, he'll tell you that he wants to shift to wind to produce electricity and then shift natural gas to public transportation. And when he took a look at your plan, this is what he had to say. "Former Vice President Al Gore's put forward a framework of a plan that is focused on global warming and climate issues. My plan is aimed squarely at breaking the stranglehold that foreign oil has on our country and the $700 billion annual impact it has on our economy. We import 70 percent of our oil and that number is growing larger every year." As you know. "Vice President Gore's plan does not address this enormous problem. It is clear that he and I have two different objectives, and our plans should be viewed with that in mind." Don't you like the idea that T. Boone Pickens is out there on the playing field now and has what appears to be an innovative idea?
VICE PRES. GORE: I do. And, and I think it's really significant that one of the most successful oil industry figures is now investing a billion dollars of his own money in windmills. He's looked at the figures that I was sharing with you a moment ago. Wind is competitive. Just this past week, we, we saw Texas approve massive new transmission lines to use wind power for--as a substitute for the old ways of producing electricity. Now, the--I don't see him as a competitor on this. There are really a lot of common features in, in what he's saying. Now, the, the idea of using natural gas for, for cars, natural gas, I think, is an important transition fuel. It has fewer CO2 emissions than either coal or oil, especially coal. I think that it makes more sense to put the bulk of our effort to transform the car and truck fleet towards electricity because electricity can be produced from renewable sources indefinitely. It's inexhaustible. There's enough solar energy that hits this--the surface of the planet in 40 minutes to provide a full year's worth of energy for the entire world. We just have to listen to what the engineers and scientists are telling us about the advances in the efficiency and the reductions in cost of how we can use solar and wind and also geothermal.
Now, with Gore having mentioned Pickens' investments in windmills, wouldn't this have been the perfect time for Brokaw to ask him about his own financial stake in such things?
After all, as NewsBusters reported on April 11, Gore admitted to this back in March:
There are a lot of great investments you can make. If you are investing in tar sands, or shale oil, then you have a portfolio that is crammed with sub-prime carbon assets. And it is based on an old model. Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and their legs collapse. Developing tar sands and coal shale is the equivalent. Here are just a few of the investments I personally think make sense. I have a stake in these so I’ll have a disclaimer there. But geo-thermal concentrating solar, advanced photovoltaics, efficiency, and conservation.
As Gore spoke these words, pictures of electric cars, windmills and solar panels appeared in multiple slides on the screen with company names at the bottom such as Amyris (biofuels), Altra (biofuels), Bloom Energy (solid oxide fuel cells), Mascoma (cellulosic biofuels), GreatPoint Energy (catalytic gasification), Miasole (solar cells), Ausra (utility scale solar panels), GEM (battery operated cars), Smart (electric cars), and AltaRock Energy (geothermal power).
Since Gore brought up Pickens' investments, why didn't Brokaw ask Gore about his own? Instead, Brokaw continued:
MR. BROKAW: But when it comes to T. Boone Pickens, shouldn't it be "all hands on deck"?
VICE PRES. GORE: Yep.
MR. BROKAW: And don't you approve of the idea that he should go forward with this?
VICE PRES. GORE: He, he, he wants to, to move...
MR. BROKAW: Natural gas.
VICE PRES. GORE: ...natural gas in one direction and move wind in another direction and convert the fleet. The wind is producing electricity and the--then he wants to move natural gas into cars. But if we're going to convert cars and trucks, we, we should do it one time toward electricity.
But there are vehicles running today on natural gas. Chattanooga, Tennessee, has natural gas buses. It's, it's a respectable option. But I think that, I, I think that in the long term the better approach is to make this investment in a unified national grid that has low losses in transmission, that has the Smart Grid features that allows individuals to put up photovoltaic solar panels and sell electricity back into the grid and shift over to renewable sources.
Stop the tape. So, Gore doesn't want to use natural gas for cars. Instead, he wants to go electric -- which he's admitted to investing in. Wouldn't this be another opportunity for Brokaw to question Gore's possible financial motivation? It appears not:
MR. GORE: Now, the other thing that Boone Pickens agrees on is when he says we really "can't drill our way out" of this because the new discoveries--and he knows about the new discoveries, he's got chapter and verse--they have been coming in at a much slower rate than the demand for oil and coal have been increasing.
MR. BROKAW: This comes under the heading of politics makes strange bedfellows. You have common cause with T. Boone Pickens, who four years ago was a principal financier of the swift boat attack ads...
VICE PRES. GORE: Yeah.
MR. BROKAW: ...against your friend John Kerry.
VICE PRES. GORE: Yeah. And, and I think it's an illustration of how this, this climate crisis has to, to push us as Americans to take this issue out of the old partisan squabbling and political fighting that we're--we have to be in this as Americans. And America should be leading the world community to confront this climate crisis.
MR. BROKAW: Speaking of which, it was not so long ago that you called President Bush a "moral coward" on this issue for not standing up to his financial interests. For the last two years Democrats have dominated the Congress of the United States--the Senate and the House of Representatives. There have been no major, sweeping initiatives coming out of this Democratic-controlled Congress. How would you characterize that?
And that, as they say, was that.
This leads me to ask once again: will anybody in the mainstream media EVER question Gore about his financial interests concerning global warming and converting America's electricity usage to renewable fuels? Ever?