NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Al Gore, a leading voice in the fight against global warming, is being called a hypocrite by a conservative group that claims his Nashville mansion uses too much electricity.
A spokesperson for Gore said the former U.S. vice-president invests in enough renewable energy to make up for the home's power consumption.
Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which chronicled his campaign against global warming, won an Academy Award Sunday.
The next day, the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research – which disputes whether global warming is a serious problem – put out a news release saying Gore was not doing enough to reduce his own electricity consumption.
"We wanted to see if he was living by his own recommendations and walking the walk," said president Drew Johnson, who believes the threat outlined in Gore's documentary is exaggerated.
Utility records show the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill last year of about $1,200 (all figures U.S.) for the 10,000-square-foot home.
Bills showed the Gores used about 191,000 kilowatt hours in 2006. The typical Nashville household uses about 15,600 kilowatt-hours a year.
Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider said he buys enough "green power" – renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and methane gas – to balance 100 per cent of electricity costs.
"Sometimes when people don't like the message, in this case that global warming is real, it's convenient to attack the messenger," she said.
Gore participates in a utility program that sells blocks of "green power" for an extra $4 a month. He buys 108 such blocks every month, covering 16,200 kilowatt-hours and helping subsidize renewable energy sources.
Johnson said Gore used nearly 221,000 kilowatt hours last year and his average monthly electric bill was $1,359. He claimed his group obtained its figures from Nashville Electric Service, but a spokesperson said the utility never had a request from the group and never provided them with information.
Gore has been buying the "green power" for $432 a month since November, and his home is also under renovation to add solar panels, Kreider said.
She said focusing on Gore's personal electricity consumption misses the point of An Inconvenient Truth, which is that governments and the public can work together to reduce emissions.