(CNSNews.com) - George Bush may be a nemesis of the global green movement and Al Gore its hero, but the president's home is arguably far more environmentally-friendly than the home of the man he defeated in the 2000 election.
Bush's "Western White House" in Crawford, Texas, has been praised as "an eco-friendly haven" while the former vice-president's home in Nashville, Tennessee was criticized this week for heavy power consumption.
"In politics, people don't always practice what they preach," Marlo Lewis, Jr., a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday.
Bush has been criticized harshly by environmentalists for his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol and its mandatory cuts on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming.
By contrast, Gore on Sunday won an Academy Award for his documentary focusing on the impact of climate change. He recently announced a series of music concerts on seven continents in July to drew further attention to the cause.
"It's interesting that Bush seems to actually practice conservation, while Gore seems to want to buy his way out of his obligations," said Lewis, referring to the purchase of offsets for carbon emissions attributed to the high power use in Gore's 20-room mansion.
An April 2001 article in USA Today described the president's 4,000-square-foot single-story limestone house in Crawford as an "eco-friendly haven."
"Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into purifying tanks underground -- one tank for water from showers and bathroom sinks, which is so-called 'gray water,' and one tank for 'black water' from the kitchen sink and toilets," it said. "The purified water is funneled to the cistern with the rainwater."
In addition, "the Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses about 25 percent of the electricity that traditional heating and air-conditioning systems consume."
As Cybercast News Service reported earlier, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) charged on Monday that Gore's mansion in Nashville "consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year."
"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said TCPR President Drew Johnson.
David Roberts, staff writer for the online environmental magazine Grist, Wednesday criticized the analysis by the TCPR, which he described as an "attack group from Tennessee."
The center's report had been "thrown together purely for the purpose of attacking Al Gore after the Oscars," Roberts told Cybercast News Service.
It was unfair, he said, to compare Gore's electrical consumption to the national average, which "includes apartments and trailer homes and is an average across all climatic zones, some of which are quite temperate."
Gore and his wife, Tipper, "both work out of their house" and "have special security measures for an ex-vice president, all of which naturally increases the electricity use in the home," Roberts added.
Moreover, Gore "pays almost a 50 percent premium to buy the 'green power' offered from his electrical company," which generates its voltage from hydroelectric and nuclear power rather than coal, he said.
"If every national leader did as much as Al Gore does to ameliorate their impact on the climate, the world would be a much better place."
Nevertheless, Roberts conceded that the energy efficiency of the president's home in Crawford is "fantastic."
"I wish that George Bush would back public policy that is in line with what he does on his ranch," he said.
Johnson of the TCPR defended his group's report against criticism from Gore's supporters.
He acknowledged that the information was obtained from the National Electric Service the day after Gore won his Oscar, but argued that "it is fair to compare Gore's [energy] use to what most Americans are used to."
"All of the niceties he may have and all the extra people he may have running in and out of his house still shouldn't mean that the person leading this environmental charge should have 20 times the electrical consumption of the average American," Johnson charged.
The CEI's Lewis said the disparity between Gore's message on global warming and his power consumption reflected an "elitist mentality."
"The average soccer mom can't afford to plant trees in the rainforest in order to remain carbon neutral," he said.
"All these jet-setters' lives consist of going to conferences in other countries by burning jet fuel and staying in posh hotels where they keep the lights on all day and so on in order to tut-tut about how wasteful the rest of us are in our use of energy," he stated.
"They always make an exception for themselves because what they're doing is so important."
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