Saturday, November 21, 2009

Al Gore could become first carbon billionaire

I read with interest last week that if Al Gore gets his way, and pushes through laws that support his climate change policy, he stands to become a billionaire due to his investments in green-tech technology.

Is it a problem that he will profit from the very policies he's pushing? Not necessarily, because he is acting as a private citizen, not an elected member of government. So of course here's entitled to make money from it.

And does his financial benefit taint the quality of his argument? Again, not necessarily, though some disclosure of his financial interests would have been more honest, and would have prevented any possible scepticism over his motives.

So let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

But I wonder whether the Gore supporters - and indeed, Gore himself - who will brush this potential conflict of interest aside (and could reasonably do so) will be equally forgiving when attacking the other side. For example, will they still argue that research funded by oil companies is unreliable and biased?

This isn't for or against global warming. This is about clear thinking. It's about consistency and double standards. The next time you hear somebody dismiss research funded by oil companies or statements made by executives of those companies - purely because of the source - ask them whether they're equally critical of Gore; and if not, why not? They can't have it both ways.

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