Al Gore denies he is 'carbon billionaire'

As he publishes a new book, critics say climate change has made him rich

A A A

Al Gore, the former American vice-president, yesterday hit back at critics who are labelling him the first "carbon billionaire" from his earnings as an investor in green technology, dismissing them as "global-warming deniers".

Since leaving office in 2001, Mr Gore has become a powerful advocate of government policies to limit carbon dioxide emissions. This week sees the launch of his latest book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, a sequel to his earlier work, which was also a successful film, entitled An Inconvenient Truth.

As the Copenhagen talks on a new climate-change treaty approach and the US Congress grapples with draft laws to curb emissions, Mr Gore's profile will only swell further. But as it does, so does the chorus asking if his advocacy for action on climate change is about self-enrichment as much as saving the planet.

Some of his green investments were outlined yesterday by The New York Times. Mr Gore is a partner in the Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has interests in companies developing alternative energy and energy-efficient technologies. He is also a co-founder of London-based Generation Investment Management, which has holdings in eco-energy companies.

He defended his business activities on ABC TV and denied he was on the way to becoming a carbon billionaire. "I am proud to have put my money where my mouth is for the past 30 years," he said. "And though that is not the majority of my business activities, I absolutely believe in investing in accordance with my beliefs and my values."

The new book reiterates the mantra that nothing will happen on climate change without political will. " We need to protect our national security, create more jobs, solve the climate crisis and do right by our kids," he said on ABC.

The book also explores numerous possible solutions to climate change, touching on such issues as forest management, geo-thermal energy and nuclear power generation, drawn from a series of "solutions summits" he held at his Tennessee home with experts.

It was almost inevitable that Mr Gore would become a target of those unconvinced by the alarm bells about global warming, particularly on the American right. "If you really want to save the planet, put down the cheeseburgers and pick up your veggie burger," Glenn Beck, the conservative TV anchor, quipped recently, apparently referring to the dangers of methane emissions from the bovine species.

While the former presidential candidate is not a lobbyist in the traditional sense, he is a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill where he continues to press members of Congress to pass legislation to curb emissions. In April, he was famously put on the spot about his business interests in the industry by the Republican Marsha Blackburn.

Mr Gore, who earns in excess of $100,000 (£60,000) for speaking engagements reacted testily to the implication in her question about a possible conflict of interest. "Congresswoman, if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed," he said, "you don't know me".

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory