Call it “Dancing with the Stars”: Global Warming Edition. Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards showed his best dance moves trying to avoid questions about how energy efficient his 28,000-square-foot mansion really is and how much the power bill costs each month.
The March 20 edition of CNN’s “American Morning” showed Edwards hyping global warming, promoting his energy plan that mandates carbon caps and claiming that his new mega-McMansion was actually being operated in a “carbon-neutral way.” He has recently declared his campaign “carbon neutral.”
Edwards also avoided how he holds himself to one standard but wants to hold businesses to another. As anchor Miles O’Brien put it: “One of the keys to your plan is the so-called cap plan which would institute, as it suggests, caps on the amount of carbon dioxide industry can put into the environment.”
But when it comes to Edwards’ own life, he doesn’t cap his carbon efforts, preferring instead carbon offsets. “We have committed to operate this house in a carbon-neutral way, which means in addition to using energy saving devices in the house itself, to the extent that doesn’t cover it, we’re going to purchase carbon credits on the market,” said Edwards.
Such offsets have been big news lately as even the Oscars claimed they were “carbon neutral.” The March 26 issue of BusinessWeek questioned the nature of such offsets and said “some deals amount to little more than feel good hype.”
Former Vice President Al Gore has received criticism for his own carbon offsets, though the media have been supportive. “If more people do it over time, it’s a good thing,” said reporter Russ Mitchell during the “Early Show” on CBS February 22.
During the CNN preview of his new energy plan, Edwards called for both a cap on current carbon dioxide emissions and “reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, which is aggressive but achievable.”
When O’Brien asked him about jobs going overseas instead of new jobs being created in the United States, Edwards danced again. “Well, the reason first of all is the planet has to survive. So we have a pretty simple question to begin with.” His second point merely asked “How do we deal with this issue in a smart way” and moved into boilerplate about creating jobs.
O’Brien asked about Edwards “getting Americans to conserve more.” Edwards responded with talk of conservation and then requirements. “One of the things that’s going to be required is for Americans to be willing to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles and to be willing to conserve and we want to help them do that.”
When O’Brien asked specifically about his house, Edwards turned into a dancing king. Asked about the cost of energy for the home, Edwards tried several answers:
“It’s actually not bad.” And followed that up with talk of how energy efficient the home was.
“I’m not telling you. It’s actually, it’s actually not bad. It’s about three or four hundred dollars, the last one I saw.”
Following that claim, Edwards backed off a bit and said “the power bill is several hundred dollars a month.”