On the March 21 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, host Tucker Carlson suggested that "if [global warming] is a moral issue" then former Vice President Al Gore is "a major sinner" who is "going to global warming hell," because, according to Carlson, Gore "won't even join [the] fight" against global warming by reducing his own carbon emissions. Carlson's remarks came in response to Gore's testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works earlier in the day, during which Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) asked Gore to pledge "to consume no more energy in your residence than the average American household by one year from today." Carlson aired a brief clip of Inhofe requesting that Gore commit to the pledge, then showed only a small part of Gore's response, and -- ignoring its substance -- went on to cite the fact that Gore "rides on private aircraft," and further asserted, "I use less carbon than he does. That's an outrage."
From Gore's response to Inhofe during the March 21 hearing:
GORE: We live a carbon-neutral life, Senator, and both of my businesses are carbon neutral. We buy green energy. We do not contribute to the problem that I'm joining with others to try to help solve. We pay more for green energy, and I think that utilities ought to provide more green energy that doesn't produce CO2, and we are in the midst of installing solar panels.
Media Matters for America has noted previous examples of media figures, including Carlson, ignoring or misrepresenting Gore's efforts to reduce his carbon footprint.
From the March 21 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
CARLSON: This an exchange between Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and the former vice president Al Gore. This happened just about 40 minutes ago. Watch this.
[begin video clip]
INHOFE: I'm going to ask you if you would like to commit here today -- do you know how many hundreds of thousands of fans you have out there that would like to follow your lead. And this pledge merely says, as you can read it up there, that you're agreeing to consume no more energy in your residence than the average American household by one year from today, not right now. You've got a whole year to try to do this.
Now, the one thing I'd like to have you not use in response to this question, which is a yes or no question, is the various gimmicks.
GORE: You know, one of the other recommendations that I would have is that you also set standards for green energy produced by utilities, and one reason I say that in response to what you are saying here is that that's what we purchase, and we pay more for it because it's still relatively uncommon.
INHOFE: Senator Gore --
GORE: If I could just --
INHOFE: Well, you can't.
[end video clip]
CARLSON: OK, see, Rich [Masters, Democratic strategist], here's the problem that strikes me for Al Gore. You know, global warming is real. I'm not attacking the idea of global warming. But if you're running around casting a wagging finger at the rest of humanity and saying, "I am more moral than thou," and you won't even pledge to use the same amount of energy, green or not, the same amount of energy, emit the same amount of carbon as the average American, then you're an appalling phony who ought to be quiet.
It seems to me it's kind of hard for him -- he'll never be able to live up to that standard he sets for others, so he can't run.
CARLSON: My point is this: He is not setting this up as a scientific debate. This is not a question that we work out through analyzing data. This is a moral question, this is a question of virtue. Are you good enough to join the fight against global warming? And he won't even join that fight. I use less carbon than he does. That's an outrage.
MASTERS: What he is setting up here is he absolutely tying into -- the evangelical movement now, by the way, has come to the point, and they're calling it a moral issue. And it is a moral issue in America. Is it scientific issue? Yes. Is it political issue? Yes. Is it a moral issue? Will this country decide --
CARLSON: Then he's immoral. If it's a moral issue, then let me just say -- and I don't think it is, I think it's a scientific issue -- if it is a moral issue, he's a major sinner. I mean, he's going to global warming hell. Because he rides on private aircraft. Don't you think he ought to take the bus?