Al Gore's office is flatly denying a report from Australia's Daily Telegraph that Gore "le[ft]his car idling for an hour" while giving an "environment lecture" in Sweden. The Telegraph article cited an unsubstantiated, source-free claim from a global warming denial website reportedly funded by a non-profit that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from ExxonMobil.
On Friday, the Telegraph reported:
CLIMATE change warrior Al Gore is under fire again, this time for leaving his car idling for an hour during an environment lecture in Sweden.
A blogger revealed the Nobel Peace Prize winner arrived for the Gothenburg speech in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture.
In advance, all distinguished guests were politely advised to - if possible - use any form of public transportation to go to the event, in order to minimize CO2 emissions.
Local legislation prohibits any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds.
The Telegraph linked to a post on 9-11 truther Alex Jones' conspiracy website that republished a report from the website Climate Depot. In addition to the claim that Gore's car had been left idling -- which was made without reference to any witness or evidence of any kind -- Climate Depot reported:
After the ceremony in the Norwegian capital Oslo, it is customary that the laureate is invited to the Swedish capital Stockholm, for a cordial visit. The train ride, supposedly the environmental choice according to Mr. Gore, is approximately four hours. However, he opted for the cosier ride with one of the Swedish government aircrafts. As these can, according to the rules, only be used when a cabinet member is on board - and as the Swedish government after a short ceremonial visit - offered to fly him to Frankfurt (Germany) for his flight to the US, you can calculate both the manpower and the fuel used for this grand tour against man's destruction of the planet.
The Telegraph gave no indication that they had actually attempted to contact Gore's office and confirm this claim. When we contacted Gore's office, we were informed that virtually every claim made by the Telegraph and Climate Depot was inaccurate.
According to Gore's office, Gore did not idle his car at the event; he did not come to Sweden from Oslo; he flew commercial to Sweden, not on a "government aircraft"; and he was in Sweden to speak on "sustainable capitalism," not the environment.
In their rush to tar Gore, the Telegraph failed to do the minimum research on Climate Depot that could have called their unsourced report into question. In an April 2009 profile of Climate Depot head Marc Morano, The New York Times reported:
Mr. Morano's new Web site is being financed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a nonprofit in Washington that advocates for free-market solutions to environmental issues.
Craig Rucker, a co-founder of the organization, said the committee got about a third of its money from other foundations. But Mr. Rucker would not identify them or say how much his foundation would pay Mr. Morano. (Mr. Morano says it will be more than the $134,000 he earned annually in the Senate.)
Public tax filings for 2003-7 -- the last five years for which documents are available -- show that the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ExxonMobil Foundation and from foundations associated with the billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a longtime financer of conservative causes best known for its efforts to have President Bill Clinton impeached. Mr. Rucker said Exxon had not contributed anything last year.