In its original story, The Tennessean reported that Gore buys "carbon offsets" to compensate for his home's use of energy from carbon-based fuels. As Wikipedia explains, a carbon offset "is a service that tries to reduce the net carbon emissions of individuals or organizations indirectly, through proxies who reduce their emissions and/or increase their absorption of greenhouse gases."
Wikipedia goes on to explain that "a wide variety of offset actions are available; tree planting is the most common. Renewable energy and energy conservation offsets are also popular, including emissions trading credits."
So far, so good. But how Gore buys his "carbon offsets," as revealed by The Tennessean raises serious questions. According to the newspaper's report, Gore buys his carbon offsets through Generation Investment Management:
Gore helped found Generation Investment Management, through which he and others pay for offsets. The firm invests the money in solar, wind and other projects that reduce energy consumption around the globe...
Gore is chairman of the firm and, presumably, draws an income or will make money as its investments prosper. In other words, he "buys" his "carbon offsets" from himself, through a transaction designed to boost his own investments and return a profit to himself. To be blunt, Gore doesn't buy "carbon offsets" through Generation Investment Management - he buys stocks.
And it is not clear at all that Gore's stock purchases - excuse me, "carbon offsets" purchases - actually help reduce the use of carbon-based energy at all, while the gas lanterns and other carbon-based energy burners at his house continue to burn carbon-based fuels and pump carbon emissions - a/k/a/ "greenhouse gases" - into the atmosphere.
Gore's people tout his purchase of "carbon offsets" as evidence that he lives a "carbon-neutral" lifestyle, but the truth is Gore's home uses electricity that is, for the most part, derived from the burning of carbon fuels. His house gets its electricity from Nashville Electric Service, which gets its from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which produces most of its power from coal-burning power plants. Which means most of the power being consumed at the Gore mansion comes from carbon-emitting power sources.
Here's the whole thing. It's unreal, only... it's not.