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Al Gore Might Be a Blowhard ... But Are All Liberals?

Al Gore Might Be a Blowhard ... But Are All Liberals?

Democrats use less energy than Republicans

Author: Reilly Capps/Friday, March 15, 2013/Categories: natural history

By Reilly Capps

Sure, there are lots of hypocritical blowhards who preach environmentalism but live in an energy-sucking palace. (Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio). 

But the hypocrites might be outnumbered. 

On average, Democrats use less power than Republicans, says a new study in "Economics Letters." 

Here's the summary from Pacific Standard magaz
ine: 

“Relative to Republican registered households, Democrats consume 5.1 percent less electricity, and Green party registered voters consume 15.1 percent less,” they report. “This differential grows larger in the hotter summer months.

“We estimate that during the summer, Democrats consume 6.6 percent less electricity than observationally identical Republicans, while Green Party households consume 19.1 percent less electricity than Republican households. This larger summer differential is likely to be related to air-conditioning demand.

“Because electricity consumption is private information that is not observed by neighbors,” they add, “our results are explained by ideology—not by peer pressure.”

So while it’s hardly a complete answer to a looming problem, this research suggests that “voluntary restraint”—in this case, driven by political beliefs—“helps to mitigate the challenge of climate change.” It also tells cynics that the gap between belief and behavior may not be as wide as they assume.

Republicans are, on average, richer than Democrats, so that could be one explanation for why they burn more light -- because they can afford to. But if people will use less energy if their personal ideology tells them it's a good idea to do so -- and this study suggests that it does -- then, it stands to reason that, as ideology changes -- and it's changing rapidly -- maybe energy use will change, too. 

And, anyway, the bum rap on Al Gore and his giant Tennessee mansion was always a little overblown


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