Determining what any public figure makes in a year is always a difficult task, and it’s especially difficult in the case of Al Gore, who is linked closely to political issues involving environmental stewardship and consumption. Gore is controversial among those who deny global warming or oppose efforts to combat it, and virtually any income that he publicly reported would be attacked as evidence of hypocrisy; therefore it’s not hard to understand why exact figures on the former Vice-President’s earnings are difficult to come by. In 2000, the last year he was Vice-President, Gore publicly released his tax return showing that he and his wife had an income of $240,930. This was, of course, before Gore’s main efforts turned to environmental matters and seven years before An Inconvenient Truth was released, a film that has earned him quite a bit of money. What we do know is that Gore makes a significant amount of money from speaking engagements. In 2007 a copy of a speaking contract was released by the University of California, disclosing that his speaking fee is $100,000, plus travel expenses (which are carefully crafted to avoid SUVs). How much of this money Gore sees in his pocket, after commissions from his speaking agents and other expenses, is impossible to know since those are matters of private contract that can be kept confidential. He has also spoken publicly of business investments, defending them against critics who claim he is a “carbon billionaire” who is trumping up the theory of global warming just so he can cash in on fixing the problem. Such criticisms ignore both the complexity of the global warming issue, as well as the likely complexity of Mr. Gore’s personal finances, which are probably as extensive and multi-faceted as most other public figures who come from traditionally wealthy families.
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