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Al Gore’s purchase of a near nine million dollar Montecito mansion with an almost comical carbon footprint (nine bathrooms!) probably means that he has given up on the global warming movement and decided to become a Hollywood producer (not that he ever made much of a distinction between two).

Montecito is where the creme of the Hollywood creme go when Beverly Hills gets too crowded and nouveau riche. Among others, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner, Christopher Lloyd, Dennis Franz and Oprah have homes there – and they don’t even have Nobel Prizes. (Douglas and Costner do have Oscars though.)

No word on whether Al is giving up his Nashville manse… or his houseboat. This is turning into opera bouffe. But Al always was a man of appetites. If, as La Rochefoucauld famously said, “hypocrisy is a sort of homage that vice pays to virtue,” then Al is paying more homage on the environment than all the sinners combined paid to all the medieval Popes for all their perversions, real or imagined.

Well, maybe not quite that much, but Al is not alone and we could go down a long list of rich enviro-phonies who, added up, would easily reverse AGW, assuming you believe it. But I have a different suspicion. Most of them don’t believe it anymore. They won’t admit that, of course. But Lindsey Graham’s withdrawal from the latest iteration of cap-and-trade is just a signal of what’s ahead. Get out while the getting is good. And make sure you get out the side door, if possible.

And for Al that means forgetting how things look anymore – not that he ever seemed to care that much in the first place – and cashing in. After all, his buddy Richard Sandor – one of the more, shall we say, complex figures of our time – has just sold his controlling interest in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) for 606 million. According to the Chicago Sun-Times: Sandor will sell his 17 percent stake. ICE, which already owns 4.8 percent of Climate Exchange, said other large shareholders also have agreed to sell.

Does that include Al Gore? Don’t know. Via Glenn Beck, a number of interesting figures are involved in CCX. In any case, Al has ponied up nine million (or some down payment thereof), not to mention whatever expenditure for all the “green” retrofitting he plans to do (at some point), on his new Italian mansion by the ocean. But who can blame Al? No offense meant to my Tennessee friends, but Montecito is paradise. Perfect weather, stunning views of the dolphins – and no humidity.

UPDATED: It has been reported that CCX is a LLC registered on the Isle of Man, a noted tax haven. If this is true, Sandor’s 606 million was tax free – as would be any profits made by our former Vice President. This would make CCX one of the great rip-offs of all time.

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