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Al Gore to Join Villaraigosa in Carbon Surcharge Press Conference, But Don't Worry, He's Not Flying Here

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Former Vice President Al Gore yesterday threw his support behind Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's controversial carbon surcharge plan, which would increase electricity bills for LADWP customers so the city would be using 20% renewable power by the end of 2010. Gore, who has been criticized for his jet-setting ways, will join the Villaraigosa and other key environmental and civic leaders via satellite from Nashville. But is Gore ready to enter the fray? Is Gore being used to save the city's budget under the veil of environmentalism?

No one can argue that Villaraigosa's vision of renewable energy is a bad one. In fact, it's fantastic. But many can agree that this is not purely about saving the environment, something the mayor himself proved this week.

"It was only last week that the mayor of Los Angeles was cloaking his massive Department of Water and Power rate-hike proposal as a green initiative designed to ween the city off of coal power," explained the LA Weekly, which goes on to say the rate "hike, which would eventually include 28.4 percent increases for some customers, is a Band-Aid for the city's near $700 million deficit (coming in July)."