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Al Gore dodges inconvenient green-tech questions

RSA recycled into lecture gig

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RSA Want to know environmental crusader and Nobel laureate Al Gore's views on green technology? Tough.

The former US vice president has barred press from attending his RSA keynote presentation on green technology, citing "contractual reasons".

But is it a ruse to head off awkward questions about whose candidacy he's backing for the US Democratic Party's presidential bid: his ex-boss's wife Hillary or Barack Obama. Or it could be intended to save Gore from press humiliation as he flounders answering technical questions thrown from his RSA audience?

So this is usual media whining, you say. But why can no-one - outside San Francisco's Moscone Center - hear Gore's green-tech message? Unlike the rest of this week's RSA sessions, his speech will not be made available via webcast.

According to signs posted by RSA organizers - the Moscone Center is defined as a "public space". This makes it OK to take photographs and record events on the premises.

In a statement, RSA conference veep Sandra Toms-LaPedis made it clear how organizers felt about the reading public, saying RSA was "obligated by an agreement to exclude press and industry analysts", but it felt "the information that vice president Gore provides will be extremely compelling to our attendees". Not to the general public, then.

Since leaving the White House in 2000, Gore has made his name as the planet's chief spokesman against man-made climate change, especially through his 2006 film and the related lecture series An Inconvenient Truth. It's been a nice little earner. And now he is a partner in the blue-chip Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which has a growing list of green investments.

On paper then, Gore has lots to say on global warming and green technology. And both subjects are of huge interest to people working in IT, judging by the numbers of people reading and commenting on El Reg's environment stories.

If Gore isn't dodging election-related questions and this is a "contractual" matter, then it would seem book, film and speaking royalties are of greater value than sharing the message for change and hope. An Inconvenient Truth has made more than $24m in sales, while Gore reportedly commands $100,000 in speaker fees per engagement. ®

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