Let's start with the links. Here's Wikipedia on the subject. And here's a killer bit about Al Gore's supposed carbon neutrality - note particularly that he's apparently buying his offsets from a company of which he's cofounder and chair. And of course here is a piece about Bush's Crawford ranch, with its geothermal climate control, rainwater collection system, graywater recycling, and modest size.
What I bring from these stories is a Lenten theme, weirdly enough. It's the injunction to pray in secret, to wash your face and smile on the street - not to be like "the hypocrites" who hire people to beat drums ahead of them on their way to make their offerings at the Temple. It'd be so much easier to take the Terrible ThreatTM of (anthropogenic?) global warming seriously if its Jeremiahs were less ludicrous.
Instead, as I've said before, my position on global warming, cooling, spinning, magnetic-pole-changing, etc., etc., is that the Earth has been doing these things, willy-nilly, for some five billion years now; it behooves us, as a species that may (for the first time in global history) have some modicum of control over its destiny, to try to make ourselves and our society as adaptable as possible to major changes. We know that we as a species already survived ice; we know that large numbers of people already survive heat, though there are obvious problems such as disease, crops, and how to get everyone to like warm beer. We already genetically engineer lots of plants to suit our current needs; is anybody working on genetically engineering very heat-tolerant and cold-tolerant and drought-tolerant and wet-roots-tolerant strains of foodstuffs? If not, that's where our concentration should be. Water purification and desalination: another no-brainer. Inoculations against diseases more common in lower latitudes, especially those horribles for which the main therapy right now is "get the uninfected out of Dodge and wait for it to play itself out."
When the Earth's climate changes, it will be beyond us to stop it - and any efforts we make that have an actual effect, however small, are bound to have other, unintended consequences as well (see: rabbits, Australia). If we limit our attempts at ginormous changes to the social and technical, it seems obvious to me that we also limit those unintended consequences. That alone, even leaving aside the do-ability factor, brings me to my firmly held opinion that our better course is to prepare ourselves, not to try to hold back the tide.
Social engineering, then? No... I'm agin' it. But if we're going to try to take some kind of major action, I vote for explicitly setting out to build a resilient society rather than (a) giving very rich people feel-good points plus a free pass to contribute as much carbon to the equation as they like, (b) setting up a "carbon underclass" of people who, because they can't afford a "carbon usage tax" or magical (if ineffective) offsets, simply have to live as our grandparents and great-grandparents did, and (c) holding down the development of the undeveloped and underdeveloped world in the name of The Environment. And as I (and others, I'm sure) observed somewhere (I'm sorry, it's after midnight and I don't recall whether it was in some blog post of mine or a comment left elsewhere), if those selfsame Jeremiahs actually believed the drivel they're spouting, they'd be doing things differently: if Gore thought we were decades from "buh-bye Manhattan," he'd be living... um... the way Bush does.
So it comes down to power, as always. Sometimes I imagine Gore in his carefully offset obscenely energy-hungry mansion, giggling like a little girl over how much more influence and exposure he has now than he did as a Presidential candidate.