Al Gore recently presented a new slide show (updated since An Inconvenient Truth) at the TED conference.
As a quick sidebar, Barack Obama has come out & said that he would make a new cabinet position in an Obama administration in order to deal with the climate change problem. He wants Gore to assume that role. I think that is a good move for all concerned parties: Obama, Gore, US citizens & world citizens.
Gore continues to lead the way on climate change. These updated slides that he recently presented are really interesting. I would encourage anyone out there to take 30 minutes to watch this video of his presentaiton, but if you are looking for a quick synopsis, I have some bullets listed below that capture bits of Gore's message:
- We must become engaged & active citizens within our democracy
- Environmental challenges fall into 3 categories: local (water), regional (acid rain), global (climate change)
- Arctic sea ice cap vanishing ... in fall 2007 there was a record low level of ice extent
- Massive melting in Greenland & Antarctica too
- Compares Earth to Venus which is super hot because of carbon in the atmosphere (Mercury is cooler than Venus, even though it is closer to the sun). The sun is not to blame for our warming temps ... the stratosphere of Earth is cooling right now (which makes the point)
- 956 questions to Pres candidates on NBC, 2 about climate (and all the other networks were the same)
- There is a lack of urgency around this issue
- Shows gasoline consumption in developing countries & CO2 emissions (even without USA in the picture, there would be crisis)
- Shows deforestation in Bolivia over 20 years
- Shows fisherie's decline in recent years (mentions "peak fishing")
- The solution is a tax on CO2 (to replace employment tax)
- Shows concentrating solar in Africa ("super-grid") & need to turn to renewable energy
- Investment in tar sands & shale are akin to a junky using veins in the feet after the arm veins have collapsed
- The US still has not ratified Kyoto Protocol
- Talks about Lake Lanier drought & how drought in Australia made the people realize the need to sign Kyoto
- We need to find a way to convey a sense of "generational mission"
- We have the means to solve this challenge, but we haven't tapped into the energy to make it happen
- He remains optimistic & thinks this challenge is a blessing to our generation, who will be celebrated in the future
- Asked about the candidates approaches to climate crisis, he thinks it's good that all 3 have a more progressive position than Bush, but the dialog is still not bold enough
- There should be no new coal-fired power plants without carbon sequestration
- Asked about what he himself wants to do next, he said he is grappling with the question
- There is an old African proverb: if you want to go fast, go alone ... if you want to go far, go together
- We need to go far & go fast
It would be an incredibly positive development for the environmental movement if Obama wins & makes Gore the figurehead for motivating the people & attacking climate change. There is a poignant moment at the end of the video when the host says how much it hurts to think that Gore lost to Bush in 2000 because of poorly designed ballots. As Gore responds, "You have no idea ..."
I think it is interesting to note that Gore seems much more emotional during this presentation. It's as though he has become aware that the facts he presented in the movie are not enough to wake people up. They need some stronger coffee ... they need to be shaken out of the funk somehow, some way. I don't think he knows exactly how ... but perhaps as climate czar he could figure it out. Let's hope!