Al Gore addresses US Senate: don't let economic crisis get in the way of addressing global warming.

Addressing US lawmakers this past week, former Vice President Al Gore urged let them to not let the economic crisis get in the way of addressing global warming. Snip from transcript:

We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home - Earth - is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises. Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan.

As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels. As long as we continue to send hundreds of billions of dollars for foreign oil – year after year - to the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world, our national security will continue to be at risk.

As long as we continue to allow our economy to remain shackled to the OPEC rollercoaster of rising and falling oil prices, our jobs and our way of life will remain at risk.

Moreover, as the demand for oil worldwide grows rapidly over the longer term, even as the rate of new discoveries is falling, it is increasingly obvious that the roller coaster is headed for a crash. And we’re in the front car.

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Al Gore's blog)

* Web 2.0 Summit Videos: Lessig, Kelly, Al Gore, many more
* Al Gore: The Climate for Change
* Al Gore's impressively messy office


  1. Why was Gore never made energy secretary or something? Was he asked and refused? Is he too controversial?

    I think it would have made a great statement that the Obama administration was serious about global warming.

  2. Well, there have been people talking about how the environment should come second, or third or fourth, to more “immediate” problems. Somehow the oil connection to most of the US’ problems of late has passed many people by.

  3. @ samsam (#2): I imagine that Gore’s financial interests, raised as an issue in one of the Heresies earlier today, might have made him ineligible, or in some way unappointable.

  4. Wow, you guys are coordinating your eco-posts now!

    I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Charles Platt…

    Not that sorry, though.

  5. @Baldhead

    I’m not sure who originally said this, but I think it expresses it nicely – “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.”

  6. My wife is studying climate change and has been for the last two years. Guess where the funding is? Not here. We moved to Canada for her masters and now we’re moving to Australia for her PhD.

    There is some funding here but it is strictly for the science end “what is it?” – any research that might an answer the question “wtf should we do??” is taboo in the US. I hope that changes.

    If (when) Greenland melts, which has an average ice thickness of 1 mile, the sea level will rise by 7 to 10m (21 to 30 feet)! This is a very real possibility and there are many more critical ice packs out there, such as the Himalayas which water 40% of the worlds population. …

  7. Why was Gore never made energy secretary or something?

    We did elect him President.

    he has said he wasn’t going to accept a position in the administration. He said he can do more from outside. I think he also has a considerable personal income at this point.

  8. Aw poor Charles Platt.

    Now he knows what it’s like for the measly 20 million of us living through this intolerable and unprecedented heat – while he happily “denies” global warming from the fat comfort of his Chinese made easy chair.

    45.6 for Adelaide is Astonishing. Even for Australia.

    Explain that, Mr Platt.

  9. NJP @9:

    They didn’t have to give Platt a soapbox at all. I would think the fact that his posts are there at all is a testament to the BB editors welcoming multiple points of view. The fact that they presented a rebuttal instead of unpublishishing sort of proves you wrong, doesn’t it?

  10. I found Richard Harris’ commentary on NPR this morning to be interesting:

    He says to de-emphasize the regulations, time lines, subsidies, etc. and just put together a set of pragmatic government programs that help people quicky understand and adopt the policies practices we need. He uses the example of government investment in national agriculture as an example, specifically extension services… though agricultural colleges, nation-wide soil surveys and other studies, etc. come to mind– to a large extent those are the kinds of things we’re already doing to some extent in trying to gather data and understand the planet’s climate systems, but we also need a way to tranlate that info into practices and policies that we (citizens, energy companies, transportation companies, various government agencies, local and state governments, etc.) can use.

  11. NJP, you are tedious. Have you anything original to say, or will it all be tired Bush shibboleths?

  12. NJP

    Please don’t be so dickish. Either you enjoy the blog or you don’t. Why would you be here if the snide in your tone was accurate?

    Oh.. wait, I just checked all your posts, you just copy/pasted the same comment into 5 different threads.

    You may need to read the Moderation Policy, but that alone is grounds for moderation.

    It’s like you are trying to bait the mods into banning you.. funny.

  13. @#2 Samsam

    Gore has been both romanticized and caricatured, both by himself and others, to the point that nobody actually listens to a thing he says with an open mind.

    People either hang off his every word, accepting it as prophetic gospel truth, or they consider him to be a self-righteous lecturing hypocrite and instantly dismiss anything he says.

    I, for one, am and have always been a big environmentalist, and I can’t stand the man. I think that, while his climate change prophecies are largely on track, he has done a lot to discredit environmentalists and needlessly polarize the issues. I couldn’t even sit through his whole film, because it was about “oh, poor Al Gore, nobody listens to him. Now watch him give a long, extremely boring lecture. Woe is Al Gore!” and not about “Climate change is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Here are real numbers on the main causes and here are things we can do to mitigate them.”

    Lots of the climate change dialogue ends up centered on Al Gore, and on buying low-emission vehicles and carbon credits because they make us feel good, and not because we’ve determined that they’re the most effective solution. I don’t know the numbers, but I suspect that rampant deforestation has a lot more to do with climate change than the mileage of my car.

    Which doesn’t mean that I’m going to drive a high-mileage car. I try to live efficiently. I drive a hybrid civic, I don’t buy bottled water (a tap filter works just as well), etc. I think that a focus on living efficiently and reducing waste can do a lot more benefit across the board.

    Instead, we have Al Gore preaching that climate change is the doom for us all. And it may very well be. However, if it ends up to not be the doom for us all, many people may see it as carte blanche to be wasteful bastards. Some people seem to do it now anyways, just to spite Al Gore because they see him as a self-righteous turd.

    I guess that my problem is that when I see Al Gore talking, I interpret it as “There’s Al Gore talking about how great he is by way of climate change,” not “There’s an expert on climate change suggesting prudent courses of action.”

  14. All we have to do is char our agricultural output every year and bury it. Sounds simple enough.

    Any why does Gore imply our economic recession has anything much to do with oil prices? (which are low *because* of a recession)

  15. NJP, as I said said (not to you) in another thread (when someone made your point better).

    Orthoodxy did not used to be peer reviewed.

    Now it is.

  16. @14: Well put. I just wish (more) of the folks making the most noise about Global Warming would make that much noise for atomic power plants. The more, the merrier.

  17. Arkizzle 13: I see no reason why that shouldn’t work, do you? I think a permanent ban is in order, but we’ll see what Miss Teresa thinks.

  18. #9 you’re right about the intolerance of dissent on BB comments, but I’ve noticed something…

    Has anyone else noticed that moderation policy on this blog has mysteriously and suddenly thawed in the last few days?

    It’s brilliant. I’ve seen more impressive and intelligent discussion here lately than I have on this site in years. I suspect a change in moderation policy, which I welcome and applaud.

    But nonetheless, #9, I think your position can be solved quite simply : post some science of your own, some peer-reviewed science that doesn’t involve your misplaced hatred for Al Gore (who, let’s face it, was really a Johnny-Come-Lately to the Climate Change debate, but remains a frequent focal point of deniers like yourself)

  19. Gore certainly deserves a job in the Administration. But maybe he didn’t pay all his taxes LIKE THE REST OF US IDIOTS.

  20. (Sorry, it was Dan Sarewitz, from Arizona State University, who had the “ag extension” idea, not Richard Harris, the NPR reporter.)

  21. Also in this economic crisis, let us not forget MANBEARPIG.

    Honestly, why ol’ Al Gore was not given a cabinet position is that he is severely damaged goods, no thanks to Southpark. Some environmentalists question his authenticity and on the other side of the board they think he’s a bit of a kook. It isn’t a question of being “too controversial” for a post in the administration. Rather, (and no offense meant) it is a question of being “too laughable” in the eyes of many.

  22. The recent flurry of posts about AGW, and especially those (mostly idotic) from the Denial camp, remind me of my rule on discussing AGW among the general populace: Before one offers your (mostly uninformed) opinion on the topic, I require a cogent explanation of the scientific mechanisms of global warming from said potential discussee.

    The low batting average has spared me from the blatherings of many a moron.

  23. #19 Palilay –

    Has anyone else noticed that moderation policy on this blog has mysteriously and suddenly thawed in the last few days?

    It’s brilliant. I’ve seen more impressive and intelligent discussion here lately than I have on this site in years. I suspect a change in moderation policy, which I welcome and applaud.

    YES! I just posted in the other thread about global warming how the moderators are a trigger happy bunch when they sense that Cory is in danger.

    And yet, immediately after posting, I realized not a single post in that thread had been disemvoweled. This is a sea change and one that I hope the moderators notice: the world does not fall apart when you allow people to speak freely. In fact, it’s better off for it.

    Hell, I might start publicly disagreeing with Cory now!

    Cory: I do not share your enthusiasm for Disneyland or Steampunk!

  24. I believe it was Cory who said something (on some article to the Guardian) like “Ideas should be combated with more ideas, not censorship”. I think it is awesome that BB are keeping Platt’s posts, while posting more and more stuff about climate change.

  25. #25: Probably because must of the sockpuppet masters and people inclined to use the word “c*nt” as offense where convinced by the “trigger happy” moderators that its futile to keep posting here, so there are less work for them. I think we should thank the moderators for the increased quality of the comments.

  26. Wow, this recent output by BB is interesting. Is BoingBoing influential enough to substantially change the debate? I wonder.

  27. BRING THE FILTHY BLASPHEMER CHICKENANDTHERICE BEFORE US! oooooo0h! you’ve gone too far, yer gonna BURN now! Last chance: RECANT! You Love Steampunk! Say it! Say it you filthy, filthy sinner!

  28. Al Gore is “damaged goods” because the toxic spin machine wanted it that way. He’s vulnerable because he doesn’t follow the Subgenius creed:

    “Act like a dumbfuck and they’ll treat your like an equal.”

    Contrast this with Rush Limbaugh. He’s done shit that would land most people in jail for years, says stuff that a simple fact check could scuttle, but his reptile brain’d followers will treat his every pronouncement as undeniable fact.

    Truthiness is going to kill us one of these days.

  29. I voted Nader in ’96, seeing no choice among the DemoGops; but I read Gore’s book before the 2000 and realized he was a LOT smarter than me and much better informed in certain areas than Nader, not to mention that ignorant little snot he was running against.

    When Gore talks, I listen. I’ve learned he DOES do his homework. Think of the good he and Bill Clinton could do, roaming the globe together, ambassadors of a new-found American sanity. The thought almost inspires hope.

  30. I voted Nader in ’96, seeing no choice among the DemoGops; but I read Gore’s book before the 2000 and realized he was a LOT smarter than me and much better informed in certain areas than Nader, not to mention that ignorant little snot he was running against.

    I think he lost the 2000 election in part because he went out of his way to hide that side of himself to avoid appearing “elitist.” Eight long years of hindsight have shown what a terrible choice the voters made in 2000, but at the time it was hard to tell candidates Bush and Gore apart.

    Maybe we’re all better off with Gore taking a non-governmental role considering how badly he was hampered by political considerations.

  31. Yes, it was hard to tell them apart on the campaign slog; but, as I say, I read his book and knew better. I’m aware that the average American mook would rather vote for a guy they could have a beer with. Maybe that’s shifted enough, fewer mooks, maybe not, but I don’t want to vote for a president who would have a beer with me.

  32. As someone who has dragged their sorry arse through the 45C days in Australia(#1 Takuan, #9 Palilay) I can say we’re all screwed.

    If not screwed, than very uncomfortable.

    The fact that we have a simultaneous outbreak of Dengi fever in the north (Queensland) for the first time ever should really say something about how radically the climate has changed over the past 5 years.

  33. I wish he would shut up already about his “Gore-bull” warming theories… I’ll stick with Platt and the 30,000 scientists. Its not an environmental problem its a greed and money problem!

  34. Palindromic: Are you only getting “it’s hot in Australia” from the linked articles, ’cause you should re-read them. Maybe find out what temps are normal for us down here.

    These temperatures are totally unprecedented. As in – not experienced in the last 70+ years, which is when the record keeping began.

    In Jan to mid Feb we expect to get temps of UP TO 40C, and that used to be considered excessively hot. 35 – 37 was our “really hot” days for summer.

    Late Feb to March we expect a few days of 40 – 41C before dropping into a cooler autumn.

    Nearly two weeks of plus 40C dry, Simpson-desert-heat doesn’t bode well. Western Australia is experiencing concurrent cyclones and North Eastern Australia (Queensland) is flooded in. These three climate phenomenon may not be because of climate change / global warming, but I’m willing to bet there’s some correlation in there, somewhere.

  35. #14:
    But only people complaining about Gore’s celebrity can add to the environmental peril by completely removing oxygen from the atmosphere around them!

    That is quite some whirlwind of neurosis twisting around in that head of yours.

    Thankfully, BoingBoing Airlines is equipped with oxygen masks for those times when we experience dizzyness at ranting altitude.

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