Is Al Gore adding a lot of hot air to the global warming debate? Trends magazine asks the former vice president whether the political will exists for true action on the environment.
January 24, 2010 4:50 by Christian Malar
You received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Have events of the past two years assuaged your concerns?
There is cause for concern, but there are also reasons for optimism.
Public awareness about the climate crisis has grown around the world and there is a growing determination on the part of people all around the world to put pressure on political leaders to make the changes necessary to solve the climate change crisis.
I choose to be optimistic because of all the hopeful signs, but, of course the crisis continues to get worse at an accelerating rate.
In your book An Inconvenient Truth you keep mentioning that it’s all about political will. Do you think this political will exists with heads of state or is it hot air?
I don’t think it’s completely hot air. There have been meaningful changes both in China and in the United States. The changes have not yet gone nearly as far as they should, but in the U.S., for example, meaningful legislation has passed one house of Congress and has made progress in the Senate. It has just not gone nearly far enough.
While you were vice president you set up an operational observatory center in Barrow, Alaska, to monitor what then we could perceive as coming changes. What have you done since?
When I say that I choose to be optimistic, I’m really saying that I see signs of hope that the political systems around the world are getting closer to a tipping point beyond which they will make the changes that are necessary. But, of course the crisis is growing worse on a daily basis. Every single day, we put 90 million additional tons of global warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet.
Does the movie ‘2012’ show results of climate change or is it fiction?
Fictional entertainment is not a good guide for policy. But when mass audiences are entertained by these mass apocalyptic visions, perhaps it is a sign of some sense of disquiet. The real problem that we have to focus on is a problem that does threaten the future of civilization, not in a single moment as Hollywood would use to entertain us on a fictional basis, but on a real basis, as the Earth temperatures continue to warm from the accumulation of this global warming pollution.