Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
These statements are part of the public record so I am comfortable that I do not harm any copyrights by reproducing them in entirety here. Please note that these are the prepared statements of former Vice President Al Gore.
If you don’t want to read such serious stuff, I suggest you read “Canceled Due to Global Warming” and have a good chuckle.
Tags: Al Gore, Antarctica, arctic, Brazil, carbon dioxide, China, CO2, coal, consensus, economy, electric, emissions, EPA, Iraq, jobs, Kyoto, national security, oil, oil price, ozone, pollutant, pollution, scientists, Senate
Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee As Prepared Hon. Al Gore Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We are here today to talk about how we as Americans and how the
United States of America as part of the global community should address
the dangerous and growing threat of the climate crisis.
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
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 roller- coaster 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.
Most importantly, as long as we continue to depend on dirty fossil
fuels like coal and oil to meet our energy needs, and dump 70 million
tons of global warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere
surrounding our planet, we move closer and closer to several dangerous
tipping points which scientists have repeatedly warned – again just
yesterday – will threaten to make it impossible for us to avoid
irretrievable destruction of the conditions that make human
civilization possible on this planet.
We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to
burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to
For years our efforts to address the growing climate crisis have
been undermined by the idea that we must choose between our planet and
our way of life; between our moral duty and our economic well being.
These are false choices. In fact, the solutions to the climate crisis
are the very same solutions that will address our economic and national
security crises as well.
In order to repower our economy, restore American economic and moral
leadership in the world and regain control of our destiny, we must take
bold action now.
The first step is already before us. I urge this Congress to quickly
pass the entirety of President Obama’s Recovery package. The plan’s
unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas – energy
efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to
clean cars – represent an important down payment and are long overdue.
These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten
our economic recovery – while strengthening our national security and
beginning to solve the climate crisis.
Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay
the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on
carbon. If Congress acts right away to pass President Obama’s Recovery
package and then takes decisive action this year to institute a
cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions – as many of our states and many
other countries have already done – the United States will regain its
credibility and enter the Copenhagen treaty talks with a renewed
authority to lead the world in shaping a fair and
effective treaty. And this treaty must be negotiated this year.
Not next year. This year.
A fair, effective and balanced treaty will put in place the global
architecture that will place the world – at long last and in the nick
of time – on a path toward solving the climate crisis and securing the
future of human civilization.
I am hopeful that this can be achieved. Let me outline for you the basis for the hope and optimism that I feel.
The Obama Administration has already signaled a strong willingness to regain U.S.
leadership on the global stage in the treaty talks, reversing years of
inaction. This is critical to success in Copenhagen and is clearly a
top priority of the administration.
Developing countries that were once reluctant to join in the first
phases of a global response to the climate crisis have themselves now
become leaders in demanding action and in taking bold steps on their
own initiatives. Brazil has proposed an impressive new plan to halt the
destructive deforestation in that nation. Indonesia has emerged as a
new constructive force in the talks. And China’s leaders have gained a
strong understanding of the need for action and have already begun
important new initiatives.
Heads of state from around the world have begun to personally engage
on this issue and forward-thinking corporate leaders have made this a
More and more Americans are paying attention to the new evidence and
fresh warnings from scientists. There is a much broader consensus on
the need for action than there was when President George H.W. Bush negotiated – and the Senate ratified
– the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 and much stronger
support for action than when we completed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
The elements that I believe are key to a successful agreement in Copenhagen include:
• Strong targets and timetables from industrialized countries and
differentiated but binding commitments from developing countries that
put the entire world under a system with one commitment: to reduce
emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants that
cause the climate crisis;
• The inclusion of deforestation, which alone accounts for twenty percent of the emissions that cause global warming;
• The addition of sinks including those from soils, principally from
farmlands and grazing lands with appropriate methodologies and
accounting. Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and around the world need
to know that they can be part of the solution;
• The assurance that developing countries will have access to
mechanisms and resources that will help them adapt to the worst impacts
of the climate crisis and technologies to solve the problem; and,
• A strong compliance and verification regime.
The road to Copenhagen is not easy, but we have traversed this
ground before. We have negotiated the Montreal Protocol, a treaty to
protect the ozone layer, and strengthened it to the point where we have
banned most of the major substances that create the ozone hole over
Antarctica. And we did it with bipartisan support. President Ronald
Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill joined hands to lead the
Let me now briefly discuss in more detail why we must do all of this
within the next year, and with your permission Mr. Chairman, I would
like to show a few new pictures that illustrate the unprecedented need
for bold and speedy action this year.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I am eager to respond to any questions that you and the members of the committee have.