Cap And Trade

Published on May 3rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Al Gore’s Excellent Communication Skills

May 3rd, 2014 by  

al gore thinkingI just read a wonderful article about and interview with Al Gore on POLITICO. Worth your time, I believe. Al Gore is such an excellent communicator. One of the best out there on the topic of global climate change.

If you aren’t drawn to read the full POLITICO article, here are some key excerpts that I thought would appeal to our CleanTechnica crowd:

Al Gore: [O]nce we reach the political tipping point and there’s a shared resolve to do something about [global climate change], and we will reach it, then yes we can make an enormous difference and we can start the recovery.

Politico Magazine: Define the political tipping point. Is that a moment in American politics?

AG: Every issue is paralyzed now because our democracy has been hacked and we’re suffering from what some have called demosclerosis. Big money is now at toxic levels. I don’t have to tell somebody from POLITICO that. And that’s too bad, but even in the U.S. it will come. There are encouraging signs that China is turning the corner now. All over the world there’s a growing chorus of people demanding action.

There are really two game changers that people have been underestimating for the last couple of years. And each of these game changers addresses respectively one of the two big questions that have to be answered. When you look at the climate crisis and the response of human civilization to it, there are really two questions. One is: “Do we have to make this change? We get 85 percent of our energy from carbon fuels. It’s been a long good run. Do we really have to do this?” And the second question is: “Can we do it?”

The game changer for the first question is the extreme weather events related to climate that are now 100 times more common than they were just 30 years ago. This is having a huge impact. And they’re getting more frequent. More common. Bigger. More destructive. And people are looking at their hole cards.

AG: The extreme weather events and the knock-on effects with the stronger ocean-based storms, the bigger downpours, more floods, mudslides, the saturation of that hillside in Snohomish County, for example – these things are way more common now, because the extremes are more extreme and they are more frequent.

This is all over the world. In the Philippines, there were four million homeless refugees and still are. That’s twice as many as the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Philippines has always been hit hard by typhoons, but this is something different and the warmer ocean is connected to it. And all over the world, people are saying, “Whoa, this is getting pretty crazy.”

So the first question increasingly is being answered, “Yes, we do have to solve this.”

Now here’s the second game changer: Can we do it? The cost-down curve for photovoltaic electricity, and to a lesser extent wind electricity, even to a greater extent efficiency technologies and adaptations, is pushing alternative sources of energy below the grid-average price in country after country. There are now, as of [the first quarter of 2014], 79 countries where the price of photovoltaic electricity is equal to or less than the grid average price. Now I don’t care what the carbon polluter lobby says or does, or what the anti-statist right-wing ideological groups do or say; there’s just a very big difference between cheaper than and more expensive than. This is coming on so strongly. … We’re seeing a quiet largely invisible but unstoppable revolution in the shift toward renewable energy.

So these two things together bring me back to your original question about the political tipping point. When enough people agree, “Yeah, we’ve got to have action, and our elected officials have to act” and have the conviction that it’s not hopeless – yes we can do this, let’s get busy and do it. That’s when it’s going to happen. It is already. The tipping point has already been reached in a lot of places.

PM: Sen. John McCain supported cap and trade but backed away from it when President Obama was elected. He had his primary that he was thinking about in 2010.

AG: Hello! The Koch brothers and the others who operate the way they do have worked overtime to put fear in the hearts of Republicans that if they as much as breathe a favorable breath about solving the climate crisis they’re going to get a well-financed primary opponent. And so they’re all running scared. And this is part of the hacking of American democracy. Money. Big money has paralyzed American democracy to a shocking extent. Now it can change. And it will change.

h/t Teslamondo

Image: Al Gore via Jayakumar /

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • mk1313

    The truth of big money is obvious. Unfortunately it is also tenacious so I don’t think things will be quite that simple!

    • mds

      I respectfully disagree. I’m just as cynical when it comes to money defeating ethics, but in this case solar, wind, EVs/EREVs and energy storage are rapidly becoming the better economic option …translation for the rich: the better money making option. This is essentially AGs second point and it is dead on. Big companies are increasingly moving into the clean tech sector and increasing piles of money are being made …to the benefit of everyone. Oil, coal, and nuclear are now mostly losing propositions and this too will increasingly be the case. How long before NG follows?

      When the economics changes enough, history shows that the game changes. The genie is already out of the bottle and it is inevitable now.

      • Gwennedd

        I fail to see that the “big oil and gas” guys can make much money off solar and wind. Really, the only investments are in components and installations. They are not a monthly, ongoing, in perpetuity cash cow the way oil and gas are. Once solar is installed, there is little maintenance and there is only room in the market for so many companies.

        There may be some regular income from micro grids, but it hardly compares to the millions they were making from oil.

  • grs11

    why is my previous comment not being shown?

    • Bob_Wallace

      This site has standards.

      • grs11

        im sorry my comment doesn’t live up to cleantechnica’s standards. i do enjoy this site, alot of good information is disseminated here, but im afraid you all have blinders on when it comes to “your team” abusing power. im not trolling but living under a corrupt government is almost as scary as environmental disaster.

        • mds

          …and it’s different, better, when the fossil fuel companies are doing this?
          Who has the the bigger blinders on?
          Quit spending my tax dollars on the giant sink hole that is our heavily subsidized reliance on fossil fuels. Enough already.

          • grs11

            im not a global warming denier but you are trying to say that the oil industry is heavily subsidized, that isn’t true. the oil industry could make a lot more money if ti weren’t for regulations, export restrictions, and price controls. and back to al gore, how much money should his government cronies loan out to his companies? is all of this capitol being invested in products and services? how much of it went into his bank account? how much illgotten graft by al gore would it take to upset you? 100 million? a billion?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Estimates of oil company subsidies in the US range from $10 to $52 billion dollars per year.


            Price controls on oil? Please tell us what those might be.

            You make some serious charges against Gore. Please back them up or retract thems.

  • grs11

    al gore is worth over two hundred million dollars now after the government invested in 14 companies he invested in. these companies have so far produced nothing of value. people are beginning to question this which is why articles like this are being pushed. he is a criminal. corruption is real, even in america.

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