I 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.
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