At today’s Clinton Global Initiative, Al Gore said for the first time in public that we are at a point in our world’s history, and in need of such immediate action, that if you are a young person it’s time for civil disobedience.
In particular to bring coal plants to a halt.
On a panel with Queen Rania of Jordan, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Neville Isdell (the CEO of Coca Cola), and Bono – moderated by President Clinton himself – Gore was fiery in his calls for action and investment in new clean energy technologies. He was even more fiery in his strong denouncements of nonexistent clean coal (“There is no such thing!”), and a congress that is today voting on an energy bill that lifts the moratorium on mining coal shale, calling it – with dramatic pause – “IN-SANITY.”
In fact, Gore used the word “insane” or “insanity” at least 3 times (we’ll check the records to see if there more) in his descriptions of various political and business decisions made (or not made) with regard to climate.
Here are my minute by minute notes from the Opening Plenary. The times reflected are from my laptop clock – initially synced with event organizers – but are not official record:
11:24 Clinton asks Gore to tell everyone what investors/politicians should do in regard to energy/climate, and how to overcome political and financial difficulties.
11:25 Gore acknowledges all in the room and offers what appears to be very sincere thanks to Clinton for hosting the Clinton Global Iniitiatve.
11:26 Gore: “Current economic crisis was triggered by the sudden collapse of an assumption. The assumption was that if you lumped housing loans together (even bad ones), you could eliminate the risk. That assumption went splat this week.”
NOW is the time to prevent a much worse catastrophe based on an even bigger assumption.
“Since we met here last year (at CGI) we are losing badly in the fight against global warming”
11:28 References all the natural disasters – from hurricanes to fires in the US and Carribbean this year.
For every 1 degree in temperature increase there will be a 10x increase in lightning strikes.
Warming means less or no more frost in certain areas, which means more bugs/pests running rampant that we can’t control; throwing off our ecosystem. (haven’t heard him use this point before.
“This is all the result of an insane approach to climate”
“We as a species have to make A decision.”
“The economic crisis can truly provide an opportunity to make the right decisions.”
“We should stop burning coal!”
Compares clean coal to what happened on Wall Street. Clean coal is an illusion. Do not invest in it.
“Coal industries spending millions to sell an illusion (like Wall St.) of clean coal.”
11:30 “CLEAN COAL DOES NOT EXIST.”
“The only demo was discontinued. How many plants are there? Zero. How many blueprints: ZERO.”
“We should make a one-off investment into a new global energy infrastructure that is based on energy which is free forever. The sun. Wind…”
“Wind is competitive today. Geothermal is competitive today.”
We need a new super grid to take energy from where wind blows and the sun shines to where people live.
Darfur has more reliable sunshine than just about anywhere else. We can invest in these places and bring that energy to where population centers are.
Create jobs in building this grid, wind turbines,solar panels. Ref: Green Jobs Day of Action this Saturday 27Sep
As MLK Jr said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
“Well, increased CO2 anywhere is a threat to civilization everywhere.”
“TODAY the US Congress is voting on a bill without ANY debate an energy policy that lifts moratorium on coal shale. This is utter insanity.”
Re: Clinton Global “Every year we have a discussion here, and there is progress made. But it’s not enough. It’s not enough.”
11:37 Clinton: One very specific question. “Just completed an interesting tour of our country’.” Lots of places that the wind is blowing (ref small TX town where wind at 56 mph), but there’s no grid to take the energy anywhere.
Question: What’s the quickest way to maximize solar and wind energy (and geothermal) production for the US.
Gore: Currently there is $120bn lost annually because of failures of current grid. Needs to be replaced anyway.
Crazy enough, “can also use that SAME GRID to develop a next generation broadband network.” Everyone wins.
New super grid “should be #1 infrastructure project of this decade – whoever is elected president.”
Clinton: 2 year wait to build new wind in New York for one investor (can’t hear name).
We need to change policy and incentives now to get these things going.
Gore: Stock traders that inform investors that global warming doesn’t prevent a threat are guilty of a form of stock fraud.
This is a crisis that is happening NOW. Scientists around the world are practically screaming from the rooftops to stop it.
“If you’re a young person, I believe we’ve reached a point of civil disobedience” …to do things like take down coal plants.
Clinton to Queen Rania: Can we get Middle Eastern oil countries to become models of clean energy usage?
There are 53 Developing countries, and they import on average 70% of their energy. ALL of them could theoretically be 100% self-reliant.