January 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
3 months ago

Gore to lobby lawmakers on climate change

 Al Gore speaks before a U.N. convention on climate change last December in Poznan, Poland.
Al Gore speaks before a U.N. convention on climate change last December in Poznan, Poland.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Suggesting the planet will soon reach an irreversible "tipping point" of damage to the climate, former Vice President Al Gore plans to tell members of Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. needs to join international talks on a treaty.

"This treaty must be negotiated this year," he plans to say, according to a copy of remarks prepared for testimony.

Gore is scheduled to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He plans to link the nation's energy situation with the need to develop fuels that are not based on petroleum.

"We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet," Gore plans to say. "Every bit of that's got to change."

Read Gore's full prepared remarks after the jump

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 human beings.

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 change.

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 top priority.

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

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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 way.

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.


Filed under: Al Gore
soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. TCMs sister

    The Earth is flat,6000 yrs. old, and Rush Limbaugh is god on our planet.He must be right ,he has a golden microphone.

    January 28, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Dernon Ruton

    Al Gore is right. The planet is in terrible danger! The earth is covered with a thick crust of impenetrable gullibility, topped with a coating of perilous complacence. And to the blinding, blizzard, swirling fall of heavy flakes of idiocy, there is no end in sight.

    January 28, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. Kevin

    "Our home – Earth – is in grave danger."

    Yes, Earth is in grave danger, but only because of hypocrites like Al Gore who cash in on misinformation, marketing nothing but lies to general public.

    January 28, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. blah blah blah

    Suck it Gore. Suck it long and suck it hard

    January 28, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Jeronimo Dan

    Hey, this is a guy that lives in a home that use's more power in one month than 267 average homes in one year!
    Al, was a loon as a senator, a goofball as a v.p. and now is a full blown idiot as a pvt. sore loser.

    January 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. jeff

    Our Earth is in danger...From people like GORE and all the new TAXES that will bankrupt citizens!!!

    FOCUS on REAL environmental issues AL...Not FAKE ones like Co2....We have so MANY poisons in our food, water, and air supplies, and all these idiots can do is worry about greenhouse gases that are GOOD for plant life...UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Andy J, Upstate NY

    @ Digital Texan

    RIGHT ON.

    Did anybody catch the little snippet in the "stimulus" where they need millions of dollars to get new machines that create the models for "global warming".

    Well, if the current machines don't do a good enough job, how can we trust their findings?

    If the current machines are working fine and the models are good, why do we need all these millions of dollars for new machines?

    SCAM.

    I don't doubt the reality of climate change. I guess all you smart, smart people fail to remember that about 10,000 years ago the earth was in an ICE AGE.

    I suppose the warming that occurred was the result of human activity.

    point made.

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Christa

    All or most of the scientists that say there is a climate crisis are the ones that receive federal grant money IF they continue to promote the hoax; the other reputable scientists, who don't need handouts, know it is not a crisis. So, who are you going to believe. BTW, when is Gore going to put his actions where his mouth is and adopt a more Amish lifestyle?

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Mike D.

    Gore needs to fly his private jet to Nashville, get into his gas guzzling sports car and drive to his 10,000 sqft. mansion before he freezes his butt off in Washington talking about "Global Warming".
    What a charlatan! He's a snake oil salesman selling the narcissistic liberals their prescribed dose of "Mankind is Killing Mother Earth" tonic. Pathetic!
    Wise up people before these morons ruin our economy and endanger our national security.
    Al Gore should be laughed at and shunned!

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Nick - Arlington, VA

    Jason Bremerton, Wa January 28th, 2009 10:19 am ET

    I'm sorry but this is a joke. Across the country we are experiencing record cold. In Washington state we've have to of the coolest "norms" for summer and winter the last 2 – 3 years. The average temperature in the US dropped 1.5 degrees over the last year as well. There might be climate change but it's a change towards cooling.
    ------------------------------
    This is the common argument against Global Warming. How could global warming be happening when the last few years have been so average, and this winter is so cold. But this is looking at the trees before the forest. The big pictures, when you take data points from around the globe for the Earth's temperature over the past millennia, is that the Earth is warming. The overall trend is a warming trend that is inconsistent with natural warming.

    These years may seem average, or even colder then average, but they are, when you take such a huge sample of data, in fact statistically expected anomalies. If it continues like this for 50 years, then maybe Global Warming is a myth, but scientists are telling us that it is not. Science, through the scientific method, is showing that this warming period is fueled by us, and can lead to an imbalance in the Globe's weather, which, if left unchecked, could create an every increasing, and even more impossible to stop, global catastrophe.

    We might not notice how bad it is because we live in America and personally don't need to fish, hunt or farm, but take a look at those countries on the margins. They are failing. Water isn't reaching them. Herds of animals are dying out. Sea life is thinning or not migrating. Global Warming isn't just appearing in intangible temperature data. It is also appearing in real life situations and having real world consequences. We need to get serious and do something now or else our ancestors will certainly be paying the price for our know-nothing attitude.

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Allen

    I wonder, for how long after the world was proven to be round were the Al Gores of that generation running around saying it's flat?

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. mpn

    Taxing Carbon is decidedly Un American.

    The most memorable time a government went out of its way to tax something our nation was born.

    January 28, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. david m

    yes we have a president that believes in global warming, he also believes that we can be friends with Iran, he also believes that the U.S.A. is responsible for most of the worlds ills, get real this guy and Gore are complete fools who will say anything to get a little publicity from the main media

    January 28, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. joe

    I really liked An Inconvenient Truth. But then again, I've always been a big fan of science fiction.

    January 28, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. a canuck

    It's hard to believe in global warming ...this winter !!!!

    January 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Tony

    Deb wrote,
    "It amazes me how many people still have their heads in the sand about this issue! Thank God we have a democrat in the White House who actually has a brain! Global warming is a FACT, people! WAKE UP!"

    Uh, sweetie, we *are* awake. You, however, have been sold a bill of goods by people of dubious motives who want to use and abuse your sincere (but misguided) energies. Don't be deluded, this is nothing more than a power grab.

    January 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Rick in WA

    "now that we have a President who believes that global warming is actually happening" – - not something to be particularly proud of.

    January 28, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. James

    If we had listened to Gore a long time ago we would be a lot better off. But the Republican Science Deniers would have none of that, so they turned a scientific issue into a political issue. NOW, finally after we lost so much time, everyone agrees we need to move to clean, US-made energy ASAP.

    January 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Just the facts, please

    Not him or this topic again, please! I thought we all realized this is nonsense?

    January 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. Dean

    Could Al Gore please come to my house and explain why my heating bills are so terribly high this winter when this global warming thing is about to destroy us all.

    January 28, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Tim_CA

    This d*uche has hijacked the environmental movement in this nation. He has effectively injected a fairy-tale into a noble undertaking (making himself insanely rich in the process) – and while the gullible and the liberal lemmings are currently gobbling it up – the backlash in about 3 or 4 years will set the movement back decades.

    Given the current reduction in solar activity, we're in for a long, long cold spell – when the morons finally realize they've been had by a snake-oil salesman with a fleet of private jets and limosines, the poop is going to hit the fan.

    Signed – An Informed Independent

    January 28, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. bob

    Democrats: Saving one planet at a time through large government and increased bureaucracy .

    January 28, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Janey

    Tell this hypocrite to get off his soapbox–no sane person believes this guy.

    January 28, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Howard

    Do you believe this malarkey is coming from the bozo that invented the internet? I do.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Mohsen Emami

    I have always trusted Al Gore's judgement towards the environment and will always do so. He has dedicated himself entirely to act and speak out against our mismanagement of the environment and the perils that we are facing in our ecosystem. He speaks out about the dangers that the World is currently facing using facil fuel and how it is effecting our climate. Contrary to some stupid and ignorant people's comments about him and his motive towards our environment, Al Gore is genuinly concerned and is dedicated to save our planet by speaking out against fossil fuel emissions in the air and global warming. I rest my case.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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