January 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
8 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. Mike

    "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."

    – Huh, I thought we got most of our oil from Canada. Funny most people don't know that.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. John S. Cleveland , Ohio

    I just shoveled 10 inches of 'Global Warming' from my driveway!

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. FF

    Throughout history, we've seen both warmer and cooler periods than the present and this trend will continue, with our without any government led "climate change" initiatives. It's interesting to note that mankind's greatest periods of properity have occurred during the warmest periods - the Egyptian civilization, early Greek and Roman cultures, and the Renaissance all happened in warmer climates than now - and that mankind's greatest devastations and plagues happened during the colder periods. Maybe we should be welcoming global warming instead of condemning it! Truth be told, we should be more concerned with global cooling, the more likely scenario right now.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Jick

    Dear Al
    Please take your climate fantasy for a ride some where else , its called world over population you dope.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. zeke

    Let the politicians do the politicing, and let the scientist do the research. Al Gore is not a scientist. He is someone who has a lot of money invested in alternative energy who will make even more of a killing if we all clamor towards the energy sources he recommends because he says its the only way to save the planet. He wants us to adjust our lifestyle to revolve around his energy investments. Lets get our facts from the right sources (actual scientist) and not some rich, popular Washington pretty boy who thinks he can convince us we are iminantly doomed unless we do as we are told by him. Don't get me wrong that I am trying to state that global warming is a fact or fiction but I do know that I am NOT looking to him for as a source of unbiased information.

    January 28, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Skippy

    $150,000,000 isn't that how much he has made off of this scheme? 10,000 sf home that uses 10% more energy since he made it "green". And has a 100 sf house boat as well, travels the world in private jets and the science on global warming has been debunked. Global warming dummies.

    January 28, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Danny in Chicago

    Are you kidding me? People on here really do believe that climate change is NOT happening? You people need to get an education.

    January 28, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. DSB38

    Gore effectively peddles his snake oil because there are so many scientifically illiterate lemmings. Global warming has been occurring for thousands of years. It takes real arrogance to believe man is so great and wonderful that the 4-5% of CO2 he puts in the atmosphere is going to end the planet's existence.

    Anthropogenic global warming is a fraud. Even Al Gore doesn't believe in it apparently, since he's been spotted numerous times sporting private jets and numerous idling SUVs. Charlatan.

    January 28, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. AndyL

    Al Gore, your new age replacement to the oil lobbyist.

    January 28, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Fangoski Upstate NY

    Note to Al.
    Temps have been below normal for 50 of the last 60 days and so far this winter I have shoveled over 10 feet of global warming.

    January 28, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Roger Fishwife

    Facts, people, facts. AGore is spewing opinion, and completely unfounded speculation. We need to combat his hysteria with the FACTS:

    The United States of America currently has the cleanest air and water it has had in decades. We have done an admirable job of reducing or eliminating genuine pollutants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and, with all due respect, only a drooling, twitching moron would believe that it is, in light of all available facts.

    The most basic facts that put lie to the Global Warming myth are:

    Water vapor is responsible for 95% of the greenhouse effect.
    Of the remaining 5%, CO2 is 3.6%
    Of that 3.6%, man’s contribution is only 3.2%, or 0.12% of the total.
    Man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 is only 0.12% of the greenhouse effect.
    Additionally, adding CO2 to the air provides rapidly diminishing returns. While CO2 warming is pronounced at low concentrations, the higher the concentration gets, the less and less effective CO2 is as a greenhouse gas. The relationship is non-linear.
    Human activity has grown exponentially over the past century, yet the consensus model of global warming is approximately linear-going backward as well as forward. This is completely nonsensical.

    January 28, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Will

    Al Gore and made made "Climate Change" is a LIE, a HOAX pushed by liberals and RED CHINA to destroy America and the free world.

    January 28, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Will

    Al Gore and man made "Climate Change" is a LIE, a HOAX pushed by liberals and RED CHINA to destroy America and the free world.

    January 28, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Anonymous

    why is he still using a private jet to get to these hearings if the situation is so grave?????

    January 28, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Steve (the real one)

    Global warning is a theory in which many highly trained scientists disagree. The only fact is Gore's wallet is growing!

    January 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  16. Jean

    Mr. Gore has made over 300 million dollars on Global Warming.

    Notice how they are now changing the wording to climate crisis.

    We don't have to spend billions of dollars on foreign oil, Alaska has all the oil and natural gas we need you dumb as#$#.

    Bring it to the market!

    January 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Global warming is the result of corporate greed--and as Donald Trump once quoted, "One can never be too greedy." I feel that the climate is going to get "hotter."

    January 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Bill

    I also just spent an hour scraping and shoveling a bunch of Global Warming off my driveway so my wife could get the van out.

    IF the planet is warming so much Mr. Gore, where on Earth is all this cold coming from?

    Man-made Global Warming is the Scam of the 21st century.
    Algore is the Con man.
    Don't be his sucker. He's rich enough.

    January 28, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Danny

    According to NASA, the hottest years were in the 1930s.

    According to NASA, the planet of MARS is also warming and seeing a reduction of icecaps.

    I thought Obama said last week that he was going to replace Fear with Science. But yet, Gore is not a scientist, and all Gore does is spread fear.

    Does Obama ever tell the truth ??

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Mark J

    Al Gore would be a lot more convincing if he and the VC firm of which he is a partner did not stand to make 100s of millions of dollars if the changes he proposes actually happen. Talk about a vested interest.

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Andrew from Illinois

    I can't believe what I'm hearing here!!! Global Warming has been proven true and Al Gore has been talking about the need to do something about it for over a decade. He has more credibility then Bush ever will and you should give the man some respect.

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Ryan Q

    Al must be joking, global warming is a hoax, cap and trade is a con.

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Jeff

    "I don't care if people think this guy is chicken little. Alarmist. If you don't see the changes outside your window, you are blind."
    LOL, I can clearly see the changes out my window and it's SNOW getting deeper all the time. I can also read/see on TV that I'm not alone. It's getting colder all across the US and Europe and soon believers in the religion of Global Warming will be forced to abandon this silliness and begin looking for yet another impending disaster they can save us from, with our money of course.

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. CD

    Mike January 28th, 2009 10:50 am ET

    "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."

    – Huh, I thought we got most of our oil from Canada. Funny most people don't know that.

    – And we borrow money from China to fund welfare and other nonsense that pays people for irresponsible behavior . . . not to buy oil

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. Bob

    deb January 28th, 2009 10:28 am ET
    . . . Global warming is a FACT, people! WAKE UP!
    -------------
    OK, deb - give us the FACTS or SHUT UP!

    January 28, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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