January 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
7 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. Marc

    DigitalTexan – January 28th, 2009 10:33 am ET
    'Global Warming – Debunked'

    EXCUSE ME? Debunked? By whom? I read a lot of pseudo-science, sheer jealousy ('phony Nobel prize') and ridiculous slanders in this posts but you are the most delusional one.

    EricBrodin – Where did you get this? Which rogue scientist claims that the whole world is wrong but he/she is right and the world is cooling?

    Everybody – Global Warming does not means 'End of Winter' or 'Perpetual Summer'. The seasons will still come and go, but the Weather as a whole will change and for the worst...

    Billie Amerson – If everybody followed your belief we will still be living in caverns...

    January 28, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Jim

    Andreas, If some big oil exec was lobbying congress for increased oil drilling, I bet you would suspect he just wanted more profit, not that he was just tyring to help solve the energy crisis. Just because you are so naive, doesn't mean we all are. Gore has become filty rich by investing in global warming related businesses. He has a vested interest in increased funding to them.

    January 28, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. Mark

    In the end, I envision Al somewhere in an Eastern European village with a large group of villiagers chasing him arround with pitchforks for creating this monster.

    January 28, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. Northmeister

    The climate always changes. During the Middle Ages, there was an extended Warm Period. Afterwards, what is called a 'Mini-Ice Age' emerged cooling the planet. A cooling period has a more drastic affect than warming.

    Anyway – the entire solar system showed a warming trend (all the planets) over the past years. You can not blame that on humans.

    Carbon comes from our breath, it is needed for plant growth, it is not a pollutant and it is not a threat to our planet. What is a threat is Agendas and Indiots, masquerading as Science and Leaders.

    God help us. Where are the smart statesman who at least here in America will realize: Free Trade, Laize-Faire Markets, and Deregulating (ending New Deal safe-guards) caused the Economic mess we are in now (and 1991 and early 80s, and throughout 70s). That to restore millions of jobs we need to end Free Trade, Re-regulate the market for the good of the nation, and not listen to economists who've been wrong over and over again, their political idiots like many of our politicians today, who ignore American and World history regarding economics and how nations are built.

    An American

    January 28, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Bafun

    @Marvin Ensworth

    american education and arrogance at glance.
    If Al Gore has to go by bicycle to educate the american people I don't think he will makes it in this century....

    January 28, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. Kevin S, FL

    Global Warming/Climate Change is real, and happening.
    This is no scam or pollitical purpose.
    What could be gained from what many of you are accusing Al Gore of?
    This is real, there are actual facts, it is NOT a Heat Cycle, not only are there proof of our future, but that WE caused it. To those of you who continue to deny and laugh at it, have fun looking out the windo later on, remember what you said, and remember how many thousands of people warned you, and your replies...
    We need to forget opinion and jokes, and truly focus on facts,
    Global Climate Change is happening,
    But we can do something about it...

    January 28, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Darrell

    One question...how can we join forces and stop all the insanity. We all need to draw a line in the sand. I now know how they felt at the Alamo.

    January 28, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Steve M.

    "We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf..."

    Drill...Baby... Drill... California, Oregon, Alaska, Virginia, the Gulf. Keep the money at home and raise revenue with a $3 a barrel tax for an environmental fund, dedicated towards prevnting and mitigating oil accidents, off the coast and building more freeways.

    January 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. ynot4tony2

    Al Gore...why not debate the issue? Oh, that's right...you're a coward. You're petrified that citizens like me, with a science background and no ties to oil companies, would give you quite the intellectual spanking.

    Gore wants to hurry up and enact his "save the planet" plan before the planet continues to cool and even the dimmest of bulbs realize Gore is full of crap. Gore's goal is the socialization of America...because, like they say, "Green is the new red."

    January 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Peck

    THERE IS NO CLIMATE CRISIS. Anybody who believes that the planet is near a tipping point has been brainwashed and has not investigated the science. The warming in recent years was directly related to sunspot activity. The earth is now in a cooling phase. There is just as much ice in the arctic right now as there was in 1979 – which is when the satellite records began. So when you read the alarmists saying "all time record low" remember that those records have only recorded a blip in geological time. The earth has absolutely been warmer – medieval warm period about a 1000 years ago. Another fact: warmest year of last century in the US was 1938-9. If the cap and trade system is put in place Gore will be a billionaire in his lifetime. Look at where his investments are. Gore stands to make windfall profits his investements by redistributing the moneys tacked on to energy and we all will pay the price with higher energy costs.

    January 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Matt

    @ Christa

    That's a blatant LIE. The truth is that the Bush administration, almost since its inception, used the NSA to try to censure and bury studies that concluded we have an environmental crisis to deal with as a result of the pollutants we introduce into the environment. Scientists don't say there is such a thing as global warming to get or keep funding, they've been saying it for 8 years at peril of losing their funding.

    January 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Todd

    It's manbearpig !!! I'm serial !!!

    January 28, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Pete

    Well said Billie. Gore the Bore will never debate anyone who is against the myth because he'll make a total a$$ of himself (more than usual) trying to defend his facts, of which he has NONE. It's either all supposition or made up facts to suit his and other's theories.

    Gore is a LYING TOAD!

    January 28, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. ralpherus

    Well..the cure for global warming, being that it is all due to too many people, would be to get rid of the worthless ones... so, if we round up all the crims, and crazies, and dispose voila! Cured planet. Of course, there would be no democrats afterward- but hey! ALL problems solved!!

    January 28, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Bob Hunter

    The environmental movement is a front for the socialists, who want to destroy America, capitalsim, and install dictatorships that will tell you how to live and what to believe.

    January 28, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. bmn42012

    LIES LIES LIES All Lies they arent going to make me feel guilty for driving my car!!!!

    January 28, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Matt

    @ Mark

    Al Gore created nothing. Scientists have been warning about global warming for decades but nobody wanted to listen...and some actively tried to refute scientific evidence with the bible. It's time to enter the 21st century people.

    January 28, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Little John

    One thing the media needs to do is look into Mr. Gore's financial deals. He is profiting from a lot of the global warming hype. Follow the money.

    January 28, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  19. aaron

    the only joke bigger than global warming is al gore

    January 28, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Fred

    One thing you don't see in the press either is the FACT that there have been few or no sunspots for the last 6 months or more. The new cycle has failed to start. The last time this happened was in the 16th Century when the earth experienced a mini iceage that lasted close to 150 years. If the US signs anything like Kyoto and we enter another mini-iceage, millions will die from lack of warmth and food.

    January 28, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. Ralph Shufeldt

    I wonder if the people of this country know that the Gore family fortunes were made in oil development. Also wonder how much of his current income stream comes from oil royalties or oil stock dividends.

    January 28, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. Scott AZ

    I thought Gore only crawled out from under his rock to scream about Global Warming during the middle of Summer, not when the temps are in the teens across the country.

    January 28, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. NavyVet

    This takes place on the same day a major winter storm is moving east though most of the country. Global warming? Define irony.

    January 28, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. James Johnson

    Why didn't Obama make Al Gore the "Climate Czar?" What are we going to do about Mars warming? Surely there are lots of SUV's and dirty coal fired plants on Mars. 650+ climate scientists claim this man-made "Global Warming/Climate Change" movement is just a scam/scare tactic. Seems like another "rush to judgement" to me.

    January 28, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. naqib

    1950 – Nuclear Holocaust
    1960 – Population will out run food sources by 1980s
    1970 – Global Cooling (glad we beat that one)
    1980 – HIV will end mankind
    1990 – The ozone layer
    2000 – Global Warming (oh... now climate change)

    Man... I'm lucky to be alive

    January 28, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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