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. Buddy S.

    What about the "Little Ice Age" and the "Midievel Warm Period," who caused those? Why have we changed the name from "global warming" to "climate change"? Big Al has no answer for these questions. I see it as Al Gore's way to fill his pockets after his failed presidential run. I guess everyone needs a cause and a way to feel useful and his will be on the backs of the American People.

    January 28, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Jim

    Hey AlGore, take a huge heaping mouthful of "Shut the hell up!"

    As for the rest of you namby pamby moonbats who think that "Global Warming" is "real", try reading the following:

    "The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud"

    Sorry folks, but global warming and the crap that AlGore spews is just that, C-R-A-P.

    January 28, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Sonya B.

    Careful, Al, don't slip on the ice today.

    January 28, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    We can argue global warming all day folks. It’s happening or it’s not happening. It’s because of sunspots or we are cooling off. The fact that gasoline approached five dollars per gallon and helped exacerbate the current economic crisis should be reason enough to get off foreign oil. The fact that the President of the United States went to Saudi Arabia to beg them to increase oil production is reason enough for me to stop this insanity. We need to start building the electric car and work towards creating electricity from wind, solar, clean coal, nuclear, geothermal, and other sources. We are exporting wealth and putting our national and economic security in the hands of foreign powers (friendly or otherwise). If we happen to clean up the smog in our cities, then that’s an additional bonus in my book.

    January 28, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Lisa in Florida

    BUT......WHAT IF THE SCIENTIST AND MR. GORE ARE CORRECT?

    January 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  6. Bobby D

    To all those who oppose this global warming crap, i hope you didn't vote for Obama because he is going to push this agenda. You made your bed and peed in it. Now lay in it.
    Either Obama has also been duped or is knowingly propogating the propoganda. Since he is so brilliant, it must be the latter.

    January 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. 6ftRabbit

    The only thing in danger is Al's bank account.

    January 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. TCMs sister

    Wow, the big oil lobby really did hire a lot of paid bloggers to use up space on here defending their pro-pollution agenda.

    January 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. AndAnotherThing

    It’s unacceptable to me to sit back and watch the planet be taken over by governments who justify their dictatorial acquisitions of power on a theory that the leaders have decided to “believe in.” As an American, I don’t want to see our liberties and freedoms, our capitalistic pursuits, our productivity, our way of life or our culture itself be corrupted by a belief system that is substantiated by circumstantial evidence, anecdotes and extrapolations. Many scientists and meteorologists do not buy the premise, but they are discredited and ignored by such esteemed climatologists as Al Gore, who–well, he might be a lawyer–I’m not sure. But he’s definitely spent most of his life as an environmental extremist. However, George Bush believed in man-made climate change– Obama believes, many in our government believe and the UN believes. They have all said just that.
    Frankly, I don’t want our society–our reality–shaped and dictated by someone else’s “belief” in a theory. There is a boiling point for water–it’s a scientific fact. It’s repeatable, it’s verifiable–I don’t have to believe in it. This is science. Acceptance of man-made climate change and all of its disastrous results requires faith. This is religion.
    Over the last fifty years, we’ve been warned (by scientists) of many coming catastrophes. We were going to run out of oil, trees water and air. We were going to suffer from overpopulation, a new mini-ice age, a variety of pandemics, the asteroid strike that “will someday happen,” a nuclear Armageddon and the list goes on. Most of these things were supposed to happen by the year 2000. But here we are–none of it has.
    Unfortunately, this potential crisis has taken on a life of its own. It will have the ingredients of politics and the force of government. If the discipline and logic of science is not enforced and the fear mongering is not contained then the primary havoc wrought by climate change will not come so much from the predicted slight rise in global temperatures–it will from our power-hungry, self-serving politicians and the oppressive, dictatorial governments they create.

    January 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Gregolio

    . To all those who seriously want to do something about Global Warming , I am selling carbon credits to help you "feel good" about your contribution to this crisis. You should feel guilty and ashamed for what you have done to our planet. So to help you "off-set" your shame we will offer great package deals on carbon credits. We will also send you a picture of your carbon credit(s) as it will be a testiment to your willingness to buy anything. Isn't doing something better than doing nothing at all. All proceeds will go directly into my bank account, and therefore allowing me the ability quit my job as a cat juggler. Paypal Accepted

    January 28, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Janet Elliott

    yes the earth is in danger.....from you libs!

    January 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. aps

    Al Gore spent years as a politician lying to the public time after time, now we're supposed to believe him about global warming. I don't think so.

    January 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. REF

    HOW CAN SOMEONE WHO LIVES IN A BIG FANCY HOUSE AND I MEAN BIG. FLY AROUND IN A PRIVATE LEAR JET ALL THE TIME GIVING LECTURES AND LEAVING CARBON FOOT PRINTS THEN LECTURE US COMMON WORKING PEOPLE ABOUT FUTURE SACRIFICES THAT WE ARE EXPECTED TO MAKE ON THIS FARCE WHILE THEY GET RICH SELLING THIS MYTH WE SHOULD RISE UP AGAINST ALL THE GANGSTERS IN DC AND TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

    January 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. hurricane bob

    I hope Gore slips on the global warmed ice and breaks his legs. What a giant scam. Not all scientests buy into this fraud. I am one of them!

    January 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. WCAnderson

    Anyone with a high school education can disprove CO2 caused Global Warming: it takes one molecule of O2 to create one molecule of CO2, further, it takes one molecule of CO2 to create one molecule of O2 by photosynthesis (which is the only way oxygen is created in nature). All the green you see is our oxygen factory. Cutting back on CO2 emissions will suffocate the plant life in this oxygen factory. Lucky for us that green plants have a vociferate appetite which keeps the O2 level at around 209,500 molecules for every million molecules of air, whereas, C02 levels are kept nearly depleted at 385 molecules per million molecules of air. Only at night and in the winter do the number of molecules of CO2 increase slightly locally. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand this CO2 to O2 mechanism. Please don't fall for this nonsense; the Al Gore science of global warming does not even measure up to the science you learned in high school. The sale of carbon credits is simply a backwards way of taxing the air we breathe. It’s a scam of global proportions. Surely most of you are smarter than a 5th grader.

    January 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Virginia

    Well, since he's a lobbyist, at least we don't have to worry about him joining this "transparent" administration–thank God!

    January 28, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Bill Jacob

    Every time a factory closes in the United States and reopens in China net planetary pollution increases.

    Every time a power plant in California switches from coal to natural gas more individuals facing the rising cost of natural gas switch to coal-burning stoves in their homes and net planetary pollution increases.

    Every time the U.S. government subsidizes the burning of corn (food) for fuel another Amazon jungle is cut down to plant more corn. The result, net planetary pollution increases.

    Liberal policies produce the exact opposite of their stated intent.

    January 28, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Howard R

    The most phrase in science:
    .
    "THERE IS NOT ONE SHRED OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT PROVES CO2 CAUSES TEMPERATURE CHANGE".
    .
    If there was, they would rub our faces in it daily.
    .
    Al Gore is greedy and will stop at nothing to rip us off!

    January 28, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. Margaret Dernier

    The conservatives have Rush Limbaugh; we have Al Gore, both full of hot air.

    January 28, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. wontfoolme

    I believe that it is about time that we, as an American people, stand up to the threat of these climate crisis idiots. We hold a responsibility to the people of this nation, and must fight our current leadership's attempt to advance the move to environmentally friendly living. The statements made by AlGore are potent examples of the idiocy of these climate change fools.

    January 28, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. Bob M.

    Politicians have discovered that if they can get a few dupes with degrees to proclaim that the sky is falling that will get all the press despite the fact all one has to do is go outside and look up to see that it isn't.

    This man made global warming nonsense is just one example. It is a calculated mechanism designed to do two things: extract more taxes and increase government control over every aspect of our lives.

    It is apparent from reading the above posts that there are two camps: those who know BS when they hear it, and those who are offended at them for not being stupid.

    January 28, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. Shawn

    A hot day proves global warming. A cold day proves global warming. To stop global warming, the entire planet must have a constant temperature will very little change. Needless to say, the planet has never behaved like that. Gore has been reading too much Aldous Huxley.

    January 28, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. Boo

    Give it up gore! you are the only one who is preaching this garbage.

    January 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. James

    Some facts about our climate and CO2.

    1. In the last 5 years, 2004 through 2008, CO2 went up 11ppm or about .5%. Not hardly cause for alarm is it?

    2. CO2 does NOT drive temperature increases. It is the other way around. The Vostok ice cores proved this.

    3. Out of the 100% of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year, only 3% comes from human activity. Someone please explain to me how 3% trumps the other 97% in Al Gore's world.

    4. Out of 100, 000 molecules of atmosphere, CO2 is 38 of them. That's 38/100,000ths. Miniscule amount and we are to believe that .00038 of atmosphere is causing all these changes?

    5. It would take almost double the rate of CO2 being pumped by humans in the atmosphere every year for 5 years non-stop to change the 38 molecules per 100,000 atmosheric air molecules to 39. Hardly cause for alarm is it?

    Point is that the more you know the less the numbers add up. This is why Al Gore and the alarmists want no one questioning them. It's less about real science and more about using the environment to push a large wealth redistribution scheme.

    January 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Jacquie

    First of all, Al and Tipper could help the earth by eating less and exercising more. Next they could lead by example and not fly, drive, and of course, downsize their homes that they have to heat and cool. After the Gores do that, then they can come talk to me!!

    January 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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