January 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
10 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. Alan

    This gut is an idiot and anyone that listens to him is an even bigger idiot. If you really believe what he is saying, then turn off your electricity and sell your cars and walk everywhere, barefoot. (It takes energy to make shoes). But you won't because you really don't believe it, you just spout off your mouth because it is politically correct!

    January 28, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. terd Ferguson

    Al Gore was our vise president! He won a Nobel Prize! Please!!! People, we must listen to him ... he invented the internet, for goodness sake! What more proof do you need that he knows what he is talking about! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Oh, I forgot, he also has a subscription to 'national geographic' . Gore = Politician = Self Interested Ponzi Master

    January 28, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. wontfoolme

    Al Gore is wrong. The planet is in no danger from anything man has done! 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 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. susie

    It is getting colder not warmer!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. Matt

    @ Rich17

    Check on who paid for that little video and you'll see that it's quite ridiculous to believe that it is anywhere close to unbiased and objective.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Kevin

    These liberals know that global warming is false that is why they are changing the name to climate change. They are doing to get more control by regulation. Pretty soon america will look something like Cuba. The government is collapsing the dollar on purpose, that is why they are spending it on whatever, because they know its future.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. budburgoonclark

    One of the FIRST things President Obama needs to address is the abysmal public school system that gave all these global-warming-deniers DIPLOMAS. They have neither the science nor the logic to examine the FACT of global warming. Oh, that's right, The Rapture is coming so environmental issues don't matter. THEY'LL be with JEEEEEEEEE-zus, and the rest of us can FRY for all they care.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Daniel

    Ignorant Republicans still vainly deny global warming. Give it up, it's happening right now and you know it. Plus, Al Gore is a good man. He would have been a better President than Bush.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Stewart

    Our president who believes that global warming is happening is confused. Too much listening to the Goreacle and his yammerings about Gorebull Warming.

    January 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

    Go home, Gore; we're tired of your hysterical raving.

    January 28, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Adam in KC

    The idea of man made global warming is such a joke! I can't believe there are people buying into this scam! Besides, even if the USA instantly put out ZERO carbon emissions, China, India, etc would still pump out carbon and pollution at a greater rate than we do already!

    It is obvious to sane, rational people that the 'Climate Change CRISIS' is just an incredibly convenient excuse to take from you FOREVER! There is no stopping point! To fulfill the wishes of Gore, the ONLY real solution would be this: Everyone on Earth exists like African bushmen, except people are no longer allowed to have children because they consume resources.

    January 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Kicker

    Clearly the Global Warming movement is in a panic.

    They, as well as everyone else, can see the average global temperature cycle is starting to swing into a cooling period. And they know that if the public can't be panicked into action soon, the hoax will be exposed and the radical left environmental agenda will be in jeopardy.

    I expect to hear ever louder screams of hysteria from the Left to "Take Action Now". Even though paleoclimatic data shows these cycles work on the scale of hundreds of years, not months. And, more importantly, paleoclimatic data conclusively demonstrates that carbon dioxide levels are the result of increased warming, not the cause.

    Thousands of scientists are now standing up and defying the radical Left by exposing the hoax. Of course Al Gore is demanding action now. He has businesses that are making millions off the hysteria, and doesn’t want to jeopardize his profits.

    January 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. Maggie in NY

    To TMC's sister –

    Yes, sister, indeed they did.

    January 28, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. wontfoolme

    If we had listened to Gore a long time ago we would be screwed. But the congressmen and women would have none of that, and rightfully so, 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. But this has nothing to do with the hoax that is man made global warming!

    January 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Andy Scott

    I don't know what is scarier – the state of the environment and the knowledge that this is a real threat or reading the remarks on this page of undeducated Americans that are so ignorant they cannot think rationally about the climate and our depleting resources. It is unfortunate that some fail to realize our children and grandchildren will inherit the mistakes of today due to their backward thinking.

    January 28, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. moron

    Gore is right when he states we need to get something done this year. Wait a year and even fellow kool aid drinkers might awaken and recognize the fraud they have bought hook, line and sinker since inception. And FatAl will lose $millions, so do it now!!!

    January 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Dick Ryan

    The only thing in danger is Gore's cash flow when the people realize that man-made global warming is a hoax.

    January 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Harry

    Matt, get a grip! 8 years of myopic leftist agenda at the expense of Bush is over! Time to wake up and shovel the snow. I love it when your type never comes up with proof just accusation! It makes me puke. One of the leading scientists in ENGLAND, not the US pal, lost his job because he had the unmitigated gaul to go against the Global Warming powers that be (the BBC). According to him the Earth has been COOLING not warming since 1998. Man induced Global Warming has yet to be proven and if it's getting cooler then the theory is full of crap. The truth is that our data is minute. What, a hundred years of temperature records over the span of millions of years and you're gonna create theories from that?! It is nothing more than pure arrogance and idiocy.
    Gore is an idiot but worse he's arrogant. Also, I love those shows that tell us exactly what happened millions of years ago by looking at core samples. It's like looking at a flattened World Trade Center after 9/11 and telling people the contents of each room. Unless you were there while it existed you couldn't tell spit! Your kind blasted Bush for not finding WMD and you blast Bush for not subscribing to your equally factless theory. Let's see how this next administration screws up our already screwed up economy as a result of someone's myopic agenda.

    January 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Terry Brummitt

    I would like to know why our elected leaders in the house and senate listen to someone like Al Gore about the global climate. There is no proof that man is causing temperature to rise. In fact there is proof that the earth temperature are cooling down and will do so for a period of time. Its clear to me that Al Gore and the democrat parties cry is nothing more then a way to make them rich.

    January 28, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. turtlehead

    wow,... any more lies.. let's make doing business in the usa impossible... Gore should go into hiding

    January 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. wontfoolme

    I have never trusted Al Gore's judgement towards the environment and will never. He has dedicated himself entirely to act and speak out like a complete moron. He speaks out like a complete idiot that the World is currently facing using fossil fuel and how it is effecting our climate. Contrary to most brilliant and enlightened people's comments about him and his motive towards our environment, Al Gore is genuinly concerned and is dedicated to fill his pockets as long as he can speaking out on the hoax that is man made global warming. I rest my case.

    January 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. eROKv

    the funny thing is we could live with global warming. global cooling would most likely destroy our civilization completely! i hope the global cooling wackjobs arent right!!

    January 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. Dave

    Al Gore....absolute idiot....should be put in jail for what he has caused.

    January 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Joel

    Al, nobody believes you anymore.

    January 28, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. wontfoolme

    Are you kidding me? People on here really do believe that climate change IS happening? You people need to get an education.

    January 28, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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