January 28th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
11 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. Fred M

    When politics interferes with common sense you get Al Gore and his believers. Yes, clean technology should be persued. Should I believe we're in trouble at this time, no!!!!

    January 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Tony

    Wow lots of climatologists commenting here. All of them more brilliant than most of the world's scientists.

    Denial is a powerful force.

    January 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. BR Lakeland Fl

    Since the global weather is forever changing from global warming to global cooling,I for one would rather have global warming,because global cooling might bring glaciers down into Kentucky. And drive almost all creatures,including us,out of Canada and Alaska.So what's wrong with global warming??

    January 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. John

    GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH!!!!!!!

    Look at 500,000 years of climate data, not 1000 to come up with what is real and what is not.

    Quit being sheep. Be more worried about Global Cooling.

    January 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Marc

    Though I believe in climate change, I also believe it's not the Earth that's in danger, it's us. The Earth takes care of its own. We need to pull our socks up.

    January 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. geraldine

    Is he going to solve Mars Warming, Saturn Warming, etc.? George Bush and SUVs have melted icecaps on other planets, too, so hopefully Gore and Obama can save them as well.

    January 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. wontfoolme

    I can't believe what I'm hearing here!!! Global Warming has been proven untrue and Al Gore has been talking about the need to do something about it for over a decade all the time filling his pockets with OUR money!. He has NO credibility and that's more than I ever will and you should give the man NO respect.

    January 28, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Ben Ivascu

    Are all you people holocaust deniers as well?

    January 28, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Joe Schmuckateli

    CHICKEN LITTLE MANBEARPIG STRIKES AGAIN DURING THE HEART OF THE COLDEST FREAKING COLDSPELL AND ICESTORM IN RECENT HISTORY.

    BRILLIANT.

    OBAMA, DO YOU REALLY WANT YOUR LEGACY SADDLED WITH THIS BLIGHT UPON HUMANITY, THE INFAMOUS MANBEARPIG? I EVEN PITY YOU THIS DISHONOR.

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

    why NOT have as little of an impact on the environment as possible? most of these comments are so angry. chill out. think about it... dirty planet or clean planet?

    January 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. wontfoolme

    EXCUSE ME? Debunked? By whom? BY EVERYONE WITH A BRAIN! I read a lot of pseudo-science, sheer jealousy ('phony Nobel prize') and ridiculous slanders in this posts but AlGore is the most delusional one.

    EricBrodin – Where did you get this? This is brilliant and most likely spot on true!

    Everybody – Global Warming does not means 'End of Winter' or 'Perpetual Summer'. It means NOTHING because it is nothing but a HOAX!

    Billie Amerson – If everybody followed your belief we would be living much better!

    January 28, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. violet wilson

    The biggest danger in the world today is President obama!
    Not global warming , Al !

    January 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Renz

    When will you all figure out that Global warming is not a science but a religion...one used by men like Al Gore to convince stupid people that the only way to save the planet is by giving up their way of life and paying more for everything commercially produced and consumed.

    If you believe in God...then as yourself why he gave us a planet that would not adjust to the way we live on it?

    January 28, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Harold

    Reading these comments is very depressing. Climatologists do actually agree. Lets everyone have a discussion on whether evolution is true, or gravity actually exists.

    January 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Changing tides

    I find it quite interesting how quickly we choose to ignore the environment during these times of economic crisis. A year ago, everyone was all worried about climate change and it seemed as if we were finally ready to make the push towards a better future for the coming generations. Now that people's wallets have felt the squeeze from the current turmoil, it's back to that good ol', "me, me, me," attitude.
    We ARE killing the Earth, whether it's cooling down or heating up. Open your eyes and stop being so selfish and greedy. Don't hate the planet just because (Gore) seemsome of its advocates like soul-less robotic preachers.

    January 28, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. john

    Al Gore only cares about one thing green $$$$$$$$$$$$$. Dry Ice is compressed Co2 what kind of idot would buy into this scame?

    January 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Tommy

    Tesa, Tom in SA, Kristen, Daryll: you idiots didn't graduate from 5th grade, did you? How much does man contribute to the "CO2" in the atmosphere? Polar bears are so hungry that they are reproducing in record numbers EVEN THOUGH some leftard got them on the ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST EVEN THOUGH YHEY ARE AT HIGHEST level EVER! Antarctic Ice is at higher levels than 1970 when we were last in a cooling cycle (remember the Newsweek COVER "Global COOLING"? Why does AlGore not practice what he preaches if it is so "critical"? He just wants your MONEY!! I have an idea for the libs, STOP REPRODUCING!! Thin the herd is the best solution for you idiots!!

    January 28, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. JAC

    This is the biggest con game ever devised. Pull back the curtain and you will see the great Gore for what he is, a fraud. He has made hundreds of millions of dollars as he flies his huge private fleet of jets and lives in his huge house that burns fossil fuel the rate of a city.
    Where are all of the tree lovers? I thought that trees and planets need carbon dioxide to live. Why are the humans conspiring to choke out the fuel that our plants breath?

    Next we will have a global shortage of water. The aliens have been coming to earth for billions of years and carting off our water.
    That is satire my friend.
    The was made with a finite amount of water and it can't go anywhere.
    So BOO to all of you who worship the stars, moon and sky.

    January 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. turtlehead

    the recent cold is an...'anomaly?' The fact that the planet has been significantly warmer in the past is often over looked by kool-aid drinkers... The fact that before five years ago... for that past 20 years there was steady warming, just cannot be an anomaly. Choose your facts to make your tree-hugging a reality... It's the sun stupid. Couple that with opportunistic geo-scientists, and viola! Grants all around!

    January 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. wontfoolme

    Global Warming/Climate Change is NOT real, and NOT happening.
    This is a scam or pollitical purpose.
    A LOT could be gained from what many of you are accusing Al Gore of?
    This is NOT real, there are NO actual facts, it is a Cycle, not only are there proof of our future, but that WE have NOT caused it. To those of you who continue to deny and laugh at it, I applaud you! have fun looking out the windo later on, remember what you said, and remember how many idiots doubted you just like AlGore…
    We need to forget opinion and jokes, and truly focus on facts,
    Global Climate Change is NOT happening,
    But we can do something about ALGORE…stop buying into his SCAM!

    January 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Steel Curtain

    Unbelievable that emotions have triumphed over scientific study and rationality in the area of global warming. Gore proposes to spend trillions to combat an event that, if his panic-theory is true, has less than a 5% chance of occuring in the next 100 years.

    What fools.

    January 28, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. jm

    How much money has Al Gore made off of his "crusade." He has lost all respect and accountability (if he every had any). Of course we affect the planet with our action, but the notion of "global warming" is incorrect. Yes temperatures rise, but this is hard to reconcile when we are having one of the most bitter-cold winters in memory.

    Please, please make him go away. I am sick of him lining his pockets.

    January 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. w.g.

    I hear a lot of banter here about how global warming is not real, etc...

    While I respectfully disagree with these people, the fact that remains is that WE FUND oil dictatorships all around the world with China's money. They in turn take that money to destabilize the Middle East and provide terrorists with the means to THREATEN OUR NATIONAL SECURITY.

    This is the STUPIDIST thing we can be doing!

    The sooner we get OFF of this carbon based threat to national security the better. And if you think you can drill nationally to get us out of this hole keep dreaming.

    January 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Tom Lancaster Pa

    What happens when in 5 years this proposed treaty isnt working and the weather stays as it is? Another treaty and another after that?

    I would love to see Gore in a debate on this subject, but thats not going to happen.

    January 28, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. john

    Al Gore only cares about one thing that's green $$$$$$$$$$

    January 28, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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