Re: Theos-World Al Gore's speech
Dec 10, 2007 04:31 PM
Eight years of studying under Bill Clinton and he's STILL as boring as virtue itself.
Chuck the Heretic
From: Cass Silva <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 4:47 pm
Subject: Theos-World Al Gore's speech
I wanted to share with you my speech from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in
slo. Check AlGore.com for video of the event later today.
PEECH BY AL GORE ON THE ACCEPTANCE
F THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
ECEMBER 10, 2007
our Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel
ommittee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.
have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many
ears. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.
ometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and
ainful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy
nventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death.
rongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh
udgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death”
ecause of his invention – dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor
ade a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.
even years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his
even years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that
eemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict
lso brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new
ays to serve my purpose.
nexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot
atch this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated
learly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”
he distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to
hare this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures – a
hoice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death,
lessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may
e, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the
urvival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential
ven as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability
o solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences,
f we act boldly, decisively and quickly.
owever, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the
orld’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied
o those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox,
ecided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift,
olid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”
o today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the
hin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer.
nd tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative
oncentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.
s a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have
old us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a
econd opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion,
estated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.
e are what is wrong, and we must make it right.
ast September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun,
cientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is
falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone
uring summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S.
avy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.
even years from now.
n the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs
hat our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South
merica, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and
elting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the
rozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of
laces they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half
illion people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency
hat almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have
igrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures,
eligions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger
torms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have
een displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in
frica. As temperature extremes have
increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning
nd clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The
ery web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.
e never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never
ntended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would
romote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning
assive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.
ven in Nobel’s time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One
f the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, “We are
vaporating our coal mines into the air.” After performing 10,000 equations by
and, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth’s average temperature would
ncrease by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
eventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling,
egan to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.
ut unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and
dorless -- which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our
limate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening
s is unprecedented – and we often confuse the unprecedented with the
e also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now
ecessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient,
hole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell
eminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality,
sually on a battlefield.”
n the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between
umankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have
emained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.
ndeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself.
ow, we and the earth's climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war
lanners: "Mutually assured destruction."
ore than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so
uch debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from
ur atmosphere, causing a "nuclear winter." Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo
elped galvanize the world’s resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.
ow science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming
ollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back
ut of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent “carbon summer.”
As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire;
ome say in ice.” Either, he notes, “would suffice.”
ut neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.
e must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has
reviously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles
or survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a
ighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and
hese were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real
r imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life
ight be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence
ould be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.
o, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were
alls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of
very class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked
o do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise
o the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.
Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising,
mminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for
gnoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be
nsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our
ate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act
igorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?
ahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared
esolve with what he called “Satyagraha” – or “truth force.”
n every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free.
ruth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between “me” and
we,” creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.
here is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If
ou want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly.
e must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the
nswer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without
ollective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally,
e do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step
hat means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release
reativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses
riginating concurrently and spontaneously.
his new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all
umanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun’s energy
or pennies or invent an engine that’s carbon negative may live in Lagos or
umbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere
n the globe have the chance to change the world.
hen we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the
piritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated
ascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome
hallenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to
aunch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global
ooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of
emocracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of
heir visionary leaders said, “It is time we steered by the stars and not by the
ights of every passing ship.”
n the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown
f 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin
oosevelt as the “Father of the United Nations.” He was an inspiration and hero
o my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in
is commitment to world peace and global cooperation.
y parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration.
ight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was
hen I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the
ame prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and
other would have felt were they alive.
ust as Hull’s generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world
risis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising
o solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and
apanese, “crisis” is written with two symbols, the first meaning “danger,” the
econd “opportunity.” By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis,
e have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly
ncrease our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.
e must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the
fflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems
re linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common
escue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world
ifteen years ago, I made that case at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Ten
ears ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali
o adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on
missions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate
esources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.
his treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world
y the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The
ace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the
eads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in
ali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not
nreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of
tate meet every three months until the treaty is completed.
e also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility
hat burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.
nd most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon -- with a CO2 tax
hat is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of
ach nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to
ollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate
olutions to this crisis.
he world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in
he scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the
teps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new
overnment in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first
ut the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now
ailing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing
ast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2
mitters — most of all, my own country –– that will need to make the boldest
oves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.
oth countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate
nd instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global
hese are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a
right and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a
olution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us
cknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral
uthority, then these are the hard truths:
he way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is
easible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here
nd there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.
hat is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what
s possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, “Pathwalker,
here is no path. You must make the path as you walk.”
e are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I
egan, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a
rayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between
hose two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.
he great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, “One of these days, the
ounger generation will come knocking at my door.”
he future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next
eneration will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: “What were
ou thinking; why didn’t you act?”
r they will ask instead: “How did you find the moral courage to rise and
uccessfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?”
e have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but
olitical will is a renewable resource.
o let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. We are many. For this
urpose we will rise, and we will act.”
e a better friend, newshound, and
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