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Al Gore on Energy & Oil

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


Obama considered Gore as climate change czar

Obama had hoped that Al Gore would serve as the climate change czar and drive the world toward a new agreement on greenhouse gases. But Gore was happier on the outside using his own brand (and new fortune, the product of some smart tech investments) to advance the cause.

The Clinton-Gore relationship went sour during the Lewinsky scandal. He also believed that Hillary had snubbed Tipper as a friend. Gore stayed neutral in the 2008 primaries, in part because he depended on the largesse of Clinton Global Initiative donors for his own climate change activities. Gore was grateful to Clinton in August 2009, when Clinton traveled to North Korea to bring back two reporters who had been jailed while working for Gore's TV network.

Obama signed off on Gore's protege, Carol Browner, as climate change czarina. Browner came out of the old command-and-control world of top-down government regulations, but she became a convert to market-based solutions, including a cap-and-trade system.

Source: The Promise: Obama Year One, by Jonathan Alter, p. 59-60 , May 18, 2010

2000: stabilize prices with release from Petroleum Reserve

In Sep. 2000, Gore said that oil should be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an attempt to stabilize rising oil prices. Our opposition researchers discovered that Gore had opposed such a move when oil prices spiked in the winter of 1999, having said then, "All OPEC would have to do is to cut back a little bit on the supply, and they'd wipe out any impact from releasing oil from that reserve."

Bush immediately whacked Gore's flip-flop on the oil reserve as "bad policy" that sought "shor -term political gain at the cost of long-term national security." The next day, Clinton released 30 million barrels of oil from the reserve and we stepped up the attack.

Responding to the media frenzy over his switch, Gore stumbled again by saying that "I've been a part of the discussions on the strategic reserve since the days when it was first established." The Strategic Reserve was established in 1975, two years before Gore entered Congress. He just couldn't stop himself from embellishing.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.183 , Mar 9, 2010

Science is settled on global warming

Climate change's premise is that carbon emissions, especially from burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, are leading to potentially catastrophic global warming. While some basic facts of this premise are undisputable--fossil fuel use adds to greenhouse-gas concentrations, which has a net warming effect--there are plenty of scientific reasons to question the dogma that we are causing radical climate change that will wreak havoc on the planet. Still, global warming alarmists like Al Gore insist that "the science is settled."

But even if you were to grant Al Gore and Barack Obama their premises on the causes and effects of climate change, there's even more reason to doubt the effectiveness of their proposed fixes--especially once you see how these policies have become special-interest porkfests.

Source: Obamanomics, by Timothy P. Carney, p.105-106 , Nov 30, 2009

We borrow from China to buy Gulf oil; both should change

The energy and climate crisis links three of America's most pressing problems: national security, the environment, and the economy. As Al Gore recently put it, "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." The cost of imported oil equals nearly our entire trade imbalance. In other words, if we shifted entirely to renewable energy, we would have virtually no trade deficit & far less imported inflation. The energy and climate crisis links three of America's most pressing problems: national security, the environment, and the economy. As Al Gore recently put it, "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." The cost of imported oil equals nearly our entire trade imbalance. In other words, if we shifted entirely to renewable energy, we would have virtually no trade deficit & far less imported inflation.
Source: Obama`s Challenge, by Robert Kuttner, p.159-160 , Aug 25, 2008

Immediate freeze now; then reduce CO2 emissions 90% by 2050

Gore testified about global warming before congress in March 2007. Gore was swinging for the fence. He advocated an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions in the US and reducing those levels 90 percent by 2050. (Just for comparison, Bush finally confronted the issue at the G-8 summit in early June and proposed reductions of, ahem, 0 percent.)

One way to do it, Gore said, was to kill the payroll tax and impose a “carbon tax,” thus embedding the cost of pollution (we can say that now--thanks Supreme Court!) in the market. He wants greatly increased gas mileage on cars and a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants except those that can sequester their carbon. In order to get industry on board, he’s advocating a cap-and-trade system that would allow heavy greenhouse gassers like coal companies to buy “credits” from, say, solar producers, thus offsetting the carbon by increasing profits and investment in clean industries, producing a carbon neutral“ result.

Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 93-94 , Nov 11, 2007

Ocean warming causes stronger hurricanes, like Katrina

Scientists have been using evermore accurate computer models that long ago predicted a much higher range of ocean temperatures as a result of man-made global warming. The actual ocean temperatures are completely consistent with what has been predicted, and they’re way above the range of natural variability.

As the oceans get warmer, storms get stronger. In 2004, Florida was hit by 4 unusually powerful hurricanes. That same year, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons. The previous record was 7. In 2004, 10 typhoons hit Japan.

The emerging consensus links global warming to increasingly destructive power of hurricanes, increasing the strength of the average hurricane a full half-step on the well-known 5-step scale. As water temperatures go up, wind velocity goes up. One major study came out less than a month before Hurricane Katrina hit.

When Katrina first hit, it was only a category 1 storm. Then, it passed over the unusually warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico [and became category 5].

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p. 78-94 , Feb 15, 2007

Global warming causes more floods & also more droughts

There has been record flooding in China, which, as one of the planet’s oldest civilizations, keeps the best flood records of any nation in the world.

Recently, for example, there were huge floods in Sichuan and Shandong provinces. Paradoxically, however, global warming also causes not only more flooding, but also more drought. The nearby Anhui province was continuing to suffer a severe drought at the same time the neighboring areas were flooding.

One of the reasons for this paradox has to do with the fact that global warming not only increases precipitation worldwide but at the same time causes some of it to relocate.

A second reason for the paradoxical effect of global warming is that while it produces more evaporation from the oceans to fill the warmer atmosphere with increased moisture, it also sucks more moisture out of the soil. Partly as a consequence, desertification has been increasing in the world decade by decade.

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.112&118 , May 26, 2006

Supported ethanol in 1970s & cellulosic ethanol now

When I was in Congress we used to wrangle about the value of making ethanol from corn. Despite the moonshine jokes, I supported ethanol. Even though some of its environmental consequences made me uncomfortable, I thought it was important for us to work on alternatives to fossil fuels to begin to break our dependence on foreign oil. Since then, newer innovations have [come along]: one company has figured out a way to make a new kind of ethanol out of plant fiber--cheaper & cleaner than regular ethanol.
Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.137 , May 26, 2006

Skeptics point to historical warming--but today is hotter

The correlation between temperate and CO2 concentrations over the last 1,000 years--as measured in the ice core record by Thompson’s team--is striking.

Nevertheless, the so-called global warming skeptics often say that global warming is really an illusion reflecting nature’s cyclical fluctuations. To support their view, they frequently refer to the Medieval Warm Period. But as [the historical] thermometer shows, the vaunted Medieval Warm Period was tiny compared to the enormous increases in temperature of the last half-century.

In any given year, it might seem as if the average global temperature is going down, but the overall trend is very clear. And in recent years, the rate of increase has been accelerating. In fact, if you look at the 21 hottest years measured, 20 of the last 21 occurred within the last 25 years. The hottest year on record during this entire period was 2005.

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p. 64&72-73 , May 26, 2006

Arctic ice is melting & may disrupt global weather patterns

Since the 1970s, the extent & thickness of the Artic ice cap has diminished precipitously. There are now studies showing that if we continue with business as usual, the Artic ice cap will completely disappear each year during summertime. At present, it plays a crucial role in cooling the Earth. Preventing its disappearance must be one of our priorities.

The melting of the ice cap represents bad news for creatures like polar bears. A new study shows that for the first time, polar bears have been drowning in significant numbers.

What does it mean to look at a vast expanse of water that used to be ice? We ought to care about this because it has serious planetary effects. An increase of 5 degrees actually means an increase of only 1 or 2 degrees at the Equator, but more than 12 degrees at the North Pole. And so all those wind and ocean patterns that formed during the last ice age, are now up in the air.

Our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this.

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.143-149 , May 26, 2006

Current tech can reduce CO2 emissions to 1970 levels

Together, these changes, all of which are based on already-existing, affordable technologies, can bring emissions down to a point below 1970s levels.
Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.281 , May 26, 2006

Dealing with global warming inconvenient for rich & powerful

As for why so many people still resist what the facts clearly show, I think, in part, the reason is that the truth about the climate crisis is an inconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives.

The truth about global warming is especially inconvenient and unwelcome to some powerful people and companies making enormous sums of money from activities they know full well will have to change in order to ensure the planet’s livability.

These people--especially those at a few multinational companies with the most at stake--have been spending many millions of dollars every year in figuring out ways of sowing public confusion about global warming.

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.284 , May 26, 2006

1993: Hard line on deficit reduction, paid for by BTU tax

Al Gore's suggestion of a broad-based energy tax, called a BTU tax, on the heat content of energy at the wholesale level. Al said that while the BTU tax would be controversial in states that produced coal, oil and natural gas, it would fall on all sectors of the economy, lessening the burden on ordinary consumers, and would promote energy conservation, something we badly needed more of.

For several house more, we again debated how much deficit reduction we had to try for, beginning five years out and working back to the present. Gore took a hard line, saying if we went for the biggest possible reduction, we'd get credit for courage and create a new reality, making it possible to do previously unthinkable things, like requiring Social Security beneficiaries above a certain income level to pay income tax on their benefits.

Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.461-462 , Jun 21, 2004

No drilling in ANWR & off coasts; protect pristine areas

Source: Press Release, “Protection of America’s Last Wild Areas” , May 30, 2000

Tax credits & business incentives for energy efficiency

Q: What about federal incentives for businesses that are building new facilities or upgrading to more energy-efficient processes? A: I strongly support it. A centerpiece of my efforts has been to try to protect the environment much more effectively. Look at the companies who have agreed to be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem, and we can give those companies incentives in the form of tax credits, federal purchasing, and procurement policies.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Gas tax should be higher than 4.3 cents per gallon, & wider

[Adviser George] Stephanopoulos wanted, once and for all, to settle on something simple and clear. He preferred the 4.3 cents per gallon approved in the Senate version of the bill or something close to it, so they could say the tax was no more than a nickel.

Gore disagreed. They had to keep their flexibility, the vice president said. They might want to go higher on the gasoline tax. The energy tax was a point of principle for the administration, he said, and they should let the process unfold in Congress. Clinton could be attacked on character if he dropped it, Gore said.

Finally, on July 29, the House and Senate negotiators agreed on the modest 4.3-cent-a-gallon gas tax. [Their Congressional adviser called it] "pathetic", but it was all they could get.

In some respects, Gore had lost the most. The ambitious, sweeping BTU tax, initially designed to shift fuel use from polluting coal and oil to natural gas, and improve the environment, had been whittled down to a piddling 4.3-cent gas tax.

Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p.245-249&280 , Jun 6, 1994

Broad-based energy tax to help the environment

Gore felt that Clinton and he had been elected in part because of their promises on the environment, and he saw himself as a steward of that part of the mandate. He had not told Clinton that he was planning to make a statement about using tax policy to help the environment.

Gore told the group he favored a broad-based energy tax--something not on Bentsen's list--such as a tax levied on the use of British thermal units, or BTUs, a basic measure of energy. A BTU tax would be environmentally sound, he said, because coal, the dirtiest fuel, would be hit the hardest, though oil and natural gas would also be taxed. This emphasis would create political problems in coal states. But such a tax would put the US on the side of the environmental angels, Gore felt, because the Europeans and Japanese had said they would enact their own broad-based energy taxes if the US did.

Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p. 88-89 , Jun 6, 1994

Renewable energy instead of nuclear power

Q: Should the United States increase its use of nuclear power as part of a strategy to come closer to energy independence?

A: I strongly believe we need to take measures to increase our nation’s energy security and decrease our dependence on unreliable foreign sources of oil. However, I do not support an increased reliance on nuclear power. In order to achieve sound economic and environmental goals, I believe that we must increase renewable energy sources and environmentally sound domestic energy production and develop new energy-saving technologies, while reducing our reliance on imported energy. Through the power of free markets and American ingenuity, my plan will dramatically reduce pollution and enhance our energy security - and create more jobs in the process.

Source: Associated Press , Oct 16, 2000

Drilling ANWR too high a price for a few months of oil

GORE: Governor Bush is proposing to open up some of our most precious environmental treasures, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to the big oil companies to go in and start producing oil there. I think that is the wrong choice. It would only give us a few months worth of oil, and the oil wouldn’t start flowing for many years into the future. And I don’t think it’s a fair price to pay, to destroy precious parts of America’s environment.

BUSH: We need an active exploration program in America. The only way to become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil is to explore at home. And you bet I want to open up a small part of Alaska because when that field is online, it will produce a million barrels a day. Today we import a million barrels from Saddam Hussein. I would rather that a million come from our own hemisphere, our own country, as opposed from Saddam Hussein.

Source: (X-ref Bush) Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

Tax incentives for development of renewable energy

Q: What is your energy policy?

GORE [to Bush]: We have to free ourselves from big oil, from OPEC. We have to give new incentives for the development of resources, like deep gas in the western Gulf, but also renewable sources of energy and domestic sources that are cleaner and better. I’m proposing a plan that will give tax incentives for the rapid development of new kinds of cars, trucks, buses, factories, boilers, and furnaces that don’t have as much pollution.

BUSH: I want to build pipelines to move natural gas. I want to develop coal resources. It’s an issue I know a lot about. I was a small oil person for a while. This is an administration that’s had no plan. And now, the results of having no plan have caught up with America. We’ve got abundant supplies of energy here, and we better start exploring it. There’s an interesting issue up in the Northwest, as well. And that is whether or not we remove dams that propose hydroelectric energy. I’m against removing dams in the Northwest.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA , Oct 3, 2000

Release oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve

This summer I called for a federal investigation of concentration, non-competitiveness and pricing practices in the oil industry, and we’re still awaiting the results of that inquiry. But this isn’t rocket science, even though gasoline right now seems to be priced a lot like rocket fuel. We know what is going on here, and we have to end it. And I promise you this - if I am president, I am going to stand up to big oil and demand fairer gasoline prices for families and an end to unfair profiteering.

We Indeed, global warming is expected to push temperatures up much more rapidly in the polar regions than in the rest of the world. As the polar air warms, the ice here will thin; and since the polar cap plays such a crucial role in the world’s weather system, the consequences of a thinning cap would be disastrous.

Source: Earth in the Balance, page 23 , Sep 21, 2000

$150B Energy Security and Environment Trust Fund

Q: What would you do to promote the use of cleaner energy?

A: Encouraging consumers and producers to use cleaner energy is critical to ensuring we have clean air and fighting the threat of global warming. That is why I have proposed a bold, unprecedented Energy Security and Environment Trust Fund - a $150 billion fund to help develop clean new technologies. This fund will provide tax credits and financial incentives to power producers who reduce pollutant emissions; consumers who purchase energy-efficient vehicles, homes and home appliances; and communities that build energy-saving forms of public transportation. These measures will stimulate economic growth, create new jobs, reduce our nation’s dependence on unreliable foreign sources of oil and clean up the nation’s air and water.

Source: Associated Press , Sep 12, 2000

Tax breaks for fuel efficiency will fuel prosperity

Gore would give families up to $6,000 to purchase more fuel-efficient cars and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), along with other tax breaks for the purchase of energy-efficient pick-up trucks, 18-wheelers, building equipment and homes. These fuel-efficient vehicles will further reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, helping consumers save money at the pump. Gore says, “We can have a next-stage prosperity where you don’t have to build your lives around a fuel source that is distant, uncertain and easily manipulated. We will demand and develop new technologies to free ourselves from gas-tank price-gouging, and we will sell those technologies to the world. We’ll build a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles -- and then make it easy for families to afford them.“
Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” , Jun 28, 2000

New energy technology will lead to more prosperity

Today, Gore unveiled portions of his new energy policy that would curtail brownouts, clean up aging power plants, and reduce the nation’s dependence on unreliable imported oil. “There can be a next stage of prosperity in which American creativity builds not just a better product, but also a better planet, a next stage of progress in which it is an every-day accomplishment for Americans to develop path-breaking technologies that create millions of high-wage jobs, clean up the environment and combat global warming at the same time,“ Gore said. ”A next stage of prosperity and progress in which we encourage and support the Edisons of tomorrow, and empower them to build a better, cleaner and more prosperous world.“
Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” , Jun 27, 2000

Energy policy: focus on future tech & incentives

Gore’s energy policy includes:
  • More reliable electricity grid: provide tax breaks to encourage power plants at factories and residential complexes; extend economic incentives for natural gas exploration; and provide tax breaks for electricity produced from renewable energy sources such as wind & methane. This portion of the plan would cost $2 billion over 10 years.
  • Technologies for tomorrow challenge: develop market-based, enforceable and comprehensive standards to reduce pollution and increase efficiency. This portion of the plan would cost $68 billion over 10 years.
  • Private investment in new technology: increase the use of domestic energy & transportation technology that could help reduce pollution. The plan would expand investment in the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Advance Technology Program (ATP).,li>Measured performance standards: measure actual emission reductions achieved by projects supported through this initiative.
    Source: Press Release, “New Gore Energy Policy” , Jun 27, 2000


    Al Gore on Global Warming

    We have the energy solution to solve the climate crisis

    We already have everything we need to use the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation and efficiency to solve the climate crisis--except a president who inspires us to believe, “Yes we can.” The carbon fuels industry--big oil and coal--have a 50-year lease on the Republican Party & they are drilling it for everything it’s worth. It has spent a $500 million this year alone trying to convince the public they are solving the problem when they are in fact making it worse every single day.
    Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 26, 2008

    McCain has abandoned his support of pollution caps

    We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Oil company profits have soared to record levels, gasoline prices have gone through the roof and we are more dependent tha ever on fossil fuels. Many scientists predict that the entire North Polar ice cap may be completely gone during summer months in the first term of the next President. Sea levels are rising, fires are raging, storms are stronger. Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world, and scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions. We are facing a planetary emergency which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind. In spite of McCain’s past record on the climate crisis, he has allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution.
    Source: Speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention , Aug 26, 2008

    We need BOTH citizen action and better climate policy

    Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth" makes it clear that we need BOTH citizen action and better policies. A number of business leaders, including several utilities with coal-fired plants, have joined in the call for the US to set limits on carbon emissions and set up a system to trade emissions credits so that firms who can cut their emissions more easily can sell their emissions reductions above the cap to those who are having trouble making it.
    Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p.189 , Sep 4, 2007

    Virgin Earth Challenge: $25M to remove 1B tons of CO2

    At the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative, Sir Richard Branson pledged all future profits of his Virgin Group's airline and rail business, an estimated $3 billion over the next ten years, to investments in renewable energy, and to becoming a carbon-neutral company through greater efficiency in energy use and investments in carbon programs.

    Recently, Branson and Al Gore announced the establishment of the Virgin Earth Challenge, which will award a prize of $25 million to the individual or group who is able to demonstrate a commercially viable design in an effort to remove at least a billion tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere per year for at least a decade. The prize will be open for five years, with a distinguished panel of judges meeting annually to determine whether a design that offers the promise of such a huge breakthrough has been submitted.

    Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p.163-164 , Sep 4, 2007

    Carbon exchange market can cap-and-trade CO2 like we did SO2

    When acid rain was falling on parts of the US back in the 1980s, an innovative program helped to clean up the polluted precipitation. With bipartisan support, Congress put in place a system for buying and selling emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the main culprit behind acid rain. Called a cap-and-trade system, it used the power of market forces to help drastically reduce SO2 emissions, while allowing pioneering companies to profit from environmental stewardship.

    A similar approach can speed up the reduction of CO2 emissions. The European Union has adopted this US innovation and is making it work effectively. Here at home, while Congress has not yet passed a federal cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions, there is an effective private-sector carbon market that is already up and running--the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).

    The CCX is leading the way toward a future in which reducing CO2 could bring not only environmental rewards, but financial ones too.

    Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.252 , May 26, 2006

    Consensus on global warming, but newspapers fabricate doubt

    Politicians often confuse self-interested arguments paid for by lobbyists & planted in the popular press with legitimate peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific journals. For example, the global warming skeptics cite one article more than any other in arguing that global warming is just a myth: a statement of concern during the 1970s that the world might be in danger of entering a new ice age. But that article was published in Newsweek and never appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.

    There is a misconception that the scientific community is in a state of disagreement about global warming. In fact, there is virtually no serious disagreement on the central points.

    The misconception of disagreement is actually an illusion that has been deliberately fostered by oil & coal companies. These companies want to prevent any new policies that would interfere with their current business plans that rely on the massive unrestrained dumping of CO2 into the Earth atmosphere every day.

    Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.260-3 , May 26, 2006

    We solved ozone crisis; can solve CO2 crisis by same methods

    Once upon a time, your refrigerator could kill you. Early models used toxic and explosive gases top keep food cold. In 1927, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) replaced those gases. But in 1974, scientists theorized that as CFCs rose into the upper atmosphere, their molecules would be broken down by the sun, releasing chlorine into the ozone layer and setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction. Ozone protects us from the sun’s damaging rays. Chlorine would eat away at this fragile protective skin, allowing the sun’s ultraviolet rays to stream unimpeded through the atmosphere, thereby causing skin cancer and other problems.

    In 1987, 27 nations signed the Montreal Protocol, the first global environmental agreement to regulate CFCs. At last count there were 183 signatories, and the levels of CFCs have stabilized or declined.

    Today, as the CO2 crisis unites us, we must remember the lesson of the CFC battle: that cool heads can prevail and alter the course of environmental change for the better.

    Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p.295 , May 26, 2006

    An Inconvenient Truth: Gore’s movie about global warming

    A movie about Al Gore giving a PowerPoint presentation about global warming doesn’t sound all that exciting [in Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”]. Getting the country to face up to global warming is his life’s mission, and it could be his ticket to the presidency. Voters yearning for a principled leader who truly believes in something may find what they’re looking for in the former vice president. Gore said that he’s in the middle of a campaign, but it’s not a campaign for a candidate. “Been there, done that,“ he said.

    Nobody believes him. By not playing the overt political game, Gore may be putting in place the first issue-driven campaign of the 21st century, one that is premised on a big moral challenge that is becoming more real with soaring gas prices and uncertain oil supplies.

    Whether he is or isn’t running almost doesn’t matter. Gore has the luxury of waiting until late in the political season to announce. He has universal name recognition and a proven ability to raise money.

    Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” , Apr 28, 2006

    Global warming captured Gore’s interest as student

    This could be the ultimate remake for Gore, whose struggles with his persona during the 2000 campaign made him an object of ridicule. He seems more approachable now, and he’s a first-rate teacher as he explains in “An Inconvenient Truth” about the inescapable march of global warming, along with its consequences, that first captured his imagination as a college student. The film is not apocalyptic; you don’t leave the theater feeling all is lost. Gore says he deliberately left out recent scientific predictions that the world has just 10 years to reverse global warming or a tipping point will be reached beyond which it cannot be stopped. Reflections about the 2000 presidential race (“It was a hard blow, but you make the best of it”), a childhood split between farm life and a hotel room in Washington and his beloved sister’s death from lung cancer interspersed with the slide show give the movie a biopic feel that makes viewers wonder what might have been if history had taken a different turn.
    Source: 2008 speculation: Eleanor Clift, Newsweek, “Gore Redux” , Apr 28, 2006

    1993: BTU tax failed because too complicated

    Not a single Republican would vote for the Clinton economic plan. Worse, there were more than a few Democrats who were itching to jump ship as well--particularly those from oil and gas states who were opposed to the new energy taxes (the original Clinton plan included a worthy but too-complicated tax, suggested by Vice President Al Gore, on British thermal units, or Btu's, which is a standard measurement of energy use). And so, early on--within two weeks of his inauguration--it was apparent that the budget battle would be far more grueling than anyone had anticipated. It loomed as a terrible, draining, struggle that was likely to cripple almost everything else Clinton was hoping to accomplish in his first year.
    Source: The Natural, by Joe Klein, p. 52-53 , Feb 11, 2003

    Press gives credit to discredited ideas in name of fairness

    In his second journalism class at Columbia University, Gore asked students to critique media coverage of global climate change. Gore asked his students to read [several news pieces including] a piece that questioned the “gloom-and-doom” warnings about global warming, which was ridiculed as an example of biased journalism. The prep material, also listed a few questions for students to ponder, such as, “Is it your view that scientists who are the minority on this issue and who remain unconvinced about the seriousness of the climate change problem should be given space in any and all coverage of this issue?“

    In class, Gore suggested it was a cop-out for journalists to include skeptical views in reports about global warming. In the name of balance, Gore said that journalists give credit to discredited ideas. In writing a story about AIDS, for example, is it necessary to include someone questioning whether HIV produces AIDS, even though some still say it doesn’t? Gore asked his students.

    Source: David Abel, Boston Globe, p. A5 , Feb 22, 2001

    For Kyoto; for national parks; against drilling ANWR

     BushGore
    Climate ChangeOpposes Kyoto agreement; wants more research on causes & impact of global warmingSupports Kyoto agreement; believes human-induced global warming is a real threat and must be remedied
    Arctic Wildlife RefugeSupports opening 8% of refuge area to oil explorationOpposes opening the refuge to oil exploration
    ConservationSupports Land and Water Conservation Act; opposes new national monuments; backs tax breaks and incentives for private conservationSupports Land and Water Conservation Act; Clinton/Gore created 13 new national parks
    EnergyBacks increased domestic exploration of natural gas & oil; more research on clean-coal technologySupports tax credits & incentives for renewable-energy or efficiency improvements in homes, cars, power plants; backs aid for cleaner mass transit
    Source: Boston Globe, p. A28 , Nov 3, 2000

    UN report confirms global warming; Gore revives the issue

    Gore revived the issue of global warming, a subject from his past that he has generally ignored this year. Seizing on a new UN report asserting that pollution appears to be raising world temperatures, Gore tried to portray global warming as a populist issue. He called the effort to stop global warming a fight against big polluters, in an attack similar to those he has made on drug companies, insurance companies, & health-maintenance organizations. “It does not have to happen and won’t happen if we put our minds to solving this problem,“ Gore said of the predicted rise in temperature and problems that would create.

    Gore’s turn to global warming suggests he now thinks he can use the subject to cast an unfavorable light on Bush, who has expressed skepticism about the danger. Global warming has long been a central concern of Gore’s. But he has rarely raised environmental issues during his presidential campaign. When he has, he’s cast them as measures to reduce energy dependence on foreign sources.

    Source: Bob Davis & Glenn Simpson, Wall Street Journal , Oct 27, 2000

    Carbon dioxide causes global warming and we should act

    Q: What about global warming?

    BUSH: It’s an issue that we need to take very seriously. I don’t think we know the solution to global warming yet and I don’t think we’ve got all the facts before we make decisions.

    GORE: But I disagree that we don’t know the cause of global warming. I think that we do. It’s pollution, carbon dioxide and other chemicals that are even more potent. Look, the world’s temperatures going up, weather patterns are changing, storms are getting more violent and unpredictable. And what are we going to tell our children?

    BUSH: Yeah, I agree. Some of the scientists, I believe, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.

    Source: (X-ref Bush) Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University , Oct 11, 2000

    Global Warming is a clear & present threat; but preventable

    Global warming is no longer a distant threat; it’s as real, as clear and present an issue, with profound effects on people’s lives, as war and peace or recession and poverty--and the effects are only just beginning to be felt.
    There are still some scientists--a shrinking but vocal minority, invariable invoked by special interests--who deny or doubt climate change or its relationship to carbon dioxide pollution. The flaw in the argument this time is that if the skeptics are as wrong as it appears, and if we do not act now, the crisis of global warming will inflict enormous, even irreversible damage. And it is preventable if we act now, wisely and boldly.
    It is worth remembering that big changes can occur quickly. There will probably be some climate surprises. Melting of the arctic tundra could release huge quantities of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, which would greatly amplify climate change. Who can afford to wait?
    Source: New foreword to Earth in the Balance, p. xiv-xvi , Apr 23, 2000

    Kyoto goals are an indispensable first step

    As record floods alternate with record ice-storms, as record-breaking hot months are followed by even hotter months a year later, who can afford to wait? The US took the lead in convincing other nations that a voluntary international agreement to reduce carbon pollution was no longer enough--that we needed to negotiate a binding timetable to meet specific goals. When I led the US delegation to the Kyoto Conference in 1997, we worked with 180 other nations to put the world on track to reduce the carbon pollution pouring into the atmosphere. The Kyoto agreement isn’t the final answer to global warming, but it is the indispensable first step.

    Our next step is to seek meaningful participation from developing nations and submit the Kyoto agreement to the Senate for ratification. I will stay and fight on this issue until we overcome the special-interest opposition, abroad and at home, that threatens to extend and worsen global warming. The Kyoto goals are both practical and economically beneficial.

    Source: New foreword to Earth in the Balance, p. xvii , Apr 23, 2000

    Avoid “out of tune” unachievable CO2-reduction proposals

    Last August, Gore was presented with options to cut CO2 emissions from the two biggest sources, cars & coal-fired plants. Gore turned down the proposals. “We lost that fight in 1993,” he observes, referring to the defeated ‘BTU tax’ on fuels. “We’re not yet winning the fight for the proposals we have now. Impractical proposals that are completely out of tune with what is achievable do not advance your cause.” Stronger policy proposals, Gore argues, have to go with public awareness & political support.
    Source: Time Magazine, p. 65-67 , Apr 26, 1999

    Global Marshall Plan: Five strategic goals

      In my view, five strategic goals must direct and inform our efforts to save the global environment:
    1. stabilizing of world population
    2. the rapid development of environmentally appropriate technologies
    3. a comprehensive change in the economic “rules of the road” by which we measure the impact of our decisions on the environment
    4. negotiation & approval of a new generation of international agreements
    5. a cooperative plan for educating the world’s citizens about our global environment.
    Source: Earth in the Balance, page 305-307 , Jul 2, 1993


    Al Gore on Mass Transit + Suburban Sprawl

    Public/private initiative to triple auto fuel efficiency

    Source: Associated Press, “Environmentalists Endorse” , Oct 7, 1999

    Voted YES on do not require ethanol in gasoline.

    Funding a mandated percentage of market share for the use of ethanol in gasoline, to be funded b reducing NASA budget b $39 million..
    Status: Table Motion Agreed to Y)50; N)50; VP decided YES
    Reference: Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1995; Bill H.R. 4624 ; vote number 1994-255 on Aug 3, 1994

    Supports tradable emissions permits for greenhouse gases.

    Gore adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

    Modernize Environmental Policies
    National environmental policies, mostly developed in the 1970s, have been remarkably successful in improving the quality of our air and water. But we face a new set of environmental challenges for which the old strategy of centralized, command-and-control regulation is no longer effective.

    The old regime of prohibitions and fines levied on polluters is not well equipped to tackle problems such as climate change, contamination of water from such sources as farm and suburban runoff, loss of open lands, and sprawl. Without relaxing our determination to maintain and enforce mandatory national standards for environmental quality, it is time to create more effective, efficient, and flexible ways of achieving those standards.

    For example, a system of tradable emissions permits would give factories, power plants, and other sources of air pollution and greenhouse gases a powerful incentive not only to meet but to exceed environmental standards. Decisions about solving local environmental problems should be shifted from Washington to communities, without weakening national standards. Finally, to empower citizens and communities to make sound decisions, government should invest in improving the quality and availability of information about environmental conditions.

    Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC10 on Aug 1, 2000

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