Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The New Optimism of Al Gore

...Slides have been very good to the former vice president of the United States, almost president, environmental activist and now successful green investor. His slide show on the threat of climate change, presented in the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award. His efforts to spread the word about global warming earned him, along with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel Peace Prize. His was a dire call to strenuous and difficult action.

Over the last year, however, the prophet of doom has become much more a prophet of possibility — even, perhaps, an optimist. Still an object of derision for the political right, Mr. Gore has seen support for his views rising within the business community: Investment in renewable energy sources like wind and solar is skyrocketing as their costs plummet. He has slides for that, too. Experts predicted in 2000 that wind generated power worldwide would reach 30 gigawatts; by 2010, it was 200 gigawatts, and by last year it reached nearly 370, or more than 12 times higher. Installations of solar power would add one new gigawatt per year by 2010, predictions in 2002 stated. It turned out to be 17 times that by 2010 and 48 times that amount last year.

...Mr. Gore is a less visible leader of the environmental movement in the United States. While he participated in the enormous march before the climate summit in New York City in September, he was not a focus of coverage. But his voice is still being heard, said Reed E. Hundt, a close friend of Mr. Gore who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission during the Clinton administration. “Give me the top three global leaders in opinion shaping climate change,” he says. “If you don’t put Gore in that group, I’d be surprised.” But being the lone voice, he adds, means “being a prophet without honor.”

More:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/17/science/the-new-optimism-of-al-gore.html

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