Al Gore’s Speech: Why?

Here’s the video of Al Gore’s Speech yesterday on renewable energy targets. He wants us to hit 100% renewable and clean energy sources- anything but oil and coal, almost- in ten years.

So, given that he’s a civilian now, how is his speech supposed to make a difference? He’s got the We campaign going, and is a member of some big renewable energy business initiatives, but he’s not even looking to be VP. While you don’t have to be in government to change the way Americans think and act about the energy and climate crisis- actually, for the past 7 years, the government’s avoided any impact on that at all- but to get what he wants done, as quickly as he wants, would be possible only with some sort of government intervention.  Total energy transformation doesn’t happen in 10 years without mandates.

Andy Revkin, in his NYT Dot Earth blog, says that Gore meant the challenge to enlarge the kinds of goals our presumptive nominees might discuss.  Given that one nominee isn’t talking much about energy transformation, and the other loses a little more of his conservative base whenever he does, this seems misplaced.  But, the idea’s out there, and all candidate prodding on climate issues is good prodding.  Check out the speech transcript with some illuminating side notes by Revkin.

I think Gore’s real impact on climate change is going to be with his public information and organizing campaigns, and more quietly in his renewable energy investments.  But I’m glad he’s working on getting the government involved, too.

PS:  The man’s been working out!  He looks pretty healthy now in the video.  Good for him.

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