Al Gore gave a talk at GWU tonight about his new book “Our Choice”. A friend got me an extra ticket to go, because she is rather fabulous. So, the full report: Gore’s looking pretty trim! And he signed books too, so somebody’s got a Christmas present coming (I’m going to read it first, of course). The book signing line was well regimented, with Gore just signing away and not talking too much- the only way to get hundreds of people through, I know, but it was pretty impersonal. I didn’t really have anything to say, though, (“I’ve been to Tennessee! You were cool on 30 Rock! I compost sometimes!”) so no biggie.
The talk itself: it was scienc-y. First time I’ve heard a politician (oh right he’s an activist now) refer to a photon like they could define it if pressed. He explained the six substances causing climate change, talked a little about a lot of ways to change energy, discussed the shape of the new smart grid… and I think the smart grid is really interesting so I spaced out a bit there to think about that and try to imagine if I could work on that in Planning, but then the speech got stirring! Gore’s warning of the impacts of climate change in an Inconvenient Truth have become a more coherent call to arms now. The book itself is a well-illustrated summary of the science behind climate change and a survey of the methods we can use to fix the problem, but it’s main message is that we have the technology to solve the problem, but not the political will. He (correctly, in my opinion) frames our reactions to climate change as the moral testing ground of our era.
The book just came out, and he was on The Daily Show last night explaining it to Jon Stewart. He used some of the same phrases, so you’ll get the gist of what I saw in the extended interview at Hulu.
Speaking of political will, the Senate climate bill got through the Environmental etc. committee session yesterday, despite all the Republicans on the committee stalling it with demands to find facts they wouldn’t listen to, and walking out of all the committee sessions on it. Took a fancy interpretation of the voting rules so of course Repubs are mad their bratty, irrational, obstructionist, and (oh my I should save some adjectives for describing Republicans the next time they pull such childish stunts) unprofessional behavior didn’t work out for them. But is it really steamrolling the minority opposition if the minority a) aren’t there and b) have stated no coherent opposition besides “no”? Not that the bill the Senate has is great, or even as good as the House’s. But they have a bill.
Al might approve. Check out the book, the pictures I saw so far looked pretty good. I’ll let you know how I like it when I finish it.