30 Minutes of Q&ATo promote 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report, which Brian wrote about yesterday, Al Gore stopped by Reddit to do an 'Ask Me Anything' Q&A session. Many topics were covered and Mr. Gore had thoughtful answers. He didn't answer everything, but he only had 30 minutes so that's understandable. Below, under the auto-tuned video (couldn't help including it here), are his answers related to the environment.
Q: For people that may be skeptical about global warming, what is the one undeniable scientific fact that you feel backs it up the most effectively?
Al Gore: There are at least 15 deeply researched separate lines of evidence that all confirm man-made global warming. They are all consistent, each with the others. Every National Academy of Science on the planet agrees with the consensus. The Academies describe the evidence as "indisputable". Every professional scientific society in every field related to climate science and earth science also agree. And 97-98% of climate scientists worldwide most actively publishing also agree. Animals and plants also agree -- in that they are moving their ranges by latitude and altitude to find climate niches similar to the ones in which they evolved. Even if you leave climate science completely out of it and just measure extreme temperatures, the statistical record of global temperatures shows that three-standard deviation events have increased from 0.25% of the time (from 1951-1980) to 10% of the time now. There is as strong a consensus as you will find in science, with the possible exception of the existence of gravity.
Q: Are you in favor of nuclear energy as a possible energy alternative for the future?
Al Gore: It will play a role, but probably a limited role. I think the waste issue can probably be solved, and Fukushima notwithstanding, the safety of operation issue an pobably be solved. But the cost is absurdly high and still rising. Moreover, if we model it as the path forward, and encourage developing countries to head down that road, we would create a massive security challenge. During the eight years I worked in the White House, every single nuclear proliferation threat we had to deal with was connected to a reactor program. The technologies are different, but if you are the dictator of a country that has a reactor program and a fuel cycle, you can secretly orde the same people to enrich the fuel to weapons-grade over time and build bombs. Bad outcome. New reactor designs hold promise but they are all at least 15 years away. Meanwhile, solar pv is riding a "Moore's Law Jr." costdown curve. Wind and efficiency too, though not as steep. We need to get to scale on renewables quickly and make the transition.
You can read the whole thing here: Al Gore's Reddit AMA