Why does the right bash Gore so much? Why is there an army of trolls spreading myths about Al Gore almost every time the topic of global warming comes up on a major media site? Because he's sooo good.
In my mind, former US Vice President Al Gore is without a doubt the best global warming communicator of which I'm aware. He's one of the best communicators on the left, in general. This is a great threat to fossil fuel billionaires who don't want to see us transition to a cleantech world. This is a great threat to people who want to doom the world to global climate chaos. Gore's forceful presentation at the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Ascent* proved that again. It was one of the most forceful presentations on the topic I've ever seen.
I recorded almost the entire presentation for others to view. It is broken into three parts and then a fourth impromptu question and answer. I strongly recommend watching the videos, but if you cannot watch the videos for some reason, following each video, I'm providing a brief summary of key points made by Mr Gore.
Mr Gore started off by emphasizing that we would address the global warming crisis. He quoted Wallace Stevens, who wrote, "After the last no comes a yes. And on that yes the future of the world depends." Interestingly, the next lines in that quotation, which were not quoted by Gore, were: "No was the night. Yes is the present sun." I know that wasn't the intention, but that makes for a good analogy between our fossil fuel history and rising solar power future (and, increasingly, our present).
But Gore didn't miss communicating the crisis we're in the midst of. He highlighted numerous shocking global warming facts, accompanied by graphs and other graphics. He noted that last month was the first time in the past millions of years that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million for an entire month. He showed the rapid acceleration of global temperatures in the past few decades. He highlighted that "13 of the 14 hottest years ever measured have been in this century." Furthermore, "last year was the 37th year in a row warmer than the 20th century average. Last month was the 350th month in a row warmer than the 20th century average." Extreme heat events are now 100 times more common than they were 30 years ago.
"Manmade global warming pollution is now trapping as much excess heat energy every day as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs being exploded every 24 hours." (You have to listen to the sound on that part for a more impactful effect.)
Gore then explained the relationship between Super Typhoon Nihon (the strongest typhoon ever to hit land, "almost like Sandy and Katrina combined") and warmer ocean temperatures. He made a similar link between Superstorm Sandy and warmer temperatures. On to the second video...
Continuing the link between warmer temperatures and extreme weather events, Gore linked the Pakistan floods that left 20 million people homeless. He noted the recent mudslides in Afghanistan, which have killed in the last 7 days more Afghans than were killed in the war during 2013. He also highlighted some wicked US events from the past week, but you really have to watch the videos for those.
He also made the connection between drought, food supply collapses, food price spikes, and social unrest.
But then he highlighted that, in the last year, 99.99% of all peer-reviewed papers mentioning climate change and all of the National Academies of Science agree that catastrophic climate change is happening and is caused by humans.
He also turned to the positives of clean energy. He noted that 79 countries have now reached solar grid parity. He noted that a 2002 projection estimated the world would have about 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar PV power capacity added per year by 2010, but we ended up having 17 times that much. Last year we exceeded the projection by 39 times. This year we will exceed it approximately 54 times. This is exponential growth.
He made the natural link with solar growth here to exponential growth we saw in computer chips, mobile phones, . The numbers are staggering, and a hint at what we are just beginning to see with solar.
Gore highlighted the wicked drop in solar PV costs, increases in quality, the choice being in the hands of consumers, and developing countries leapfrogging fossil fuel and nuclear technology.
In this third video, he gave a strong push to the people at Abu Dhabi Ascent to make strong action this weekend moving forward with global warming solutions "from the bottom up," a parallel effort in the UN that goes alongside the continued efforts to agree on a global climate agreement.
Gore then answered some questions from Sir Trevor McDonald, where he noted that we needed to "put a price on carbon in markets and put a price on denial in politics." Later on in the event, Sir Trevor McDonald and Gore had a second question-and-answer:
*Full Disclosure: Masdar is covering my trip to the UAE for Abu Dhabi Ascent.