Quote of the Day: Al Gore on Climate Change Leadership, Montreal Protocol


All of the market initiatives are incredibly important. The market allocates more money in one hour than all of the governments allocate over a year's time. But governments set the rules of the road and determine how markets allocate capital and make decisions. And there should be no mistake that this crisis, the climate crisis, is not going to be solved only by personal action and business action. We need changes in laws; we need changes in policies; we need new leadership and we need a new treaty. We need a mandate at Bali during the first 14 days of December this year to complete a treaty not by 2012 but by 2009, and put it completely into force by 2010. We can do it and we must do it. ...

We face a genuine planetary emergency, we cannot just talk about it, we have to act on it, we have to solve it, urgently. ... Last week the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of a great success story. A hole in the ozone layer was discovered in 1985. And then, in the following year and a half, action took place. Some people said voluntary action will solve it; businesses will take the initiative. The Secretary of the Interior at that time said voluntary measures like wearing more sunglasses and floppy hats was the answer. But Secretary of State George Schultz and others in President [Ronald] Reagan's administration convinced him that he had to take the lead, that it wasn't an ideological or political issue, and Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill joined hands and listened to the scientists—they didn't censor them—and the world in 1987 decided on a treaty that is putting us well on the path of solving that crisis. They said it would be too expensive; it has been much cheaper, in fact many companies have made money in the transition, and the same thing will be true of the climate crisis. ...

I would like to call on President Bush to follow President Reagan's example and listen to those among his advisers who know that we have to have binding reductions in CO2; we have to put a price on carbon, and the United States of America has to lead the world to solve the climate crisis."

Al Gore, former vice president of the Untied States, in the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, 26 Sept. 2007

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