Al Gore speaking to delegates at the Copenhagen climate conference is hardly big news in green circles, but the former VP and No. 1 climate crusader did manage to make a bit of news with his remarks Tuesday.
First, he talked optimistically about there being sufficient votes in the U.S. Senate to pass a climate and energy bill, and he urged senators to pass their version of the legislation by April 22, 2010 — the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Second, Gore said the climate crisis is too severe for the world to wait a whole 12 months before meeting again to try to finalize a global deal. COP16 is scheduled for December 2010 in Mexico; Gore called on the United Nations and its member countries to move that date up to July.
Bits and pieces of the speech are beginning to show up on YouTube. Here’s one segment:
The Bella Center, where Gore spoke, remains off limits to many credentialed press and NGO staff, so Grist’s Amanda Little wasn’t able to attend. But here are some excerpts from Gore’s speech that she obtained from his staff:
The decisions made here in Copenhagen will powerfully determine the shape and nature of the future generations will inherit from us. Even though they are not present in this room, we must all make room for them in our hearts. We have three days to avoid a failure here that would delay the actions necessary to save their prospects. A delay at this point could call into question the viability of this undertaking, we cannot allow Copenhagen to become Doha.
Now that global civilization is interconnected on every continent as never before, we must reclaim our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption. More is at stake in these negotiations than some seem to realize. The future of human civilization is now threatened. We have the means to secure our future. The question we must answer is whether or not we have the political will.
As a citizen of the United States, and no more, I will ask those among my fellow citizens who share my sense of urgency to join in asking President Obama and the leadership of the United States Senate to set a deadline of April 22, 2010-the 40th anniversary of Earth Day-for final action of US legislation.
As a member of the world community, and no more, I would ask those of you here, who share my sense of urgency to join me in asking for an early date for the next meeting of Ministers and Heads of State. We cannot wait until next November. I propose that we meet in July, in Mexico City.
But in order to make that meeting a success, we first must make this meeting a success. And that means finding for the issues that are still in contention here including the scale of financial support that is forthcoming from developed countries and the measures necessary to give the world community confidence that the pledges made here will be honored. We need transparency on both mitigation and financing. The world community should know that pledges of new support cannot be honored by repositioning support previously agreed to and simply re-characterized. At the same time, it is difficult for me to understand why the world should not also ask for the ability to see for itself whether or not pledges of mitigation from the largest global warming polluters in the world, those most responsible for future threats to the integrity to the earth’s ecological system, are commitments that are in fact being honored.
We must remember that we are all in this together. The world is filled with unfairness and inequity, but these problems will only be exacerbated if we fail to solve this crisis.
Sometimes a challenge in both politics and diplomacy is about trying to reconcile positions when both positions are correct while both are opposing.