Al Gore

Al Gore.

Al Gore, one of the headline speakers this evening at Mile High Stadium, spoke at length about the challenges of climate change and energy. “We are facing a planetary emergency, which is not like anything we have experienced in the history of humankind,” he said.

Gore emphasized that there’s a common answer to the triple threats of climate change, the economic crisis, and the energy crunch. “The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fossil fuels,” he said. “We need to invest in innovation … I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out to tackle that.”

While he praised John McCain’s past efforts on climate change, Gore said the Republican candidate has “now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning mandatory caps on planet-warming carbon.” He accused McCain of “promoting the same policies” as the Bush administration. “I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.”

“The carbon-based industries have a 50-year lease on the Republican Party and they’re drilling it for all its worth,” Gore said, arguing that the industries control GOP policies “lock, stock, and barrel after barrel.”

Gore said Obama’s wisdom and experience have “taught him something that career politicians often overlook — that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.” Gore expressed confidence that Obama would provide “solutions for the climate crisis.”

Gore also mulled over his own loss in the presidential election eight years. In 2000, he said, many in the country thought that the election didn’t matter, that the candidates were virtually the same. But now, he said, “I doubt anyone would say it didn’t matter.” If he had been president, “We would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving the climate crisis.”

Here’s a transcript of Gore’s speech.