Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States and the winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for spreading awareness about climate change, made a fiery speech at the World Economic Forum on January 18, 2023.
He conveys that although there is progress, the reality is that we are not moving fast enough to combat climate change. In terms of the positive news, he highlighted the Inflation Reduction Act passed in the United States, which invested hundreds of billions of dollars on climate action. He also mentioned how elections in Australia and Brazil changed their climate policies, so there is some positive momentum. Moreover, he stated how 90% of new electricity generated worldwide last year was renewable and renewable electricity is the cheapest form of electricity for almost every country. He also mentioned how electric vehicles are much more popular than they used to be.
However, Al Gore quotes the UN Secretary-General that we are not currently winning as emissions are still going up despite all the talks in the last few years. He explains how the atmosphere is very thin, and humanity is putting 162 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution into it every single day. Al Gore further mentions that this is the equivalent of trapping as much heat as would be released by approximately 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs daily.
All this extra heat is having severe impacts. This includes:
more severe floods and droughts
more powerful storms
melting glaciers and ice sheets
rising sea levels
Al Gore emphasizes that there could be over 1 billion environmental refugees due to climate change in this century which would be devastating.
A new study shows that the fossil fuel company Exxon “predicted global warming correctly and skilfully” in the 1970s and 1980s but deceived the public for decades in order to protect its profits. This is very similar to what the tobacco industry has done; they were aware that cigarettes were causing severe health problems but lied to the public for decades.
If you want to know more about this topic, I recommend reading this article and also watching the documentary “Merchants of Doubt.”
As a society, we need to do what we can to diminish disinformation and raise awareness about important issues such as climate change. Else, all of humanity and the millions of species on Earth will be severely affected.
In his show “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” Jon Stewart did a great segment about climate change. An important point mentioned here is that the idea of “reducing your carbon footprint” was a highly successful advertising campaign from BP, British Petroleum, one of the world’s largest oil companies. The idea is that if people blame themselves for climate change they are less likely to take action against the fossil fuel industry. An important article from the Guardian explains how “Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report.”
Another important point is that American politicians have said that they were taking the issue of climate change seriously for decades but are not acting fast enough. Republican President George H.W. Bush spoke about climate change in the 1990s.
Also, there is an article from NPR that discusses the issue of plastic recycling. It is mentioned in this article that “Analysts now expect plastic production to triple by 2050.” Also, Jon Stewart mentions a quote which is also found in this article. From the article:
“If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment.”
Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry, known today as the Plastics Industry Association and one of the industry’s most powerful trade groups in Washington, D.C., told NPR.
Here is a video I found that is quite interesting. The video was published on October 25, 2022, on WIRED’s YouTube channel.
Climate scientist Dr. Peter Kalmus answers the internet’s burning questions about our planet. Are there any other planets we can live on yet? Why is the coral reef dying? How does the carbon cycle work? How much longer until Florida is underwater? Dr. Kalmus answers all these questions and much more.