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.
To learn more about the effects of climate change, read this Climate Change Guide page.
In this speech, Al Gore also states that we need to have a much greater sense of urgency. He states that he agrees with Greta Thunberg’s efforts to stop the construction of a new coal mine in Germany.
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