Former Vice President Al Gore on Sunday argued grassroots pressure is a “critical element” in curbing climate change in the coming year.
“It sounds dire, but it is dire,” Gore said Sunday during CNN’s “State of the Union” special episode, “A Climate Warning.”
“But again, the good news is we can reclaim control of our destiny if we summon up the political will and the courage and the moral courage to do it,” Gore said.
Quoting Jean-Claude Juncker, the former president of the European Commission, Gore said, “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to be reelected if we do it.”
“Well, this is why grassroots pressure — from people who understand how high the stakes are — is the crucial element,” he continued.
Gore, a longtime climate activist and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, ran unsuccessfully for the White House as the Democratic nominee in 2000. He later founded the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit organization that is working to end the climate crisis, in 2005.
Gore on Sunday said people are “rising up and demanding action,” pointing to a recent CNN poll that found 73 percent of U.S. adults said the federal government should develop its climate policies with the intention of slashing the country’s warming pollution in half by the end of the decade.
“We just have to break the political power that the fossil fuel industry exerted with its fixers and its lobbyists and its bags of money and its revolving-door colleagues,” Gore said.
Discussing record deadly heat waves, catastrophic floods, devastating wildfires and powerful storms, CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Gore what he believes 2024 will look like.
“Here’s the good news … if we stop adding to the overburden of these greenhouse gas pollutants in the sky, if we reach what they call ‘true net zero’ and stop adding to the heat-trapping capacity up there, the temperatures will stop going up right away,” Gore said.
Gore added these goals can be achieved if the “greed and political power of big fossil fuel polluters” can be overcome.
“It’s time for people at the grassroots level in every country to speak up,” Gore said. “We need to break through this blockade that the fossil fuel industry and the big petrostates have been using to block this process.”
Gore argued the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) “process” also needs be reformed with regards to its need for a unanimous consensus.
“If the president at COP decides that they don’t see any objections, then he declares there’s a consensus, and that’s why it’s so important that that person who’s in charge of the process not have a direct conflict of interest,” Gore said. “We have to make a decision to get past fossil fuels and start accelerating the shift over to renewable energy and efficiency.”
Gore earlier this month spoke out against the decision to make Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, CEO of the United Arb Emirates’s national oil and gas company, the host of the COP28 climate summit held earlier this month.
“They are abusing the public’s trust by naming the CEO of one of the largest and least responsible oil companies in the world as head of the COP,” Gore told Reuters in an interview at the conference in Dubai.
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