Energy Collective blog power policy climate - the conversation happens here

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gore Leaves Behind Inconvenient Truths and Issues Inspiring Call for a Clean Energy "Moon Shot"

By Alisha Fowler and Jesse Jenkins

Today, Al Gore became a major ally in the ongoing effort to build consensus around an investment-centered approach to solving our energy crisis and inspiring our nation to tackle the energy challenge as the defining task of our era.

Gore issued a truly ambitious challenge for America "to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years." The organization he leads, the Alliance for Climate Protection, estimates the cost of making such a "moon shot call" a reality at 1.5 to 3 trillion dollars of public and private investment over 30 years. He issued this call to "all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and every citizen."

We've personally found Gore's mostly fear-based focus on "inconvenient truths" and a politics of personal sacrifice lacked the inspiration and aspirational qualities we hear in the young energy activists and visionary leaders that inspire us on a daily basis. But Gore's bold new take on the energy and climate challenge is the public call we have been issuing ourselves -- and waiting for. The energy challenge can and will be the "lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America," Gore said today. Exactly!

While Gore's rallying cry was strong, the details of his plan remain vague. Perhaps that was his strategy. Gore can be on many teams with the words he used today, at least initially.

What will Gore turn to in order to spark the trillions of dollars of investment this transformation push for a clean energy future will cost? Will he simply call for a more severe and therefore politically untenable carbon tax -- today's speech included language calling for the implementation of a carbon tax -- or will he support a new multi-pronged strategy that would feature investment at its core as well as a lower, politically feasible carbon price. If he chooses the latter, we are united!

What is clear is that Gore's words open up space for the next president to boldly address our energy challenge. Gore's ambitious call for trillions of dollars in investment over 30 years makes a presidential call for government investment of several hundred billion dollars in clean energy technology over ten years seem far more conservative.

While Gore's speech still contained the familiar apocalyptic undertones that pervaded "An Inconvenient Truth," the substance of his speech was truly inspiring. Gore's position has moved from one centered around personal sacrifice and inconvenient truths, to an inspirational call for our nation to band together and tackle our energy challenge head-on.

You can watch Gore's speech on YouTube here and read the full text of his speech here.


Sean said...

It seems that Mr. Gore has changed his marketing message. While he still makes multiple claims that are a little hard to substantiate, he doesn't seem to be making the wild claims he did in An Inconvenient Truth (see

Now, Mr. Gore is taking the energy independence tactic. This is much more realistic and more people are likely to make "sacrifices" for the sake of energy independence if we state that we have to break away from the Mideast and destroy their power over us. He seems to put a lot of his reliance on solar energy though and we should probably include nuclear and hydrogen in that discussion.

Alisha Fowler said...

Thanks for your comment Sean.

I agree that a message of energy freedom and tapping into human innovation throughout our society will be SO much more effective than a message chock full of scary and inconvenient truths, sacrifice.

I loved the part where he issued this call to "all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and every citizen."

I also am looking forward to seeing how he fleshes out the details, if he actually does that, or if he leaves it to the next president to do so. As a general rallying cry, his message yesterday kicked ass :)

Anonymous said...

I agree that what he is saying is inspiring. Entrepreneurs and businesses don't need inspiring words, they need realistic, streamlined regulation.

Environmentalists and bureaucrats need to refrain from stopping any and every idea that comes along. Governments need to set broad standards and get out of the way. Instead of the government taxing us to death, they need to let the market do what it does best and more tax dollars will roll into the coffers from the profits generated as well as the jobs created.

I have read about wind power blocked in Massachusetts and South Texas, water power being challenged in California and clean coal blocked everywhere.

Environmentalist need to become part of the solution. Clean abundant energy not only helps the US, it benefits all people around the world. It takes energy to create everything.

Jesse Jenkins said...

I apologize for the image of Gore that appeared here originally. Someone apparently hacked the image and modified it to make a smear on Gore. The result was most definitely NOT the image of Gore I wanted to convey on my blog. My apologies that it took me a little while to catch the change.

Jesse Jenkins, blogmaster, WattHead - Energy News and Commentary

Anonymous said...

Global warming in a hoax. Surprised such an enlightened crowd would fall for it.

Global Warming is 20 years old. It was 20 years ago that we were first warned about AGW. How much have we warmed since then?

BZZZZT. It has actually cooled slightly.

CO2 consists of 396 Parts Per Million in the atmosphere. 97% of that comes from natural sources. You know, the carbon cycle. The earth is very busy converting carbon to carbon dioxide and back again. Plants, and the oceans (you know that three quarters of the planet where man does not live) convert co2 to carbon. Plants, and the animals that feed on them diodegrade and release the carbon back into the atmosphere.

It is a self regulating system. It is part of why life is possible on earth and why it has persisted for these millions of years.

CO2 consists of .03% of the atmosphere. Our 11 molecules of CO2 we are responsible for? .001%

You know what is responsible for 90% of global warming? water vapor. Yes, clouds. Why is know one talking about controlling the clouds?

For a group of people that seems to be surprisingly agitprop, (hatred of the current government, dislike for both of the current candidates for the leader of the next administration etc) you seem to willingly soak up anything journalists will throw your way.

Why are you not still discussing the previous media scares? The population bomb, coming Ice age, Aids epidemic, killer bees, fire ants, ebola virus, Y2K doom, homeless filling our streets (strike that - there was a post) designer flu epidemic of the year, disappearance of the amazon, landfills are full, all the trees disappearing (switch to plastic bags), plastic bags are killing all the fishes (switch back to paper bags)