United States of Climate Change, Sightline
Climate Crisis Update: "The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more - if more is required -- the future of human civilization is at stake."
By Richard Power
Al Gore issued a challenge today to both presidential candidates, to the US mainstream news media, to the political establishment at every level, to the business community as a whole, and directly to each individual US patriot and citizen of the planet.
Gore is leading, and his plan is a real plan.
Unlike the 2050 date that some political leaders posture around, Gore's deadline of ten years from now is realistic, it reflects the dire urgency of the situation.
Who will embrace this plan? Who will even report it?
Imagine what would happen in this country if Sen. Obama embraced Gore's plan and called on Gore to run with him. Imagine what would happen if he called on Gore to return to the Vice Presidency in order to assume personal responsibility for implementing this plan over two terms in office. Of course, it is highly unlikely, and of course, there is no way Al Gore would want to be Vice President again, but this is an emergency, yes, a deepening crisis, and Gore knows the way out of it.
With Gore's strength and gravitas added to Obama's strength and newness, they would be unstoppable.
Please share these excerpts from Gore's remarks with your friends and colleagues, go to Gore's site and read the full text, and join the We Can Solve It wecansolveit.org campaign.
It is not too late, but it soon will be.
There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more - if more should be required - the future of human civilization is at stake. ...
In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.
What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?
We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.
And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.
The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.
But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation's problems, we need a new start.
That's why I'm proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It's not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.
Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.
This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.
A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here's what's changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power - coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal - have radically changed the economics of energy. ...
So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge - for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It's time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.
This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I'm asking you - each of you - to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at wecansolveit.org. We need you. And we need you now. We're committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.
On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy's challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.
I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket's engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.
We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.
Al Gore, 7-17-08
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.
To participate in the 350 campaign, click here.
Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.
To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.
For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
Want to join over one million people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.
Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.
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