Gore Issues Challenge to Repower America: 100% Clean Energy in 10 Years

2008-07-17 12:44:00

    Unprecedented Proposal on Energy and Climate

    Commitment to Clean Energy Future Will Expand Economic Opportunity,

Address Energy, Climate and National Security Concerns

    WASHINGTON, July 17 /EMWNews/ -- To reset the way

Americans think about the energy future and the climate crisis, former Vice

President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore issued a bold challenge

Thursday: that 100 percent of U.S. electricity production come from sources

with zero carbon emissions within 10 years.

    Gore also clearly made the case that the biggest problems we are facing

right now are connected and must be solved together. "We are borrowing

money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that

destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change," Vice President Gore


    "But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard," Gore

continued, "all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find

that we are holding the answer to all of them right in our hand. The answer

is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels. I'm convinced that one reason

we've seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer

old solutions to each crisis separately -- without taking the others into

account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective --

they almost always make the other crises even worse."

    In the speech hosted by the "We" Campaign, Gore challenged all

Americans to solve America's economic, environmental and national security

crises by rallying behind a single, comprehensive objective.

    "This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents

a challenge to all Americans -- in every walk of life: our political

leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers and every citizen," said


    Among the dangers in not creating a new energy infrastructure, Gore

said, is that fuel prices will continue to rise and weaken the U.S.

economy. He encouraged Americans to not accept the solutions of the past,

like drilling for more oil.

    Gore described the following as components of meeting this challenge:

    -- The growing wind and solar sectors need to be expanded through

continued investment and innovation.

    -- Other renewables should be added to the mix -- geothermal and solar

thermal with storage capability -- and we should start planning for that


    -- The greatest gains can be made in energy efficiency. For instance,

existing technologies can raise household efficiency by 30 percent.

    -- America must invest in a Unified National Grid that would link every

household and move cost-effective renewable electricity from places where

the supply is vast to where the power is needed most.

    -- We should retain the existing fossil fuel-free energy production

from nuclear and hydroelectric power.

    -- We must learn to safely store and capture carbon from coal and gas.

Until then, these fossil fuels cannot be "clean."

    Cathy Zoi, CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, which is

coordinating the nearly 1.4 million-strong "We" Campaign, noted that Gore

has laid down a bold yet achievable goal, and that the only thing missing

was the political will. She vowed to focus the energy and resources of the

"We" Campaign behind this effort.

    "This is ambitious and achievable," Zoi said, "but in order to make it

work, all Americans need to come together. Investors and innovators must

continue to develop solutions and bring them to market. Businesses can lead

by example, improving efficiency and supporting policy changes in the right

direction. Political leaders -- at every level -- must commit to this goal

and see it through. And individuals must press their leaders for change."

    In the speech Gore noted that Americans had proven before that they can

rise to a transformational challenge within a decade.

    "When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on

the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we

could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong

and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon," Gore said.

    A variety of voices spoke out in support of Vice President Gore's


    Noting that this is a non-partisan issue that all Americans need to get

behind, former Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert added, "Meeting

this challenge is not a political issue; it is a fundamental issue about

our economic future. This plan would provide real stability to the American

economy for the next generation. Once we make the initial capital

investments, the fuel is free and no other country or group can restrict

our access to it. Renewable fuels -- sun, wind, geothermal -- are free;

they're not traded on the global market so they are not subject to huge

spikes in price. This is the kind of economic security American families

want and deserve."

    Calling Gore's challenge both "audacious" and "timely," President of

the World Resources Institute Jonathan Lash said: "Imagine our future and

our children's future if we seize the moment. We need to change the debate

in this country from what we can't do to what we can do. America has led

every major technological shift in the last 100 years, and we can lead the

next one as well. The problem is not technology, it is political will."

    Author and climate activist Bill McKibben said: "Finally a response to

both the science of climate and the economics of energy on a scale

commensurate with the problem. This is a plan that breaks us out of

muddling, temporizing stalemate and sets a clear path forward towards an

imaginable future. I'm not sure what prize you get once you've won the

Nobel, but this initiative deserves it."

    Dr. James Hansen, the director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space

Studies, added: "This is just what the doctor ordered: to cure our carbon

addiction and stimulate the economy."

    Meeting this challenge, Dr. Hansen said, "would be the turning point

that is needed to lead the world to a stable climate."

    At the end of his remarks, Gore asked all Americans to answer the call

of history.

    "Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we've simply lost

our appetite for bold policy solutions," Gore said. "And folks who claim to

know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget

about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is

contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I've got to admit, that

sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I've begun to hear

different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby

steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different

and bold approach."

    "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," Gore concluded.

    About the "We" Campaign:

    The "We" Campaign is a commercial-scale organizing and mobilizing

effort using paid advertising, grassroots partnerships and online

activation to build strong support for solutions to the climate crisis. The

scale of the campaign is unprecedented: it is on track to be the largest

public policy advocacy campaign ever and expects to reach 10 million

members within three years. "We" is the work of the Alliance for Climate

Protection, a nonprofit group founded by Al Gore, who currently serves as

the chairman of the bipartisan board of directors. For more information,

please visit http://www.wecansolveit.org.

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