A certain group is going to be upset with him. At least he didn't say climate change was the holocaust of the earth.
Al Gore today compared the battle against climate change with the struggle against the Nazis.
The former US Vice President said the world lacked the political will to act and invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill by encouraging leaders to unite their nations to fight climate change.
He also accused politicians around the world of exploiting ignorance about the dangers of global warming to avoid difficult decisions.
Speaking in Oxford at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment , sponsored by The Times, Mr Gore said: “Winston Churchill aroused this nation in heroic fashion to save civilisation in World War II.”
He added: “We have everything we need except political will but political will is a renewable resource.”
Mr Gore admitted that it was difficult to persuade the public that the threat from climate change was as urgent as the threat from Nazi Germany.
“The level of awareness and concern among populations has not crossed the threshold where political leaders feel that they must change.
“The only way politicians will act is if awareness raises to a level to make them feel that it’s a necessity.”
Mr Gore, who brought the issues around climate change to a mass audience with the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, said the great hope for the future lay in a high level of environmental awareness among young people.
He said sceptics who refused to believe dramatic cuts in carbon emissions could be delivered should consider the example of the young scientists in the Nasa team which put a man on the moon on 1969.
“The average age of scientists in the space centre control room was 26, which means they were 18 when they heard President Kennedy say he wanted to put a man on the moon in 10 years. Neil Armstrong did it eight years and two months later.”
He said future generations would put one of two questions to today’s adults.
“It will either be ’what were you thinking, didn’t you see the North Pole melting before your eyes, didn’t you hear what the scientists were saying?’ Or they will ask ’how is it you were able to find the moral courage to solve the crisis which so many said couldn’t be solved?’.”
Sir David King, the Government’s former chief scientist and now director of the Smith School, also berated politicians for failing to follow up their statements on climate change with a clear programme of action.
“I do think it’s relatively easy for a prime minister to make a speech on climate change which sounds committed and very much more difficult for that prime minister to persuade the Treasury to put the finance behind that commitment to make it a reality.
“There is a long distance in government between saying what you think needs to be said and then doing in terms of making budgets available.”
Sir David expressed disappointment that no senior British politician had taken up his invitation to address a conference attended by the world’s top climate scientists, senior business leaders and the presidents of the Maldives and Rwanda.
“I tried to pull in a lot of IOUs. But where was Lord Mandelson (the Business Secretary), where was Ed Miliband (the Energy and Climate Change Secretary)? Where was David Cameron? Where was William Hague?”
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