Al Gore speaking at the Clinton
Global Initiative in New York.
Sep, 2008 - Matthew Knight - CNN
Former vice president and environmental
campaigner Al Gore has urged young people to protest
against new coal-fired power plants that don't use
carbon capture and storage technology.
Speaking at the opening plenary session
of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in
New York, Gore said: "If you're a young person looking
at the future of this planet and looking at what is
being done right now, and not done, I believe we have
reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience
to prevent the construction of new coal plants that
do not have carbon capture and sequestration."
Gore, whose words were met with cheers
and applause, believes that the world has fallen behind
in tackling climate change in the last year. "This
is a rout," he said. "We are losing badly."
The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner went
on to heap criticism on what he described as "carbon
companies" who "spend money convincing the stock-buying
public that the risk from the global climate crisis
is not that great". He argued that this amounted to
"a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting
a material fact".
Unlike oil, proven coal reserves are
plentiful. The World Coal Institute estimates reserves
will last at least 150 years. Coal currently provides
25 percent of world energy needs, generating 40 percent
of the world's electricity. In an era of expensive
and insecure energy, coal remains a cheap and secure
energy source for governments all over the world.
But Gore, who said that "clean coal" was like "healthy
smoking", is convinced that we need to change our
"What we should do is make a one off
investment to switch our energy infrastructure from
one that depends on fuel that is dirty, dangerous,
destroying the habitability of this planet and rising
in price, to a new global energy infrastructure that
is based on fuel that is free forever -- the sun,
the wind and geothermal. There is a myth that the
technology is not available. It is available," he
He called on the United States and
other countries to install unified national transmission
grids and make renewable energy available to all.
"If the coal companies can actually
sequester CO2, and safely, then ok," Gore said. "But
don't pretend to do it. Don't give us this illusion.
"We have a responsibility to those who
come after us and those who are suffering today, to
knit together a global commitment to solve this climate
crisis and use it as a way to stimulate the economy."