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Blog item: Gore's Speech, and the Response To It

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2 comments, last: Jul-26-2008   Add a comment   Author:  ScottCarlin (Jul-22-2008)    Play a Video
Categories: Economic/Financial, Global Warming, Renewable Energy Sources

Here is a summary of various discussion centered on the Al Gore speech of July 17th:

Gore Challenges the Nation to Dream Big. By Ron Fournier and Dina Cappiello, AP, July 17, 2008. "Just as John F. Kennedy set his sights on the moon, Al Gore is challenging the nation to produce every kilowatt of electricity through wind, sun and other Earth-friendly energy sources within 10 years, an audacious goal he hopes the next president will embrace.

[He] said fellow Democrat Barack Obama and Republican rival John McCain are 'way ahead' of most politicians [on the issue]. Rising fuel costs, climate change and the national security threats posed by U.S. dependence on foreign oil are conspiring to create 'a new political environment' that Gore said will sustain bold and expensive steps... 'I have never seen an opportunity for the country like the one that's emerging now,' [he] told AP in an interview previewing [the] speech he gave [at Constitution Hall in Washington] on Thursday.

In his speech, Gore said some of the nation's biggest success stories have come from making commitments to goals well beyond the next election, citing the Marshall plan for rebuilding Europe, Social Security and the interstate highway system, in addition to putting a man on the moon. 'A political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that's meaningless,' he said. 'Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit the target.'"

[Click here for text and video of Gore's speech. Our favorite excerpt: "America's transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship… Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make."]

DotEarth's Annotation of Gore's Speech. Posted by Andrew C. Revkin, DotEarth, NYTimes, July 17, 2008. "[Al Gore's speech in Washington yesterday]... represents quite a shift from his tight focus on the 'climate crisis' as the great challenge of our time. The prepared text is below. Some Democrats in Congress weren't thrilled with the timing, according to TheHill.com, given the focus now on pain at the pump. In a Times article on the speech...

Gore implied that his timetable and targets... were intentionally super-sized: 'I see my role as enlarging the political space in which Senator Obama or Senator McCain can confront this issue as president next year,' [he] said. Both presidential candidates responded [positively but in general terms] to the speech... Let's dive in and explore Mr. Gore's latest proposals on energy and climate through the document annotation method developed her over the last few months."

A Review of the Reaction. Posted by Sara Barz, Grist, July 17, 2008. "Al Gore stood up in Washington today to call on Americans to join a crusade for 100% renewable electricity use by 2018. The blogosphere's response? A golf clap and general round of nitpicking...

Some see the renewable energy goal as a touch impractical, and his beating of the carbon tax drum (1993 ... anyone? anyone?) irked plenty of conservatives – no surprise – and congressional Democrats on the grounds of poor timing as the American economy limps along. A roundup of reactions."

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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jul-26-2008)   Web site
It is indeed a lot of money -- but it would be invested in long-term infrastructure, not simply spent, and that is crucial. For example, T. Boone Pickens and his team estimated the cost of imported oil at $700 billion this year, repeated with price increases over the next ten years, or a total of $10 trillion. Well, that means that sometime within the 10 years of build-up the project will pay for itself and then keep earning/saving additional large sums. It meets the criteria of an excellent investment!
  
Comment by: City Worker (Jul-26-2008)   

According to "The Week" magazine, Marlo Lewis, in "National Reviiew Online" stated that it would take about $3 trillion to realize Gore's energy project. Seems like a hard sell.

  
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About author/contributor Member: ScottCarlin (Scott Carlin) ScottCarlin (Scott Carlin)

Member: ScottCarlin (Scott Carlin) I have been teaching Geography and Environmental Studies at Long Island University since 1993. I taught at LIU’s Southampton College and, more recently, the C.W. Post Campus. Most of my activities at LIU have related to sustainable development. In 2007 I initiated the Long Island Climate Solutions Network, http://www.licsn.org.

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