Gore on Ban, Barack, and Bali

by John Anthony, Energy and Climate Communications Director, UN Foundation, writing from the UN climate summit in Poznan, Poland

Al Gore just concluded his address to the conference, wrapping up by parroting the Obama campaign’s slogan “Yes we can,” as it relates to the prospects of achieving a new emissions reduction treaty.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • China is ready to act – nobody in the present Congress is saying China is the obstacle
  • Praised Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his proposed Green New Deal, to both develop and implement clean energy technology, but also foster sustainable forms of development and lift global markets out of their recession.
  • Praised Brazil’s pledges to avoid deforestation, and the integration of forest protections into framework
  • Highlighted state and local action in the U.S. as reasons for optimism.
  • Cheered grassroots activism, which has led to the cancellation of dozens of planned coal power plants.
  • Cited two recent Supreme Court decisions which indicate that global warming is a threat to public health, and that carbon dioxide must be regulated by the EPA.

After hitting on political, legal, and grassroots themes, Gore then turned his attention to the recent president election results in the U.S.He reminded delegates of his request one year ago this month, in Bali, Indonesia, to believe that significant change was possible with a certain electoral outcome just eleven months from that point.

“I told you in Bali to consider US changes in the executive branch,” Gore said.

He then proceeded to recount his meeting and discussion with president-elect Obama on Tuesday of this week.

“I have just met with Obama earlier this week and I assure you that is the case,” Gore said.

He then read out several of Obama’s recent statements on the pressing need to confront global warming:

“‘The time for delay is over. The time for denial is over. We all believe what scientists have been telling us for years now. The science is beyond dispute. The facts are clear.

My presidency will mark a new chapter on leadership on climate change.'”

Gore dove back into the details calling for an end to the North-South divide, reform of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, and for nations to contribute to adaptation funds.

Echoing a call he made from Bali, Gore implored heads of state to meet often between now and Copenhagen.