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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Al Gore brings 'Inconvenient Truth' to Athens

  • [01] Al Gore brings 'Inconvenient Truth' to Athens

    Former vice-president Al Gore arrived in Athens on Wednesday to sound the alarm over climate change and deliver his blockbuster slide show to a captive Athenian audience.

    The lecture was held in two packed auditoriums at the Megaron Mousikis in Athens, one live and the other on video relay, and embellished with references to Thermopylae and Archimedes, as well as the most recent compelling evidence of global warming that has emerged since the release of the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" that was based on the original slide show - including fears of what he called a "tipping point" created by the release of CO2 currently frozen in the Siberian tundra and Alaska.

    In an earlier press conference, Gore had referred to climate change as a "planetary emergency" and stressed that there was now strong evidence that humankind had no more than 10 years in which to reverse this crisis.

    "Though hard on our ears, this is unfortunately an accurate description of what we are facing. It is a challenge to our moral imagination and our ability to rise to meet this challenge is essential, it will determine the future of human civilisation," Gore stressed.

    Humanity was rapidly approaching a point of no return, beyond which the ability to retrieve the favourable conditions that made human civilisation possible would be forever lost, the former U.S. vice-president said, adding that this could only be avoided by acting quickly.

    While conceding that this was currently "outside and beyond the realm of what is considered politically possible," he also underlined that this had to change:

    "We have to expand the limits of what is politically possible and the best way to do this is to spread knowledge of what is happening," Gore told reporters.

    In strong criticism of the current U.S. administration, including a statement that the war on Iraq was "a huge mistake", he underlined the need for the United States to provide leadership on climate change issues and ratify the Kyoto Treaty, while he also outlined proposals to bring forward the signature of a new, tougher protocol by 2010 at which the biggest offenders - including the U.S., China and India - would be brought on board.

    He was also pessimistic about the results of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, though complimenting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on her efforts.

    "I am not among those who viewed the outcome on the global environment G8 summit as a success," Gore told reporters. He stressed that, in his view, "the slight change in tone at Heiligendamm amounts to nothing. Actually worse than nothing because it may have created a false impression in some people that it was something."

    Answering questions about his role as chairman of the fund management firm Generation Investment Management, Gore also used the opportunity to present a position that environment and business were not incompatible, stressing that an environmental perspective in business made good sense if one went about it the right way.

    Pointing out that pollution was waste and an unnecessary spending of money on resources that cost money, Gore argued that cutting down on pollution actually saved money, made businesses more efficient and helped uncover inefficiencies that would otherwise go unnoticed, so that companies actually become more profitable by reducing pollution.

    He stressed the need for businesses, politics and the media to break away from short-term thinking that distorted priorities and "moved away from sensible decisions".

    Gore - who described himself in his lecture as a "recovering politician" - also made it clear that he did not intend to run in the next U.S. presidential election, stressing in response to questions that "I don't expect to be a candidate again because I am now involved in a different kind of campaign."

    At another point he emphasised that, while he had not ruled out his return to politics, "I don't expect to be and have no plans to do so".

    Stating that he had realised that "there are other ways to serve", he said he hoped to lift public awareness on climate change issues so that whoever does run for president will face a demand from the people to take action, while he also emphasised a grassroots mobilisation in reply to other questions concerning the environmental priorities of any Democrat administration that might emerge in the U.S.

    Above all, he emphasised that he did not see the climate change problem as a primarily political issue, stressing that it was a moral and ethical issue and one of the most immediate problems that faced the nations of the earth, whether rich or poor.

    CAPTION: Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore speaking to reporters during a press conference held in Athens on Wednesday, June 13 2007, shortly before delivering his famous slide show. ANA-MPA/KATERINA MAVRONA

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