Al Gore to argue link between dirty energy and dirty weather

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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May, 9, 2012. SALT brings together public policy officials, capital allocators, and hedge fund managers to discuss financial markets.

OTTAWA – Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore will try to make the case next week that “dirty energy” is contributing to what he calls “dirty weather” events around the world.

“Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come,” Gore wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Huffington Post. “We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.”

Gore will deliver his message on Nov. 15 through a new presentation in New York as part of his Climate Reality Project, to be broadcast on the Internet. The initiative was launched last year as a 24-hour event with slide-show presentations from around the world, highlighting the latest news about human influence on global warming.

Maggie Fox, the CEO of the project, said that although scientists cannot link global warming to specific storms, there is evidence warmer temperatures and oceans make storm systems stronger, leading to devastating impacts such as those caused by Sandy in the United States and Canada.

According to a 2010 analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science in the U.S., nearly 98 per cent of the most-active climate change scientists in peer-reviewed journals support evidence that human activity is causing global warming.

This evidence says that heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal – and land-use changes are responsible.

“This is weather that is created by dirty energy, so it seems really important to name it,” Fox told Postmedia News. “Our goal is to build both grassroots and communications tools to empower people to see the reality.”

She said the project deliberately scheduled its event to be held after the U.S. elections to push it onto the agenda of the president, a few weeks before an annual United Nations climate change summit.

But she also noted that the superstorm, and other recent extreme weather events, droughts and wildfires, helped make it an issue that voters considered in the last days before the Nov. 6 vote.

In his victory speech Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that Americans want their children to live in a country that “isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

The Climate Reality Project event is slated to begin on Nov. 14 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, ending one day later with Gore’s new slideshow from New York. In the fourth hour, presenters will look at the impacts of climate change and recent events in British Columbia and the West Coast of North America. They will also discuss what’s happening in the Arctic and the world’s oceans over the next two hours.

Canadian participants who are part of Gore’s project also have several different presentations on climate change scheduled in the coming days in various cities.

Environment Canada recently offered its own minister, Peter Kent, a slideshow that highlights billions of dollars worth of losses caused by climate change, suggesting that the Harper government could discuss these impacts in public.

Fox said Gore’s presentation would also have some positive aspects that explore opportunities to reduce dependence on dirty energy and help stabilize greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere.
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