Al Gore spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this past Wednesday about key legislation that needs to be passed to control climate problems. The Inconvenient Truth author gave a brief slide presentation showing how today’s emissions could lead to a temperature rise of up to 7.5 degrees over the next 100 years.
As Time reports, Gore has been given a backseat in the past, but committee members today are listening to what he has to say.
“Climate change will be increasingly central to our foreign policy,” says committee chair John Kerry. While it is unsurprising that Democrats like Kerry are supporting Gore’s message, even many Republicans on the committee have been quick to praise the former Vice President.
This is the first time Gore has appeared before Congress in nearly two years. He encouraged senators to address global warming with new legislation that would reward those investing in renewable energy and the construction of a new energy grid. And farther into the future he hopes the Senate will move away from focusing on “clean coal” and instead pass legislation that will create a market-based cap and trade program and promote renewable energy programs.
When Republicans pressed Gore on the issue of nuclear power (which emit no greenhouse gasses), he was skeptical that the industry will be able to expand to a degree that makes it possible to replace current coal energy systems.
He also noted that Congress needs to plan for job replacement programs for those who may be pushed out of a job as a result of more efficient energy use. (Gore has declared in the past that energy programs could help to stimulate the job market.)
He pressed for Congress to consider the environment as part of the larger economic solution.