Al Gore has been (rightfully) yelling at us about the environment for well over a decade now and he seems to have no intention of letting it go. It’s been ten years since An Inconvenient Truth warned us about how the way we treat our planet is contributing to climate change (back then we were still calling it ‘global warming’). Did we heed Gore’s cryptic warnings that the planet is going to combust if we don’t make drastic changes? No, we didn’t. We kept driving our cars and using disposable coffee cups and running the tap while we brushed our teeth. Well, now Al Gore is back to give us more terrifying facts and hopefully actually change the world this time (or more like, stop the world from changing).
A lot can happen in ten years and the biggest environmental change has been an increased frequency in climate-related extreme events. A study by the Asian Development Bank has found a direct link between the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and the increase in hydrometeorological (water weather) disasters. So yeah, the rise in devastating hurricanes around the world is because of climate change, not something China made up.
According to Al Gore, the second biggest difference since the first film is actually a good thing. The end of the first movie had a lot of ‘ifs’ in it. Meaning, if we changed how we produce energy and lessened our carbon emissions, we could slow climate change. At the time, we didn’t have the means to do that (or they were way too expensive to be practical). Technological advancements in the decade since Truth came out have given us the tools to change how we get our power.
“The cost of electricity from solar and from wind has come down so rapidly,” Gore told Your Morning. “It’s amazing. And in much of the world, the price has gone below the price of electricity from fossil fuels and soon it will be much lower everywhere.”
“The Paris Agreement was a historic breakthrough,” he continued, with a little shout-out to Canada. “Justin Trudeau and his team helped to bring it about, by the way. They were a very positive force in Paris. Virtually every nation in the world has agreed to go to net-zero global warming pollution by half-way through this century.”
The Paris Agreement binds all but three of the world’s nations to work toward lessening CO2 emissions over the next few decades. The goals of the agreement were based on scientific evidence that if the planet’s overall temperature were to increase by two degrees, we would see devastating and irreversible consequences. The U.S., under the direction of Donald Trump, pulled out of the agreement earlier this year.
“Even though Donald Trump tried to pull out, so many of our governors and mayors and business leaders have said, ‘We’re still in the Paris Agreement. We’re going to meet the commitments regardless of what Trump does.”’
After the States pulled out of the agreement, there was concern that it would create a precedent that would start a mass exodus from the deal. The reality was quite the opposite with many countries coming out to reaffirm their commitment to the agreement and some (most notably, India) even moved up their own timelines for decreasing carbon emissions.
“We can solve this,” Gore says. “We need the political will but will is a renewable resource and we’re seeing an upsurge in activism.” So how can we all contribute to saving the planet?
“Learn about it,” is Gore’s advice. “Go to this movie; it will give you all the facts you need on the problem, the solutions and what you can do.”
“Then use your voice: win the conversations on climate. Use your vote: communicate to any candidate that approaches you and any elected official that represents you that this is important to you. Use your participation as a consumer to make the climate-friendly choices. That sends a powerful signal to the business community.”
So it looks like we know what we’re going to be seeing this month. Maybe we’ll bring a pen and notebook too, just in case.