To save a world: Al Gore and global warming

August 11th, 2017

It was a religious revival, with Al Gore taking the role the prophet/high priest. Gore’s sincere passion for moving to renewable energy sources for the sake of the planet informs every moment of the documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Gore’s deep disdain for President Trump, along with his deep admiration for President Obama, provide the consistent points/counterpoints in the narrative.

The film also offers a fascinating peek into the Paris Climate Accord background. According to the documentary, it was Gore’s behind-the-scenes actions that ended up bringing all the signers to the table.

The nation of India was a major obstacle. They had a legitimate gripe. The more advanced Western countries have been polluting for 200 years in their longstanding efforts to modernize their countries and ensure that everyone has access to cheap and affordable energy. India deserves the same opportunity for its billions of citizens, a significant percentage with no current access to energy sources. They needed 400 new power plants ASAP.

Gore as hero in the fight against global warming

The film shows Gore as the sole broker for a deal with a wealthy solar energy innovator to gift the technology to India. No charge, nothing. All those millions spent in design and development handed over to the Indian government, lock, stock and barrel. Of course, they signed.

And Gore was the hero.

Now, whether he was actually that heroic or not, I do want to say that I appreciate what Gore has done. His passion has helped move much of the world into far cleaner sources of energy than oil and coal.

We needed this. We need cleaner air; we need to reduce greenhouse gases. Gore has done spectacular work. I am personally grateful.

Greenland was once green, after all

However, I was troubled by an apparent lack of awareness that climate change has been going on forever. There have been multiple warming/cooling trends. Icebergs have advanced and receded long before we humans began fouling the planet.

The truth is: Greenland, long covered in ice, was once green. Yes, the ice there is melting. But it won’t be the first time. Yes, coastal areas are going to flood. But it won’t be the first time. Yes, we see massive rains and flooded cities. But it won’t be the first time.

What it will be is the first time that there have been massive commercial developments in areas, like New Orleans, NYC and Miami, where the rising sea waters are going to bring untold damages.

What it will be is the first time that the world can see firsthand reports of the damage.

What it will be is the first time the cost in human lives will appall us because there are far more people now in these fragile and vulnerable areas.

Unquestionably human-made stuff accelerates the process. There are so many of us. The population keeps growing. We’ve poured, among other things, a lot of concrete. We’ve burned a lot of coal. We also have a huge number of cows, whose persistent release of methane gas into the atmosphere exacerbates the problem.

Gore’s gift to humanity

Thanks to people like Gore and others sensitive to the issue, a significant move is in the making to find cleaner and more renewable sources of energy. Many of us breathe better, literally, because of their dedication.

These are real quality of life movement in positive directions, a giant gift to all humanity.

But no matter what we do to slow the process — and we need to do all possible — we may have to assume the earth is undergoing a significant move toward warmer temperatures. We’re all going to have to adapt. Doing so using cleaner energy is good for all of us. But we can’t ultimately stop what will happen if the earth is indeed in a warming phase.

Like it or not, nature still wins. But people are incredibly creative. We’ll find our way through this. Lord willing, we’ll do less damage to the planet, not more, in the future.

 Christy Thomas blogs at Patheos.

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