Al Gore on Letterman: "I'd Vote for An Asteroid"

Chalk it up to me being a skeptical Canadian usually unimpressed by American TV, but I was really surprised by the quality of Al Gore's appearance on Letterman last night.

Over what must have been close to 15 minutes Gore and Letterman talked about everything from how extremely vulnerable human society is to shifts in climate and the importance of a significant agreement in Copenhagen, to the links of women's education and population stabilization, and the fact that we are currently living through the 6th great extinction in the history of the planet.

(On that Letterman quipped "I'd vote for an Asteroid [like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs] at least that would be exciting.")

[I'll post some video once something decent comes up on Youtube. For now there is this.]
[UDPATE: Here's that Video]

The one message that Late Show viewers went to bed with was that the benefits of good climate change policy go way beyond the environmental. Besides protecting the only planet that we've got, they also reduce vulnerability to foreign owned sources of energy and can help anchor a true rebuilding of the American (and global) economies:

Gore: "We should be relying on American renewable energy that's available right here at home. And we can create millions of green jobs retrofitting houses, installing solar and geothermal energy... and those are jobs that can't be outsourced somewhere else."

Not all of Gore's points made it to their most important punchlines though, so here are a few elaborations:

-- He talked about coral bleaching and ocean acidification, but the clincher (for humans at least) is the impact that that is going to have on fisheries and ocean food supplies.

-- Flooding of lowland communities in Egypt and Asia are a concern, but most especially so when you start to think about the impacts that that will have on migration patterns (i.e. so what is being called "climate refugees".

-- The millions of people who could be displaced within the USA itself also could have used a mention. (It's not just other parts of the world that are vulnerable).

-- Ditto for the impact of water shortages on agricultural production in places like the Middle East. North America also faces a potentially drastic reduction in its agricultural production if we warm by over 4c (which doesn't seem so unlikely any more).

--He also talked about the fact that with women's education and empowerment population growth rates are declining. But beyond that, it needs to be mentioned that population itself is not the problem. It's the fact that a very small percentage of the world gobbles up an incredibly large percentage of its resources.

Gore's new book Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (which I have yet to read) came out yesterday.


1 Response to "Al Gore on Letterman: "I'd Vote for An Asteroid""

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