Big Story 10

'Ingenuity and technology' key to tackling global warming, says Al Gore

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - It is not too late for countries to tackle global warming, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday, a day after the United Nations warned that the world was battling against time to contain rising temperatures.

Gore, who won an Oscar and shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, said “ingenuity and technology” were key to capping the emissions that cause global warming.

“Are we doomed to destroy ourselves? I refuse to believe that,” Gore said at an event in Delhi, the capital of India, which is the third biggest polluter in the world.

“We have limitations ... but we also have the ability to transcend those limitations. Perhaps never with the speed necessary as now, as the IPCC alerted us again yesterday. But we do have the capacity.”

To accelerate change, he said countries must overcome paralysis on curbing emissions, otherwise “we are headed toward 3- to 4 degree Celsius increase, which is associated with such utter catastrophes”.

On Monday, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report saying temperatures were likely to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current pace.

It urged rapid, unprecedented changes in the way people use energy to eat, travel and live to meet 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, rather than the 2C target agreed at global climate talks in Paris in 2015.

“Some people are prone to go straight from denial to despair without pausing on the intermediate step of actually solving the crisis that is threatening the future of our civilization,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord last year, invoking concerns for the economy, and has espoused pro-fossil fuel policies. But states, led by California, and many cities are living up to their commitments.

India, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by a third by 2030 with tougher emission norms, more electric vehicles and giant solar power plants to replace energy generated by coal.

But scientists say current government commitments under the Paris pact, even if fully met, would still leave the world on track for about 3 degrees of warming.

Gore said the solution was to invest heavily in renewable energy sources, which were becoming more and more affordable across the globe, fuelling a “sustainable revolution”.

“Here is the good news, we can change,” he said. “Relief is heaven-sent in the form of solar and wind and ingenuity and technology.”