Gore hailed, warns against McCain, climate change

DENVER (Reuters) -- Al Gore, who lost the 2000 election but has become a world leader on the environment, was embraced at the Democratic Party’s convention on Thursday as a comeback hero -- with a warning against John McCain and climate change.

An estimated crowd of 75,000 roared approval as the former vice president, who became a Nobel Peace Prize-winning crusader against global warming, strode on stage to promote Barack Obama’s White House bid in the November 4 election.

“We face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because (Republican presidential candidate) McCain ... is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them,” Gore said.

“Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous,” Gore said, drawing cheers and laughter.

While many unsuccessful White House contenders have quietly faded away, Gore, 60, has become a bona fide star in the Democratic Party.

“We love Al Gore. We believe he was cheated in the 2000 election and that he would have been a great president,” said Sandie Dodd, a convention delegate from California. “We’re proud that he keeps on serving this country and the world.”

After losing one of the closest U.S. elections in history, Gore regrouped. He won an Academy Award for a documentary based on the slide show, “An Inconvenient Truth,” as well as the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gore said he believed this year’s election was close “mainly because the forces of the status quo are desperately afraid of the change Barack Obama represents.”

“There is no better example than the climate crisis,” Gore said. “We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization,” Gore said.

“We are facing a planetary emergency which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind,” Gore said.

“In spite of John McCain’s past record of open mindedness on the climate crisis, he has apparently now allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution,” Gore said.

Editing by David Storey