1983: Al Gore on Climate Change

December 20, 2015

Lost opportunities. Remember when politicians believed in science?

Portland Press Herald:

SOUTH PORTLAND — Twenty-five springs ago, U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell of Maine put the finishing touches on a book called “World on Fire,” subtitled “Saving an Endangered Earth.” Mitchell had worked extensively on amendments to the Clean Air Act since he joined the Senate in 1980 and now, as majority leader he’d just completed months of negotiating to get a reauthorized Clean Air Act through the Senate.

The book, which addressed what Mitchell called “the gathering environmental tragedy,” sent out a clarion call on the dire ways the Earth’s climate was changing, from rising tides caused by climate change to the hole in the ozone layer and acid rain destroying lakes.

Q: How long has it been since you looked at “World on Fire”?

A: After you called me, I skimmed through it to refamiliarize myself with it so I have a general recollection of what is in it. But I haven’t reread the whole thing.

Q: Did anything surprise you? So many of the predictions you made have come true, from the statistical, like what the population of China would be today, or the broader, such as how the oceans would be rising.

A: Honestly, to me the biggest surprise is that there are still those who believe, or who say they believe, that there is no such thing as global warming. It was clear to me 25 years ago and the evidence then was far less compelling or as overwhelming as it is now. I just can’t get over seeing these prominent public officials, some of them running for president, saying there is no such thing as global warming. And the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment (Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma) saying that global warming is a hoax and a conspiracy.

I could and did understand people who said that 25 years ago, who challenged me and the assertions made in that book, because the evidence was not as clear then. But the events of the last quarter-century have validated the view that the Earth is warming, that man-made activities are contributing to that warming. And that unless we, meaning the people of the world, human beings, take action to drastically slow down emissions, that there will be severe and in some cases, catastrophic consequences for people all around the world.

I don’t think my predictions are 100 percent correct – some of them are more accurate than others – but I think largely what I anticipated would occur has occurred.… It isn’t any longer speculation. It is a reality.


8 Responses to “1983: Al Gore on Climate Change”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Well said, Al. Too bad hardly anyone was paying any attention.

  2. addledlady Says:

    I think people did pay attention back then. The unhinged, mindless lurching into denialism came later. I know back at that time, I’d put acid rain and CFCs destroying the ozone layer and climate change into one science-problem-will-be-resolved-by-dreary-diplomatic-negotiations box. As time went by, acid rain and CFCs seemed to be dealt with – eventually – and then Rio happened. Rio seemed at the time to be the kind of international conference that comes out with a whole lot of general, vague, motherhood statements and the real nitty-gritty work would be done in the usual backrooms by the usual assemblages of technocrats and professional negotiators.

    And then it all fell in a heap.

    It’s got worse since then, not better.

    • Hkat Hekate Says:

      With great sorrow and considerable embarrassment, I believe that calling our species homo sapiens–wise humans–is a terrible misnomer. We’re great at inventing weapons. We can write wonderful prose. We can invent excellent technologies. But we can’t seem to regulate our behavior. Thus wars and crimes and destroying the only planet we can live on.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Tommy the moron denier is back and ……………….

    • petermogensen Says:

      Ahh… Of course… this makes all the science go away.

      Come to think of it… around Christmas we eat a lot of this in Denmark:

      Yes… it’s a herring…

      • dumboldguy Says:

        And colorful it is. But I don’t think that’s what Tommy the moron denier is eating. It smells so bad it must be lutefisk.

  3. […] Related 1983: Al Gore on Climate Change […]

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