by Michael dEstries
Categories: People
Tags: .


With the Obama administration taking the reins on the issue of global warming — and planning serious action — Al Gore was asked to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today and provide testimony on the subject. Gore is seen as adding weight to legislation backed by Democrats to decrease C02 emissions and rejoin international efforts to fight climate change — especially 10 months from now for an updated version of the Kyoto protocol. Below are some highlights from the speech he gave to the committee:

* “In order to repower our economy, restore American economic and moral leadership in the world and regain control of our destiny, we must take bold action now. The first step is already before us. I urge this Congress to quickly pass the entirety of President Obama’s Recovery package.”

* “The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas – energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars – represent an important down payment and are long overdue.”

* “Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on carbon.”

Gore also gave something of a mini-slideshow of photos after the event concluded. In his presentation, he compared Earth and Venus and why the average temperature on Venus (855 degrees) in so much warmer due to C02 gas in its atmosphere — and not because of its distance to the sun. He also told the committee that the earth could see an average increase of 11 degrees within the next 100 years if nothing is done to combat C02. The loss of Arctic sea ice was also shown — with special emphasis on 2007 when an incredible amount of ice surface area disappeared.

Based on these slides, Gore’s presentation has been radically updated since his original Inconvenient Truth set. The animations, graphics, and content are much slicker and do a better job of explaining the issue. Could this be a preview of what to expect when Gore’s sequel to An Inconvenient Truth is released sometime soon? Stay tuned.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • JL

    I thought testimonies were to be given by scientists?

    Truly, I think South Park nailed this guy from day one. He’s trouble.

    Half the country hates him, and will refuse to believe in AGW just because HE is representing it. Thankfully that half of the country is not currently in power… but.

  • DJ Karma (of VegSpinz)

    Yes, he may not be a scientist, but scientists are backing up his information. The evidence is overwhelming- if you don’t believe in global warming by now, you’re in denial.

  • fbr

    DJ Karma, let me guess, you’ve never read a single research paper in the field, let alone enough to form an educated opinion of the situation. Instead you’re basing your claims on what’s said by the popular media. Close?

    In any case, nobody is disputing that the climate is changing; it always has and always will. What exactly is the human impact on it, nobody knows for sure. And we certainly don’t know how any of these “green initiatives” will effect the climate, our good intentioned attempts might have no impact at all or even a negative impact.

    Fundamentally, the research methodology used in the field is not capable of providing anything more than guesses at the moment. Anybody claiming to have accurate knowledge on our impact on the climate is likely just after your money. Predictions like “an average increase of 11 degrees within the next 100 years” are complete nonsense.

  • Larry

    Less hotdogs are sold on rainy days, so hotdogs must have an influence on sunlight.

    Claiming to have evidence of something without Truly understanding the mechanisms involved is religion.

    I would argue that we know more about the human genome than the mechanisms of the Earth.

    Chicken little has a “best guess”.

  • Timothy Chase

    Larry wrote,

    “Less hotdogs are sold on rainy days, so hotdogs must have an influence on sunlight.

    “Claiming to have evidence of something without Truly understanding the mechanisms involved is religion.”

    The radiative properties of carbon dioxide (and other gases) are well understood and follow nearly as the straightforward application of the first principles of quantum mechanics — as the lines of absorption are due to quantized vibrational, rotational and rovibrational states of molecular excitation. They are well tested.

    Look up the HiTran that documents over 1,000,000 lines of absorption as measured under laboratory conditions, or play with the more accessible ModTran over the web. David Archer has made it available as part of:

    Archer Model Server

    … here:

    A Model of Infrared Radiation in the Atmosphere

    And they are well measured. For example, for any wavelength that the atmosphere is optically thick to at sea level, there will be a height at which the atmosphere goes from being optically thick to optically thin. This is the principle that underlies our ability to perform infrared imaging of the atmosphere and its constituents at various altitudes. For example, here is carbon dioxide (a wavelength of 15 μm, I believe) at an altitude of 8 km:

    Measuring Carbon Dioxide from Space with the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
    Global Carbon Dioxide Concentration (2003 and 2008)

    You will notice the plumes rising off the heavily populated east and west coast of the United States. We are able to image things at that altitude for that wavelength because most of the photons of that wavelength are absorbed below that altitude, but at that altitude or higher, once they are emitted, they will generally escape to space without further absorption. When you look at that image, what you are seeing is an atmosphere that has been made more opaque to infrared, thermal radiation — and thus an enhanced greenhouse effect.

    Thermal radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases, maintaining a higher atmospheric temperature rather than escaping to space. And thermal radiation is emitted by greenhouse gases, where backradiation (thermal radiation emitted by greenhouse gases to the ground) warms the surface rather than just direct sunlight alone.

  • fbr

    Timothy, why do you copy-paste spam? Anyone who wants can find that information with Google.

  • Pingback: Dennis Miller Thinks Al Gore Is Just “Guessing” On Global Warming // Archives // :: the latest in green gossip()

  • JImmy Little

    There is evidence that proves we are responsible for GW. It hasn’t been totally proven, but the trends are proving to come true every year. There are also arguments against it, stating natural fluctuations in temperature.

    The problem is, the people on the “it’s not us” side of the debate want to keep on keeping on like we have been. What if Al Gore is wrong? But what if he’s right? What if all the trends are right? I’d rather err on the side of caution and say it is us, let’s fix it.

    If there’s nothing to fix and we change our ways, it can’t hurt. If there is something to fix, and we don’t notice it for 20 years, we’re screwed.

    I was watching something on Fox News the other day, and Pat Boone said something to the effect of “we have oil now, let’s use it while it lasts. Don’t waste time and money trying to figure out other ways to do it” The problem is, that’s short sighted. It may be OK for someone in their 70’s, but for us younger folks, it matters. If we go the way we’re going, we’ll be out of oil in our lifetimes. Now is the time to figure out the “other ways” so we can conserve the oil we have for longer.

  • fbr

    Jimmy, no. There is no “evidence that proves that we are responsible for global warming”. That whole assertion makes no sense at all. No one thing is responsible for global warming. The climate is incredibly complex system with many influential factors, the debate is about what impact human activities might have on it.

    You’re missing the third side of the argument: The people not afraid to say “we don’t know”. If you take a look at the methodology of the research that is used to come up with these “trends” you’ll find that using the same methodology one could quite easily come up with just about any trend imaginable.

    Your argument is the same that religious people often cite: “You should believe in God because if you believe and are wrong you’ve lost nothing, but if you don’t believe and are wrong you’re screwed.” Just like following a religion, the “green initiatives” most certainly can hurt. The drastic changes proposed do have costs, often heavy costs, yet we have no idea about their potential benefits.