I admire Al Gore. I really do. His dedication to the climate issue is admirable. His brainpower is formidable. He seems to be a decent man. I enjoyed spending time with him when Adam Lashinsky and I wrote about his new gig as a venture capitalist last year n FORTUNE.
So why am I usually disappointed when I hear him speak? I think it’s because, even now, he’s always on message. He lectures. It’s getting to the point where I can finish his sentences. Maybe I’m going to too many conferences.
At the Wall Street Journal’s eco:nomics conference, Gore said:
“We as a civilization have been slow to recognize the enormity of the climate crisis. It is a genuine planetary emergency.”
“This roller coaster is going to crash, and we are in the front car.”
“We are getting closer and closer to some trip wires that could set off processes that are irretrievable.”
“The Arctic is heating up more rapidly than any other part of the world.”
“We have enough solar energy hitting the surface of the earth in 45 minutes equal to the entire energy consumption, for a year, of the world.”
All true. All things we’ve heard from him before. Gore’s a really smart guy. Surely he’s learning all the time. You’d never know that to hear him talk.
About the only spontaneous moment during Gore’s appearance came when he was confronted by climate skeptic Bjorn Lomborg.
“Would you be willing to have a debate with me? “ Lomborg asked?
Gore’s face seemed to redden a bit.
“I want to be polite with you,” he said. Then he got back on message, saying we should be long past the time when we are debating the reality of climate change, or the need to respond to it.
“This process has already started,” he said. “The Maldives had a new line item in their budget this year. It was: Fund to buy a new country.”