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Excerpts From Al Gore's Nobel Acceptance Speech

Excerpts From Al Gore's Nobel Acceptance Speech

by Allen L Roland

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore delivers his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize during a ceremony in the City Hall in Oslo December 10, 2007.

So today we dumped another 70 million tons of global warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun. As a result, the Earth has a fever, and the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself : Nobel Laureate Al Gore

The mainstream press has all but ignored Al Gore's Nobel prize acceptance speech but it was, indeed, a call to arms, a call for global cooperation for an action plan to combat a global warming menace that will dramatically effect us all ~ and most certainly our children.

Gore's words are like the canary in the mine shaft and if we ignore his call for action any longer ~ and the artic ice melt accelerates ~ the canary will have already died and our long term human survival will be in jeopardy. Want more proof ?

Top 11 Warmest Years On Record Have All Been In Last 13 Years 13 Dec 2007 The decade of 1998-2007 is the warmest on record, according to data sources obtained by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global mean surface temperature for 2007 is currently estimated at 0.41°C/0.74°F above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.20°F.

Here are a few other known facts for any nonbelievers ~

1. Despite growing public awareness of global warming, the world’s carbon emissions are rising nearly three times faster than they did in the 1990s. As a result, many scientists tell us that the official, government-sanctioned forecasts of coming changes are understating the threat facing the world.

2. A rise of 2 degrees C over preindustrial temperatures is now virtually inevitable, according to the IPCC, as the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is approaching the destabilizing level of 450 parts per million. That rise will bring drought, hunger, disease, and flooding to millions of people around the world.

3. Scientists predict a steady rise in temperatures beginning in about two years with at least half of the years between 2009 and 2019 surpassing the average global temperature in 1998, to date, the hottest year on record.

4. Given the unexpected speed with which Antarctica is melting, coupled with the increasing melt rates in the Arctic and Greenland, the rate of sea-level rise has doubled with scientists now raising their prediction of ocean rise by century’s end from about three feet to about six feet.

5. Scientists discovered that a recent, unexplained surge of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is due to more greenhouse gases escaping from trees, plants, and soils which have traditionally buffered the warming by absorbing the gases. In the lingo of climate scientists, carbon sinks are turning into carbon sources. Because the added warmth is making vegetation less able to absorb our carbon emissions, scientists expect the rate of warming to jump substantially in the coming years.

6. The intensity of hurricanes around the world has doubled in the last decade. As Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research explained, "If you take the last 10 years, we’ve had twice the number of category-5 hurricanes than any other [10-year period] on record."

7. In Australia, a new, permanent state of drought in the country’s breadbasket has cut crop yields by over 30 percent. The 1-in-1,000-year drought exemplifies a little-noted impact of climate change. As the atmosphere warms, it tightens the vortex of the winds that swirl around the poles. One result is that the water that traditionally evaporated from the Southern Ocean and rained down over New South Wales is now being pulled back into Antarctica drying out the southeastern quadrant of Australia and contributing to the buildup of glaciers in the Antarctic the only area on the planet where glaciers are increasing.

As one prominent climate scientist said recently, " We are seeing impacts today that we did not expect to see until 2085."

Allen L Roland

"We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency "

Al Gore's Nobel acceptance speech / Salon


" The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures, a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: Life or death, blessings or curses, therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency, a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential, even as we gather here.

But there is hopeful news, as well. We have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst, though not all, of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

So today we dumped another 70 million tons of global warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the Earth has a fever, and the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself.

We asked for a second opinion -- and a third -- and a fourth -- and the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing distress, is that something basic is wrong.

We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.

Now comes the threat of climate crisis, a threat that is real, rising, imminent and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing. And, at some near point, would be unsustainable and unrecoverable.

For now, we still have the power to choose our fate. And the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act, vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Mahatma Gandhi the awakened the largest democracy on Earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called satya graha, or a truth force. In every land, the truth, once known, has the power to set us free.

Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between me and we, creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.

There's an African proverb that says, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." We need to go far, quickly.

We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help, but they will not take us far enough without collective action.

This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun's energy for pennies, or invent an engine that's carbon-negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.

When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us.

The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found in rising to meet their awesome challenge that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy in Japan, Germany, Italy and much of the world.

One of their visionary leaders said, "It is time we steered by the stars, and not by the lights of every passing ship."

The world now needs an alliance, especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where Earth is in the balance.

I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they've taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China.

While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters, and most of all my own country, that will need to make the boldest moves or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate, and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

The great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote, "One of these days the younger generation will come knocking at my door."

The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake: The next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask "What were you thinking? Why didn't you act?" or they will ask instead, "How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?"

We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will. But political will is a renewable resource, so let us renew it, and let us say together, "We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise and we will act."


Allen L Roland

Freelance Online columnist Allen L Roland is available for comments , interviews and speaking engagements ( )

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

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