Gore and Wallström united on global warming

Former American vice president Al Gore, along with EU Commissioner Margot Wallström, spoke about global warming on Friday in a discussion moderated by SVT host Henrik Ekman.

The event was held at Kulturhuset in Stockholm as part of the International Writers’ Stage lecture series.

“We’re destroying the habitability of the planet,” Gore said.

Gore said that after he “involuntarily retired from politics” in 2000, he decided to travel to convince people and policymakers around the world about the importance of taking action to reduce carbon emissions – and to do it soon, before it’s too late.

“If the crib is on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant,” Gore said.

Ekman asked Gore if the upcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the fourth such report – is enough to convince people of ”the truth” about climate change.

“The truth of climate change is known,” Gore said. “The existence of global warming…now has a consensus very nearly as firm as that behind gravity,” he said.

“We may not know every single detail, but we know enough to give advice to politicians,” added Wallström.

Wallström wrote the foreword in the Swedish translation of Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was also made into a movie.

She said that people need to understand it’s not just a temperature change, citing a conversation with a woman in Russia who didn’t think a few degrees warmer would be such a bad thing in a place where it was -41 degrees Celsius outside.

“You have to start explaining the difference between weather and climate,” she said.

Gore peppered his more serious warnings with tidbits of humour. “I fear I’m losing my objectivity on Bush and Cheney,” he said. “So take whatever I say [about them] with a grain of salt.”

Ekman asked Gore what he was going to announce when he was drowned out by the orchestra at the Oscars, where ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ received the prize for best documentary on February 25th.

Gore confirmed that he does not intend to run for president in the 2008 election, although he doesn’t rule out an eventual return to politics.

Gore said that in the meantime he’s involved in a different kind of campaign. “Right now I’m focused on trying to bring about a mass movement,” he said.