AlGore has been fighting for climate change action for 38 years, but only now ishe seeing the tables turn toward public acknowledgment of the threat facing theglobe.
Speakingat the Climate Action 2016 conference in Washington, D.C., on May 5, the formersecond-in-command to President Bill Clinton said climate change is impactingthe world now in extremely visible ways. He pointed to raging in Fort McMurray,Alberta — the heart of the province's oil sands region — that have driven tensof thousands of residents from their homes.
"Everynight on the TV is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,"Gore said.
Gorelamented the damage that has been done in the time since scientists begansounding the alarm over climate change, but he still expressed optimism. "We'regoing to win this. It matters a lot how quickly we win it," he said.
Policiesare still needed to de-incentivize the use of fossil fuels worldwide, however.Gore repeated callsfor a tax on carbon and the end to subsidies that support their production. Hecommended California for leading the way on carbon trading and welcomed China'sannouncement of a new cap-and-trade program set to roll out in the comingyears.
"We'rebeginning again to see the re-ascendancy of reason and logic and facts play amore significant role," Gore said.
Becauseof the way political systems around the world are set up, Gore said legacyindustries such as central system generating and oil and gas have built uppolitical connections that are still influencing politicians. But thatnarrative is beginning to tilt towards more evidence-based public opinion, headded.
"I'mnot saying this to demonize those who are trying to slow down the [transitionto cleaner energy] — of course, some of them have been using the playbook ofthe tobacco industry [by] effectively deceiving people," Gore said. "Thepower of public opinion and thoughtful opinion is now gaining the upper handwhere the climate crisis is concerned."
Businesses,too, should be looking at climate change and sustainability as an opportunity.Gore said significant opportunities exist in energy storage, buildingefficiency, and sustainable agriculture and forestry, among other sectors.
"Thisis the biggest business opportunity in the world," he said.