Once again, Former Vice President Al Gore made an impactful appearance at the COP. He forewarned the crowd that the first half of his presentation may be rather disheartening, but that the second half would bring to light the points we must truly focus on to move forward. Scientists and politicians alike have emphasized at COP23 that the world is facing some of the most frequent and devastating ‘natural’ disasters since the recordation of history. Gore stated that the UN has determined this time the “worst humanitarian crisis since 1945.”
While Gore remained upbeat and lighthearted with his inclusion of slides such as flooding in England having little effect on the operation of a local pub, or the presidential implications of a wildfire in Washington having no effect on a game of golf: his speech was impassioned. He decried the subsidization of fossil fuels in comparison to renewable energy. And his voice nearly roared on the cost climate change has wrecked on the global economy. He stated that the amount is “unacceptable and cannot be maintained.”
But once his speech reached the dismal humanitarian crisis in Syria, he skillfully lightened the crowd’s mood with different countries’ initiatives to curb the negative impacts of climate change. He spoke of India’s commitment to introduce only electric cars in 2025; of Germany’s commitment to wind power; and the unilateral transition from coal and fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Gore emphasized that “we’re at a tipping point on a global basis.” The world can choose to move forward with clean initiatives, implementing the world’s commitment to the Paris Agreement; or we can sit in our big houses and tweet about it.