22 august 2016

Mr. Gore goes to Houston

Edward Klump, E&E reporter, EnergyWire: Monday, August 22, 2016

HOUSTON — On the eastern edge of downtown, next to the convention center, sits a 24-story hotel where the energy business is a known commodity.

Everyone from the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. to the oil minister of Saudi Arabia has stopped by the Hilton Americas-Houston for a speech. Energy was back on the menu last week, but this time Al Gore was here with an urgent call for change.

Over three days in a city with deep ties to fossil fuel companies, the former U.S. vice president warned that failing to slash our use of coal, oil and natural gas and to rein in carbon dioxide emissions clears the path to rising temperatures and natural disasters.

"My own view is that we should move as quickly as possible away from all fossil fuels, including gas," said Gore, 68, in an interview on the last day of his Climate Reality Project tour in Houston.

By now, Gore's message is familiar to climate activists: photos of floods and fires; charts of rising temperatures; warnings about food and water shortages, rising sea levels and the spread of disease. Every storm is different in a "warmer and wetter world," Gore said, pointing to this month's 1,000-year flood in Louisiana and damaging rains in Houston.

At other moments, he sought to be hopeful and inspiring. He essentially asked 600 or so attendees to go out and make waves themselves by changing the minds of people who don't grasp the climate challenge. Speakers portrayed last year's climate accord in Paris as an important step toward global action.


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