Al Gore

28 November 2012 — Al Gore, who shocked the world with his film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, emerged recently to say that although it seemed there was little progress on climate change, there was “a great deal of movement beneath the surface”.

“I run into people all the time who are former deniers, former opponents of doing anything on climate who are saying, ‘Look, this is just getting too weird. It’s clear that this is going on, we’ve got to do something.’

“Now, we’re not at the tipping point, but we’re much closer than we have been.

“Changes like this don’t occur in a linear way. The potential for change builds up, unmanifested, until it reaches a critical mass. You don’t always see it coming,” Gore told Grist magazine.

“States are moving. Local governments are moving. Business is moving thanks to the happy discovery by so many businesses that initiated sustainability changes for branding reasons that it makes them money.

“It’s not a cost, but a benefit. By now, that’s pretty widely known in the business community. News Corp, for goodness sakes, is CO2 neutral.  They don’t brag about it. They do it because it saves them money.”

Gore, who these days busy with a new organisation Climate Reality, said that Australia’s carbon price was an important achievement globally.

The introduction of the carbon tax in Australia was “hugely significant” along with action in China, Europe and Mexico, Gore said.

“You know, a lot of countries around the world are looking at their hold cards, they’re looking at the damage, and it is now translating into a set of commitments that are meaningful and will continue,” he said.

Gore said he, and others, hoped that one day the US would also “find a way to get a price on carbon”.

“(We) have felt that the convergence of the fiscal cliff and the climate cliff could produce some surprising results. And there have been some private comments by some Republicans to that effect. But certainly that’s something you wouldn’t wanna bet money on in Vegas.”

Gore said the way to keep the momentum going was to increase the scale of renewable installations making the cost down-curve steeper.

“We’ve kind of got a Moore’s Law Jr. underway on [solar] PV. Wind is not as steep as PV. Efficiency is probably steeper than both, or comparable to PV. “

There were “a lot of trends moving in the right direction” including the closure of 166 coal plants in the US.