Al Gore urges all Australians to get on board with climate change

Monday, 24 September, 2007

Former vice-president of the United States, Al Gore urged those attending a dinner in Melbourne on Friday night, to open their eyes and look clearly at climate change.

Mr Gore, who was a guest of GHD, an international company that services global sectors of infrastructure, mining and industry, defence, property and buildings, and the environment, said that climate change had reshaped business opportunities and it was now up to us to realise what's going on and how we can stop it.

"This will affect our grandchildren, our children and it's going to affect us," he said.

"We have to act quickly and we have to do it together. It is a shared understanding and future generations will ask two questions; what were you thinking and how did they find the moral courage to rise and do what's right?"

Mr Gore believes Australia negotiated one "hell of a deal' with regards to Kyoto but as we all know pulled out of just prior to signing. A deal he believes would have seen Australia reach its targets within the first 12 months of signing the Protocol.

The next global meeting to launch negotiations for a new treaty to follow Kyoto will be held in Bali in December, and due to Australia's refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, it will be locked out of the negotiations.

"Australia is different to the United States," he said. "It was harder for the US to meet the targets. But recently, California has adopted Kyoto, with a further 660 cities across the United States also adopting Kyoto," he said.

Mr Gore said that this year, 2007, is the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, and believes Australia has a chance to extend a lot of leverage.

"In 1987, scientists told us we had to act to reduce the hole in the ozone and Australia was a leader in solving that crisis. 2007 is the counterpart to 1987," he said.

"This is not a political issue. It's about the rubber meeting the road. This is the first time in the history of the human species that we have faced this. This is at the outer boundary and we may not be able to do it. I think we can but I think it will be a close thing."

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