What the Gore UK Appointment Means

What the Gore UK Appointment Means

November 1st, 2006 | Posted in Environment & Energy

The report to the government of the United Kingdom on the consequences of unchecked global warming received a deserved splash of recognition in the past couple of days. The key point made in their report is that time is short to begin a global program to significantly reduce human-caused warming, and that each passing year before action is taken will make the economic impact much greater.

There were two intriguing aspects of the story. One is that Prime Minister Tony Blair went out of his way to cite the United States as a laggard in confronting global warming, and to call for a change of direction.

The second item of note is that former Vice President Al Gore has been asked to advise the UK government on both the causes and the solutions to global warming. This can be seen as both recognition of his global stature in confronting the issue, and an indirect statement to the U.S. that they ought to pay attention.

Many of you have probably seen the Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth. If you have not, you should, and it will be out on DVD soon. I have challenged audiences since I first saw it to sit down, watch it with their kids if they have them, and then see if they can look the kids in the eye. Not easy to do.

Last week I had the chance to see the former VP in a public presentation of his famous slide show, at the Key Arena in Seattle. It was, he said, probably the biggest single audience he had had to-date for his program. The program still follows the movie script for the most part, but Gore introduced several new pieces of evidence. For example, wild fires both around the world and especially in the western U.S. are now being recognized as growing much worse. Gore points out that decreased soil moisture, a predicted outcome of global warming, will increase the problem.

Over the summer of 2006, new evidence of the melting of both Greenland and of the artic ice cover came in, and Gore presented the new pictures. And, while the connection is circumstantial, the strange appearance of gigantic jelly fish off the coast of Japan, far from their normal range, may be another indicator of ocean changes that are a response to warming.

This week, a new study appeared from MIT that suggests what we have suspected in past several months — that a public turning point has been reached. In a 2003 survey of the American public global warming was ranked sixth among ten environmental issues, but in 2006, global warming is now ranked as the nation’s most pressing environmental problem.

What this means is that it is possible now to spend less time laying out the case for global warming and more time describing realistic and attractive solutions.

About Glen Hiemstra

Glen Hiemstra is the founder and owner of Futurist.com. An internationally respected expert on future trends, long-range planning and creating the preferred future, Glen has advised professional, business, and governmental organizations for two decades.

5 Comments

  1. I agree that because public opinion has changed more time can be spent on solutions, rather than making a case that global warming is an important issue.

    I’ve seen more attention be put toward solutions of late, but I’ve been disappointed with many of the recommendations. Most of the solutions put forward by Gore and others are not big enough. Telling people to drive a hybrid does nothing compared to helping show people how they can drive 10 times less in the first place.

    I am living in a community that is striving to be ecologically sustainable, and we have managed to reduce our driving by a factor of 10, as well as our energy use and our waste output.

    I want the solutions on which we focus to actually address the full scale of the problem, and there are solutions that are within our grasp.

    Nathan

  2. mod*mom   |   Jan 5, 2007

    do you think there is any way to get out of this impending doom or are the governments just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic?

  3. Brian Heumann   |   Nov 6, 2006

    Hi Glen,

    the German ministry for R&D has for the first time funded a big project not to stop or research global warming but how to live with it. The goal is to develop sensors and electronic devices etc. which can work under new climate conditions and still be reliable for an early warning forecasting.

    This is a step forward from discussion to action… let’s hope there will be more to come.

    Cheers, Brian.

    Also see German radio coverage on this project (in German): http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/wib/557417/

  4. Bill Hawkins   |   Nov 2, 2006

    Glen,

    This is an outstanding report. Although the Bush andministration and Big Oil did everything they could to cover up this problem it is now apparent to the majority of Americans that action is required.