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Al Gore's new TED talk is out
The former vice president's powerful presentation couldn't have come at a more crucial time.
Since former Vice President Al Gore filmed his latest TED Talk this past July, here are just a few of the record-breaking extreme weather events that have happened:
Catastrophic flash-flooding in Vermont. Punishing drought across the Midwest. Unrelenting heat waves in Arizona and Texas. Devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii. Dangerous smoke pollution across the Eastern United States. A havoc-wreaking freak tropical storm in Southern California. A rain bomb in the Nevada desert during Burning Man. And that’s just within the United States.
For years, climate scientists have told us that the more carbon we put into the atmosphere, the worse extreme weather events like these would get. So why haven’t we acted more quickly to draw down those emissions?
In his latest TED Talk, Al Gore convincingly argues, it’s not because the technology to draw down carbon pollution isn’t ready.
It’s because the people who profit from carbon pollution aren’t ready—and will never be, until regular people apply enough pressure to make them.
I first wrote about Gore’s new TED talk back in July, after I watched it being filmed in-person at The Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan.
I wrote about it because, to my surprise, I thought Gore’s was the most powerful of all the 49 new climate TED talks I watched that weekend. Because while most other speakers talked about how to solve the climate crisis through the lens of advancing technology, Gore focused on the political and financial barriers to action—and made a compelling case for disruptive, transformative change.
Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:
The purpose of Gore’s new presentation is to identify what he believes are the two greatest barriers to preserving a livable climate: “unrelenting opposition from the fossil fuel industry,” and the “global allocation of capital” to fossil fuels, mainly in the form of subsidies.
His language about the fossil fuel industry’s role in climate delay was refreshingly clear. “Every piece of [climate] legislation—whether it’s on the municipal level, regional or provincial level, the national level, or the international level—they’re in there…doing everything they can to slow down progress.”
“They have used fraud on a massive scale,” he said, citing the mountain of evidence that the industry concealed knowledge of the harmful climate effects of their products. “They’ve used falsehoods on an industrial scale. And they’ve used their legacy political and economic networks, lavishly funded, to capture the policymaking process in too many countries around the world.”
I added that, while the talk may seem like it’s a bit of a downer, I found it surprisingly energizing. After all: you can’t effectively tackle a massive problem if you are confused about the solution.
For people who truly care about solving the climate crisis, Gore’s new presentation does them a massive service: It not only expertly identifies the biggest barriers to action, but dismantles the pervasive industry-funded misinformation designed to keep people focused on the wrong things.
When I initially wrote about Gore’s talk, the video wasn’t yet available, and I promised to share it with you when I saw it’d been released. Apparently it’s been out for a few weeks now. I just hadn’t seen it. (Apologies, it’s been a busy couple of news weeks).
So here it is. And here are some of my favorite slides from his presentation, which I couldn’t share before the talk was released.
And if you’ve gotten this far, here’s the last thing I’ll say: As far as I can tell, HEATED is the only news outlet to have covered the release of Gore’s talk.
That’s not meant to be a knock on other news outlets—it’s been an incredibly busy summer for anyone covering climate change. But it is meant to show you that we are committed to informing our community beyond just the details of the day-to-day crisis.
When we sent out a survey to paid subscribers in March asking what they wanted more of, the overwhelming answer was action-oriented information. Our reader community said they wanted more content that would help understand what to do about the climate crisis, not just what the climate crisis was doing.
So here’s my suggested piece of action: spread this talk far and wide. Because the more people understand fossil fuel industry lies, the less powerful those lies become.
And if you can, please consider supporting HEATED, so we can continue to get you this information. Our two-person team is entirely reader-funded, and we remain that way on principle so our readers know they can trust us. We cannot keep it going without you.
Catch of the Day: Reader Melita tells us that Harvey just finished reading an issue of HEATED. He is now ready to ponder what he can do for the planet.
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