I’ve been working my way though the many wonderful talks at TED and was happy to see a new one pop up with Gore showing his new slide show: New thinking on the climate crisis. Do yourself a favor, and watch it. He is a great speaker, and the topic is extremely important. Gore is right, the scale of change requires law and politics.
As fantastic as the talk was, I have a nitpick. I wish he spoke more about the huge car dependence we have in the USA. It is sort of the elephant lurking in the room. Any changes to our impact on the environment will have to start there. There are solutions, there just needs to be the will to change business as usual – More rail for cargo and transport, better mass transit, conversion to electric, and making cities walk-able through approaches like new urbanism.
The fundamental issue, as Michael Pollan says, is cheap energy. Without putting a price on carbon, there won’t be enough change. Of course, cheap energy was a temporary state, and now as crops are turned into ethanol, the decision seems to be fuel or food in many respects. How the rich starved the world is an interesting read.