The Global Carbon Project released its “Carbon Budget 2007” [big PDF] today. The report shows a continuation of the grossly unsustainable growth rate in CO2 emissions since 2000, which is nearly four times the growth rate of the 1990s:
Scientists were surprised and dismayed because the increase “exceeds the most dire outlook for emissions from burning coal and oil and related activities” projected by the IPCC and because the increase occurred despite rising fossil fuel prices:
Vice President Al Gore, speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday, called on young people to “prevent the construction of new coal plants” through civil disobedience, repeating a call he made last year in an interview with Nick Kristof. At CGI, Gore said:
If you’re a young person, looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now and not done, I believe we’ve reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration.
The New York Times’s Paul Vitello claimed there was only “scattered applause,” despite the boisterous reaction from the crowd.
Leaving aside whether breaking the law is ever justified, it seems odd that Gore doesn’t seem to include himself in the category of the “young people” he thinks should risk jail to halt global warming. After all, at age 71, Ghandi was arrested and served two years in prison. The US labor organizer Mother Jones was still facing charges of sedition in her 80s. Even TV president Martin Sheen, who is eight years older than Gore, managed to get himself arrested at an antinuclear action in Nevada last year, for what he says is the 65th time.
If you are in DC, don’t miss Friday’s American Meteorological Society seminar. For those who can’t attend, a video is usually put online days later (I’ll post it should that happen). Here is a program summary and the bios of the very impressive speaker list:
UPDATE: At Energy Smart, A Siegel responds to McCain’s discussion of the “disastrous” threat of global warming; and Washington Monthly‘s Steven Benen and the Seminal‘s Josh Nelson are “a little fuzzy” on what it means to “suspend” one’s presidential campaign.
Thank you, Mr. President. It’s always good to see you, and I appreciate your hospitality to me and Governor Sarah Palin.
Let me also congratulate you, Mr. President, on the great work of the Clinton Global Initiative. It says a lot about a man that after 12 years as a governor, and another eight years at the Resolute desk, he is still working hard in service to others. Bill Clinton is a man who has achieved enough in public service, by any measure except his own. This man’s drive, and determination, and compassion for those in need are still a force for good in the world, and I am proud to call him a friend.
Your kind invitation brought me here to discuss some of the great concerns of the Clinton Global Initiative, and especially climate change, extreme poverty, and epidemic diseases. But I know you will understand if I begin by addressing a crisis of our own right here in America — a crisis that began not far from here in the financial district of this city.
I’m a big fan of the Veep, but there is something young people can do that is vastly more important right now — and that is to get politically involved immediately. If you are too young to vote, you can still knock on doors.
I am all for civil disobedience. But this isn’t the civil rights movement or the struggle for India’s independence, where you are appealing to a general populace that will be impressed by the nonviolence of a mass of marchers and shocked by the response of a brutal establishment. Thus, the scale and nature of the problem makes civil disobedience at best a weak solution to the climate crisis — with one possible exception.
Civil rights had Dr. King and India had Gandhi to create a mass movement. If Gore really believes that civil disobedience is an important strategy — then he needs to lead the effort and go chain himself to some fences and sit in front of some bulldozers with thousands of others. If he won’t, then this is all just talk. Gandhi and King certainly never sat around with a bunch of world leaders in a big, fancy hotel and urged others to do that which they were not prepared to do any time or any place, over and over again, until the cause was won.
Gore made some other interesting statements, including a reference to Martin Luthor King. It’s Getting Hot in Here live blogged Gore’s CGI session with Bill Clinton:
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.