Monday, September 25, 2006

Gore for President

I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe I’m just setting myself up to be disappointed, but I can’t help it. Gore is going to run, I can feel it.

This isn’t just about An Inconvenient Truth. I didn’t even love the movie. Don’t get me wrong, it was thorough, compelling, and right on point. But for a film that was hyped to sound the trumpets and rally the masses against global warming, it just seemed to come up short. I thought it was going to inspire people to leave the theater, buy an energy star air-conditioner, and a dozen compact fluorescent bulbs on the way home.

(I was even ready to start handing out my ISI Solar business cards right outside the theater).

But it didn’t. His big message at the end…

“we need more political will…”

Political will? Really? That’s all the film was aiming for? No specific ways people can make a difference? He couldn’t aim any higher than us just needing more political will??

I spent the next few weeks talking to people who had been overwhelmed by the film, thought it was great, but hadn’t done anything differently in their lives. I would jump into all the important solutions I wished Gore had explored at the end. But it was too late. The movie was done, and people had left the theater. Their attention spans were gone.

Gore had let perhaps the greatest opportunity in human history to mobilize the American public against climate change slip through his fingers.

But now he’s starting to make up for it.

In response to the criticism that the film didn’t explore more inspiring solutions (apparently I’m not the only one who’s been saying it) Gore gave a speech in New York last week where he focused only on potential solutions. And he’s got some good ones.

Like the “Electra-net,” a new model for energy infrastructure that incorporates more renewable distributed generation, like solar and wind, into the grid.

(Also strikingly similar to the Solar Savvster’s post on New York City’s blackouts)

And the “Connie Mae” foundation, where lower interest mortgage rates would be made available to carbon neutral buildings.

He also talked about restructuring state and federal taxes by changing payroll taxes to carbon emission taxes, so that instead of companies having financial disincentives to hire more workers, they’ll have financial disincentives to produce more carbon emissions.

The speech won me over. I still wish he had made brief mention of this stuff at the end of the movie, but better late than never.

And maybe that needs to be Gore’s campaign slogan in 2008: “Better Late than Never.”

Because the truth is, now is Gore’s time. He probably would have loved to talk about all of this stuff back in 2000, but he wasn’t allowed to. It wasn’t a relevant topic, and his campaign managers probably thought it would only hurt him. His go-to guys micro-managed the entire campaign for him, telling what to say, what not to say, when to smile, when to wave. It probably made him even more of a stiff.

Now global warming is relevant; it tugs the heart strings and earns him the adoration of millions. He can finally be the Al Gore he always wanted to be. The self-ridiculing jokes even give him a touch of a personality.

A very small touch… but it’s a start.

So are the clips about his son, and the shots of his early life growing up on a tobacco farm. It’s the personal side of Gore’s life that we’ve never seen, and I don’t believe for a minute that it’s coincidental. I think Gore is trying to show the human side that was always missing. And if this is his way of launching himself into the election, then he’s got my vote.

So what if he pulled his punch at the end of An Inconvenient Truth? Maybe he just wanted to leave a little something for the sequel.

Better late than never.

Don't Take My Word For It

“Don’t Take My Word For It” is a feature I’m going to include at the end of every post. It’s a link to a credible, scholarly source, for those of you looking for more info

Read the article write-up, or click here to read the full speech


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