Former Vice President Al Gore speaks to UM on Climate Change
Former Vice President Al Gore appeared via ZOOM to a large audience on Thursday night to talk about his signature topic: climate change.
The Vice President did not allow his conversation to be recorded, however, event organizer Sam Panarella, UM Law Professor and Director of the Max Baucus Institute summed up the presentation in a conversation with KGVO News.
“The Vice President was very realistic about the situation that we're in,” said Professor Panarella. “He called it an ‘existential crisis’, which I believe it is. But he was also very, very optimistic about our ability as a country and as a as a society and as a global community to deal with climate change, and he pointed out a lot of exciting things that are happening on the climate change front.”
Panarella was impressed by the optimism that Vice President Gore maintains about climate change.
“The Vice President is a very optimistic person,” he said. “I think he's somebody who has a lot of faith in humanity's ability to overcome challenges. So I think he approaches climate change with that lens, which I think is frankly a pretty helpful lens to approach it from. So there was just there's a general optimism I think that the Vice President has about our ability to as a country to get things done.”
Panarella said there have been many changes in the competition to provide energy between traditional oil, coal and natural gas and renewable energy.
“Today, gas and coal projects are out competed on the market pretty much every single time by renewable projects,” he said. “In other words, renewal practices are cheaper now as a source of electricity, so whatever ones policies are or inclinations around climate change might be, the fact is that the market is speaking, and the market is saying what we want and what we need is more of this renewable energy because it's cheaper, and it's a better and more efficient way to produce electricity.”
Panarella closed his synopsis of Gore’s presentation with the fact that a global climate summit is getting underway overseas.
“This Sunday is the beginning of the UN's Climate Change Conference,” he said. “It's called COP 26, and it's going to be in Scotland. The fact is that the United States is now again an active participant in those discussions. Probably your listeners know, under President Trump, we stepped back from that stage and we withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. Vice President Gore is now very optimistic and very pleased that the United States is once again under the Biden Administration, stepping forward and taking part in those global discussions, because this is a problem we won't solve with just one country. We really need all countries, especially the United States involved.”
Panarella also referenced President Biden’s $1.85 trillion spending program and its emphasis on climate change.
“As you likely know, yesterday, President Biden announced his Build Back Better framework. I think it’s a $1.85 trillion dollar deal and $555 billion of that $1.85 trillion is targeted at climate change. A lot of that is built around tax incentives to further incentivize the production of electricity through non fossil sources.”
Former Senator Max Baucus also appeared in the ZOOM presentation.
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