“Leaders must ‘choose life over death’ and end the use of fossil fuels.”
That’s former U.S. vice president and onetime presidential hopeful Al Gore, whose nearly two-decade focus on combating climate change regularly gives him top billing at high-profile events, including the U.N.’s COP27 in Egypt.
Gore made an impassioned call in a Monday speech for leaders to move more quickly to wean consumers and businesses off coal, oil
Read: What is COP27? Key issues for markets to watch as U.N. climate talks kick off in Egypt
“We need to obey the first law of holes,” Gore said of climate change. “When you’re in one, stop digging.”
Gore called for more significant private capital to be unlocked in order to fund the transition to solar, wind, hydrogen and energy-efficiency technologies. A private-sector commitment would provide the trillions of dollars, not billions, that are needed, he said.
Read: Biden’s climate envoy Kerry wants to tap companies to fund developing world’s move off fossil fuels: report
Gore, a long-time environmental campaigner who was among the first to raise the alarm about climate change and won an Oscar for his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” told the summit that they should turn away from destructive behavior, insisting that “we have other choices” in the form of renewable energy
Gore founded The Climate Reality Project in 2005. His bid for the U.S. presidency ended with the 2000 loss to George W. Bush, in a closely contested election.
His urgency was echoed in other speeches, and in opening remarks from U.N. officials who have chastised the slow movement by rich nations and called for major polluters, like the U.S. and China, to find more ways to align efforts.
Related: At COP27, U.N. chief tells climate summit to ‘cooperate or perish’
More than 40,000 participants have been registered for this year’s talks, a number up from other recent Conference of Parties, or COP, summits and likely reflecting the tightening sense of urgency as major weather events around the world impact many people and cost billions of dollars in economic loss and replacement.
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The talks also begin the same week as Democrats face a major test of their climate-change initiatives in the midterm elections set for Tuesday. Late polling gives a narrow edge to Republicans, who if they regain majorities are likely to dust off their own plans for climate change and energy under the potential House leadership of Rep. Kevin McCarthy. His earlier bill drafts have favored speeding up drilling permits and keeping natural gas
in a diverse energy mix that includes wind and solar.
Read: For EVs, solar tax breaks and climate change, here are the midterm elections that matter
Still, dismantling the just-passed climate-heavy spending bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Action (IRA), for instance, would require passage of a new law to either repeal or replace it, and doing that will either take a two-thirds GOP majority in both the House and Senate, or a shocking about-face from a gaggle of Democrats.
Related: Will midterm-election results kill the EV and home-energy tax breaks just approved?
The Associated Press contributed.
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