Barack Obama should set drastic targets to force the US to switch to renewable energy in an effort to slow down climate change, according to the former vice president Al Gore. Gore said that one of Obama’s first acts as US president should be to demand a move to 100% renewable energy within 10 years.
“We can do that,” he said during the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last Friday. “The declaration from President [John F] Kennedy that we would land a man on the moon and bring him back safely was thought by many to be impossible.”
During his presidential campaign, Obama promised to invest $150bn (£96bn) in renewables over 10 years as part of the plan to increase US energy security amid fear of oil shortages, while also cutting carbon emissions. Many hope to see those policies enacted with a far-reaching climate-change bill that would bring the US back into the global environment fold.
Gore’s call for action, made at the summit, one of the hi-tech industry’s leading events, included his view that the internet had a vital role to play in the mission for energy; but he stressed that people needed to start using the web for social good.
Gore has got close links to the industry through his work as a board member at Apple, as an adviser to Google, and as a prominent investor in a number of hi-tech companies.
Making an analogy between the march of the internet and the early development of electricity, Gore suggested the web should find a real purpose beyond making money and sharing information.
He said: “The early uses of electricity were aimed at specialised applications and gimmicks.” But the web’s real purpose, he suggested, was “to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our planet and the imminent danger … we face because of the radical transformation in the relationship between human beings and the earth”.
Gore’s perspective and the similar views of his allies formed the biggest call at the summit for hi-tech development, saying technology should be used to tackle the problem of climate change.
At the summit, delegates heard about how a range of developments, in green technology, hi-tech monitoring systems and alternative energy sources, was now attracting growing interest from investors.
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