Gore warns against 'mutually assured destruction,' compares global warming to nuclear war
Accepting his Nobel Peace Prize Monday, former Vice President Al Gore warned that global warming's consequences could exceed the dangers of global nuclear war, and the environmental activists warned world leaders to act now to lessen pollution or face "mutually assured destruction."
"More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a 'nuclear winter.' Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world's resolve to halt the nuclear arms race," Gore told dignitaries at the Nobel ceremony in Norway. "Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution ... we are in danger of creating a permanent 'carbon summer.'"
Gore recalled reading his "political obituary" written after his bid for the presidency fell short in 2000 and said his expulsion from US politics gave him the opportunity to address global warming and press for immediate actions that have so far gone largely ignored.
"Despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world's leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler's threat: 'They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent,'" Gore charged.
Supporters have begged Gore to re-enter the political sphere with a run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but the man who came within a few hundred votes of the Oval Office has said he doesn't plan another campaign.
In his speech Monday, Gore aimed his harshest criticism at the US and China for failing to step up efforts to reduce pollution, while praising anti-global warming campaigns in Europe, Japan and Australia.
"It should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — most of all, my own country — that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act," Gore said. "Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment."
This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on December 10, 2007.