Gore's Challenge

Listen: Gore speaks on energy and global warming from D.A.R Constitution Hall

On Sept. 12, 1962, John F. Kennedy traveled to Houston, to address students and faculty at Rice University. At Rice Stadium, he announced a national initiative to travel to, and to return from, the moon:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Over the next few years — an almost-impossibly-short period of time — thousands of Americans worked to meet Kennedy's goal. And they did.

Today, in Washington, Al Gore issued a national challenge of his own, which some people are comparing to Kennedy's, for Americans to produce every kilowatt of electricity through alternative energy within 10 years.

Do you think it's feasible? How could we accomplish this goal?

In the first hour of our show, we'll talk with Gore. Then we'll expand the conversation, to discuss how he — and organizations and other people — can get more people interested in the campaign to curb climate change.

Comments

 

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This is an absolutely feasible. We could have done it in the last eight years if Mr. Gore was in office. Why is it that major corporations and the Bush administration are against this innovation? If America directed it's vast resources and unlimited human ingenuity and solved this problem, US corporations would make a billions selling the technology to the rest of the world.

Sent by Terence McCabe | 1:56 PM | 7-17-2008

I recently visited Tennessee and was surprised to learn that no one in the state recycles. I would like to ask Mr. Gore why that is?

Sent by Shelley Jones | 2:17 PM | 7-17-2008

Americans are uncomfortable with "green fatigue". The persistent pressure to change our way of life, to embrace cleaner, more responsible energy technologies, is an uncomfortable step for Americans who have become accustomed to fossil fuel use. The American public will have to make this uncomfortable step because the consequences of relying on foreign energy sources and the continued pollution from fossil fuel use will be far more dire.

Sent by Kurt Percy | 2:17 PM | 7-17-2008

what can we do to replace oil in non transportation uses IE plastics, chemicals, ECt

Sent by ed form cortland ny | 2:18 PM | 7-17-2008

Why does Mr. Gore not focus any attention on reducing the #1 cause of greenhouse gas which is from animal waste, primarily cows, that satisfy our insatiable desire for meat?

Sent by Chuck | 2:19 PM | 7-17-2008

The average American struggles to understand alternative energy technologies. Part of the "green fog" is educating the public about how alternative energy sources actually work. Nearly every American can understand the utter simplicity of fossil fuel combustion as an energy source. But with Hydrogen cars, geothermal power, solar panels and the like, education is key to persuading the American public that these technologies WORK.

Sent by Kurt Percy | 2:25 PM | 7-17-2008

Hi. I am an Iranian-American researcher and activist at the University of Arizona. I would like to THANK Mr. Gore (and his colleagues) for inspiring me to create the "International Institute to Study Climate Change in the Islamic World (IISCCIW) -- whose website is www.iiscciw.org -- given that almost one quarter of our planet's population (and perhaps 1/3 of its remaining species) is located in the "Islamic" regions of our imperiled globe. Please pass this e-mail to him.
Thank you.
Moji Agha (Mojtaba Aghamohammadi)
Founder/Director
IISCCIW and the
Project on Culture and Conflict, University of Arizona (Tucson)
aghamo@email.arizona.edu

Sent by Moji Agha | 2:30 PM | 7-17-2008

Having invented the internet, this should be no problem for Al Gore. I bet he already knows how to do it, he just wants others to figure it out; that's how brilliant he is.

Sent by MO | 2:33 PM | 7-17-2008

I believe it can and must be done. We need to elect politicians that will work towards this goal. We should all come together to work towards this important goal. Like the name of the new organization, we can solve it!

Sent by Kevin Conway | 2:38 PM | 7-17-2008

Why do we spend so much money on space exploration but cut spending on education and public safety? Why do we hear about all the millions of dollars the presidential campaigns raise but we struggle to keep our funding for schools and our homes. I would like to see someone step up and donate and or raise that kind of money on things that are important to our generation now. I wish our tax dollars went to green energy sources and not the endless Visa black card our government has become so use to. I don't get how we can land on mars and send back images but cant develop a car that gets 150mpg or a health care system that works for all of us. I guess I'm just frustrated that we are all expected to balance our check books every month but our states and government overspends more and more then want more and more from us.

Sent by Alex | 2:46 PM | 7-17-2008

I think an issue the public has with going green is how expensive it is to go green. Some lower income individuals may not be able to afford items necessary to go green.

Sent by Genia | 2:46 PM | 7-17-2008

Dear TOTN and Neal Conan

Thanks for taking my call today in re: Cutting Through the Green Fog. As I was out of breath, a little winded while working and not in my usual voice, I was not prepared to talk as I apologized to Neal. As a local astronomy educator and specifically solar astronomy artist featured in NASA web sites, as I mentioned I was hoping to commend Vice President Gore on his great efforts to bring awareness to the planet and recently the ultimate need for solar energy.

As I indicated that many thousands of the public that I encountered on sidewalks across the nation for thousands of miles while performing solar astronomy to allow them to actually [see] what the sun is doing in a special solar research grade telescope, later in two documentary short film projects I helped to produce with local film students, these artful, entertaining and educational films have brought a new awareness and understanding to the general public as to what solar energy actually is. Unfortunately my phone cut out while we discussed. The documentary films can be seen as imbedded YouTube and Google videos at 6 and 15 minutes each at my Myspace.com site among the astronomy art and award winning photography > www.myspace.com/marksolarprophet
It demands that our national educational systems increase a core curriculum in science and possibly if only a brief intro to astronomy 101. -- Mark Seibold- Artist-Astronomer- Portland Oregon

Sent by Mark Seibold | 3:22 PM | 7-17-2008

Today the Governor of Wisconsin was at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire Wisconsin introducing a Buy Local initiative -- Sacred Heart has been nationally recognized for all of its green efforts looking at every aspect of hospital operations, including recycling, reducing, etc. Is there any evidence that other hospitals and organizations in other industries (which ones?) have started taking the messages of "An Inconvenient Truth" to heart and have made significant commitments and actual changes in their operations?

Sent by Laila Waggoner | 3:29 PM | 7-17-2008

Hi everybody,
I tried to get through on the phone during Mr gore's spot. I am sorry I did not have an oppertunity to speak with him... but then I suppose there were plenty waiting. Incase Mr. gore takes a peek at your Blog, Hello Al Gore!

Al Gores message is solid, we do have to make changes. Each and everyone of us.
The problem is the country is slow to respond. Not all will be willing to make the changes necessary to "save our resources". For instance those that are at a higher income level, those that dont feel the crunch just yet.. will be the last to make actual changes. The response from US residents is not exactly as I would have hoped. Yes they are recycling and attempting to use eco friendly products, but to make actual changes in life style is slow in coming.
I have a website, visionstars.com, we provide green news and reviews, and I must say that the traffic has really picked up! The country is interested.. but is it perhaps cost?

Solar for now can be expensive.. for those that dont have the savings to make the change. However, you can do it one soalr panel at a time, and one wind generator at a time.

I wonder if the readers here know that new designs have been emplemented for "electric outboard engines." for boats. Most recently, there have even been plans for inboard/outboard electric. That is significant savings in fuel! Imagine how much fuel could be saved!
Electric bikes and Electric Scooters are the "Rage" right now. Most manufacturers and dealers for these type of products, have now found themselves in "Back Order".. what was seemingly unimportant only a few short months ago, has now become a must have..

Visionstars is happy to assist in the delivery of the message. Stop by if you can.. see what you can do to save, go green and help to deliver the message. Clean, Green, No Gasoline!

Sent by Visionstars | 3:41 PM | 7-17-2008

The notion that going green costs too much is a red herring. Everyone can afford to "go green". Doing so actually saves people money. Much of what is being recommended has to due with conservation and efficiency. One example - using energy efficient appliances and Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs will dramatically reduce your monthly electric bill. A typical CFL pays for itself in two months.

Sent by Don Miller | 3:46 PM | 7-17-2008

Way to go, Al! You reinvented the Dark Ages!
No Carbon based fuel = No more electricity for NPR, PBS, Verizon, ATT, NY Times, Washingto Post, ... etc.

No Carbon fuel means:
No BBQ, Jack Daniels, or Pinot Grigio.
I hope you like Haute Cuisine (you know RAW FOOD on overpriced plates) Wait! NO plates, because NO carbon fuel to make them!

Al Gore is so bright he makes charcoal look brilliant!

Sent by Harold | 4:37 PM | 7-17-2008

Let's go back to Whale Oil!

It renewable and removes carbon, AS SOOT!

Sent by Ahab | 4:52 PM | 7-17-2008

I listened with interest to both President Bush's address for more off shore drilling and to (the next day) Al Gore's address for renewable energy within the next ten years....Ummm, Isn't it time to put that old lame dog down and get a new puppy??? New Energy is what is it all about.

Sent by Jo Parrish | 9:53 PM | 7-17-2008

I don't think Vice President Gore's campaign will have any lasting effect in November. He should have waited until closer to the election.

I would have loved to see his face when Neal Conan asked him the question about nuclear and he totally ignored the question. Mr. Conan's performance review is not looking promising.

Sent by David Kerr | 3:29 AM | 7-18-2008

My only question is - where are we going to get all that silicon?

Sent by Ellie C. | 12:51 PM | 7-18-2008

Let me give you a reality check. It wasn't americans that got us to the moon, it was the GERMANS. Yeah, those rocket scientists from WW2.

And it's that same country that is bringing the world hydrogen vehicles, like the Mercedes citaro buses that have been running all over Europe for the past 4 years!! And their BMW 7 series that runs on hydrogen. LONG before honda or toyota whoever began marketing theirs to celebrities this year.

Sent by John | 1:55 PM | 7-18-2008

When will Al Gore "go green" and stop using 20x the energy the average American uses? Let's say no to fascism!

Sent by Zsolt Horvath | 2:00 PM | 7-18-2008

Al Gore is ahead of the curve!!!

Solar energy, wind power and electric vehicles are no longer an option, but a requirement for the American consumer.

A fundamental change in our driving habits is now required.

The Automobile Industry is going to be in the same position as the Airline Industry in the next few months. Unless we get away from gas combustion vehicles, including Hybrids, the automobile industry (as we know it) will die.We need to make drastic moves. America needs to move to ELECTRIC. The vehicles are not as fast, not always as fun to drive, but the move will save Americans money (Billions) and help bring change to our automotive companies. Let's "Be Green"!!!!!!!!!!!! BG Automotive Group Ltd. has a car that will travel 80-100 miles per charge for $15,995. Finally a car that most Americans can afford. Did you know that 80% of all drivers, drive less than 50 miles per day? This new car will cost an equivalent of $0.20-0.25 cents/gallon (depending on electricity rates in your area). Why send $700 Billion per year to OPEC (now buying up U.S. companies) when we can use this money for our schools, health care, social security for all Americans, etc, etc, etc. We can make the difference if WE change.

Sent by Barry Bernsten | 2:02 PM | 7-18-2008

I have grown weary of "celebrities" and other famous people lecturing me (and the rest of the world) about how I should live. I try to live in harmony with the environment; I have a small apartment, I drive a small car, I am a member of a CSA (community supported agriculture) so I can buy my food locally and organic, I use non-toxic cleaners, I recycle, I use compact fluorescent lightbulbs, etc. I am a professional soil scientist in the field of conservation, so I know and understand environmental issues.

I would be interesed in knowing why Al Gore has a huge house in Tennessee. It isn't efficient. He has also made millions of dollars off of his global warming campaign. Does he donate it to alternative energy research? Does he take a private jet when he travels? Moreover, Al Gore is not a scientist so I feel he doesn't have credibility to me.

Politicians and celebrities are more wasteful than ordinary citizens because they have more money to be wasteful. Please, don't tell me what I should do in my life to be "green" when I guarantee I am more aware than you!

Sent by Kristine | 2:35 PM | 7-18-2008

Americans have "green fatigue". How sad for us. Why is it that we don't have "war fatigue"? Why is it that we are not fed up with our elected officials misusing our military resources to wreak havoc in regions of the world that just happen to have large oil supplies that we would like to control. If we think we are fatigued now just wait until we experience the consequences of our short-sightedness, greed, and sad to say, arrogance. God bless Al Gore. He has shown himself to be a true leader for our country. His message is inspired, courageous, and good for America and the world. We like to boast about how we are the greatest country in the world. My definition of the greatest country in the world is a country that can prosper without exploiting others. Right now, we don't come close to living up to that definition. But we can. We have the ingenuity and creativity to do so. Al Gore has given us a vision, something to rally around. We just need to start thinking about more than ourselves and take action.

Sent by Karen Kurtz | 3:52 PM | 7-18-2008

The largest part of the solution to this attaining 100% renewable energy has to be political. Purely market based solutions aren't going to cut it. We consumers are already chomping at the bit to do our part. There are waitlist for hybrid and electric cars. CFL light bulbs are now standard fare at the big box stores. Those who can afford to go green already are. Those who can't are being forced economize due to the ever increasing cost of our fossil fuel based economy.

It is the American auto makers and fossil fuel producers who continue to drag their feet. Market forces aren't enough to make them abandon their already doomed infrastructure. The only way get them on board is change the rules of the game. Isn't that why politicians exist?

Imagine that in 2003, If instead of going to war in Iraq we had decided to invest that $3 Trillion into creating the infrastructure that would lead to energy independance. How many lives would have been saved?

Sent by Ben Perez | 8:29 PM | 7-18-2008

Completely feasible. I suggest we lead the government and the markets with our desire for clean energy.

Sent by Martha Yost | 9:45 PM | 7-18-2008

Global warming is the most important issue of our time. Our very lives depend on how we respond. Why do people not get that? This is a crisis. We're uncomfortable making changes to our lifestyle? Would we be more comfortable with extinction?

We all need to step up to the plate and take responsibility for our part in reducing our carbon footprint. And our government needs to do the same.

Sent by Marion | 9:55 AM | 7-19-2008

The initial investment of many forms of "going green" is no red herring, and no, not everyone can afford to get geothermal heating, solar power electricity, or the like. As someone who rents because I can't afford a house, these things are impossible. I drive a 17 yr old car that gets almost 30mpg, but I couldn't go hybrid nor electric, not with thousands of dollars of medical debt hanging over my head. And don't think I'm not trying. Not only have I replaced some bulbs with CFL in my apartment already, but I actually replaced the hallway light in my building with a CFL instead of a regular bulb, saving my landlord money! But there's only so much I am capable of if I want to eat, get to work, and survive.
The only way the average American, or particularly the unfortunate American in financial trouble (sometimes through no fault of their own (like illness), sometimes via poor choices (like materialism), will change, is through public education and government intervention... or not until they absolutely must.
Left to their own devices, corporations will continue to squeeze the last pennies out of American consumers via inefficient & foolish methods peddling uselessness. They, like many individuals, only change when their backs are up against the wall.
Just look to the situation American car companies are in now, (not to mention the motorist customers), having sold so many fuel inefficient vehicles to people who don't even need them & some who can't even afford them, when they could've easily been competing with the new demands by now. I think Wal-mart introduced skylights to save on lighting costs only after their trucking prices rose quickly because of fuel prices, and they want to keep their prices low enough for people to still feel the drive to the big store is worth the fuel in savings. It's self-preservation at the 11th hour, as usual.
Clearly, without a wealth of information, a nudge, a push, a helping hand, or at least some guidance, most companies, and individuals, won't think of the future beyond what's in front of them.
Maybe it's human nature.
The thing with the moon missions is that the moon was something everyone could relate to, looking up into the sky - everyone sees it. But for people who've never had any serious health problems that sent them into debt, and for people who could afford to drive their Ford Explorer at $10 a gallon, and for people who can afford to send their kids to private schools, things like health care, fuel efficiency, and public education are things that they're terribly disconnected from, that they can afford to not take it personally, and remain unmoved.

Sent by Chloe | 6:00 PM | 7-19-2008

I would like to know why Mr. Gore and the We campaign avoid talking about the findings of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations' 2006 report titled Livestock's Long Shadow: "...livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport."

We can all switch to more plant-based meals and decrease a significant amount of greenhouse gases, polluted waterways, and reliance on fossil fuels required for all the steps in meat/dairy/egg production.

Sent by Leslie - Millis, MA | 6:16 PM | 7-19-2008

The word is out that the price of a barrel of oil is going down thanks to the reduced demand by we Americans. Of course I noticed it is still sitting at $4.27 per gallon as I rode my bike past the petrol station today. Tomorrow or the next day, perhaps the drop in oil prices will finally start to reflect at the local gas pumps. But, you know what? I could care.

I'm going to keep right on riding that old bicycle all over town even when gas is down to under $2 per gallon (not that I think such will really happen)--even after the snow begins to fly again.

Too bad all of us can't--and more sadly, won't adopt such self-imposed behavior. If so we could have the oil companies right where we want them--over a barrel--rather than them having us right where they want us.

I wish there would never be a need again to fire up my gasoline-powered pick-up, but there will be days I'll need it. Nevertheless every time I have to carry or haul something, I'm always going to ask myself, "Can you carry it on your bike instead, even if it means multiple trips?" I suspect the answer will be "yes" on most occasions.

And when I need to trek around in the nearby mountains as I often do, the bike is going to be in the truck's bed and I'll be riding over the dirt roads via my human-powered two wheeler. I'll just use the pick-up to get me to the general location I desire.

Given how the oil companies have treated us and profited--not to mention the carbon emissions produced, I don't care how cheap gas ends up.

Let the weening of oil begin.

Sent by Morgan Tyree | 6:38 PM | 7-19-2008