by Nick Bruse
Yesturday I had the pleasure of being present when Al Gore opened the new FEX-SIM sustainability and cleantech stock exchange in Sydney. Here’s a wrap up.
The exchange is the creation of Brian Price, whom I interviewed recently on the cleantech show during which we discussed the FEX-SIM in detail. You can listen to the show here if you didn’t catch it earlier.
Much of what Mr Gore had to say was about the worlds past experiences and success in dealing with the global problem of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and ozone layer depletion, a future where in 25 years we may no longer have an artic sea ice in summer, and the near future and how select countries and companies are showing the way by moving quickly to deal with climate change.
He highlighted that both in Australia and in the US we are seeing significant movement amongst the state legislators and governments in driving emissions reduction targets and signing onto the Kyoto protocol limits at a state and city level. In the US he stated that 600 cities and 12 states are in the process of have done this already. In Australia state governments have moved quickly also to push an emissions trading and reduction goals.
In fact he went so far as to say that activities and the speed of change in industry, investment and policy in Australia may well allow it to regain a leadership position in this issue if it continues on this path.
He highlighted during question time that we do face significant challenges when it comes to issues of nuclear proliferation based around nuclear energy as a solution to climate problems. He highlighted that historically all cases where nuclear material has found its way into weapons program in countries have been found to be associated with nuclear energy programs.
An innocent question was asked by a young 10 year old student, there as a result of winning a school competition, which was “If you were elected to be the president of the united states in 2008, what would you do to deal with climate change.”
Mr Gore’s response was “Bless your heart” with a lot of laughter in the room, followed by, “I’m not running for president… but… if I was in that situation I would look at abolishing employment taxes and instead place taxes on pollution.” He said it was ridiculous that we live in a world where we are happy to penalise employment but not penalise pollution [including emissions]
I had the opportunity to pose a question myself, and asked Mr Gore if over the last year since he was in Australia had he come up with a dinner party ‘Zinger’ response sceptics of climate change, as posed by Andrew Denton in an interview on Enough Rope in September 2006, given we still need to move more quickly.
His response was no he didn’t have the zinger yet to convince climate sceptics but said that the challenge with climate change is “This this change is hard… really hard.. in fact its at the limits of what we as a society can do.” He went on to say that for laggards and sceptics at this stage of the process, we must lead by example, help bring them along, as the world is changing under their feet and its tough.
I’ll leave you with the quote from the end of his presentation, an old African quote, which sums up our future pretty well.
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” The problem Al Gore highlighted is that we need to go quickly and far, so we must devote ourselves close to completely to this challenge.
If you want to catch the first 5 mins of his 20 minute presentation you can catch it on the FEX website
Article posted from The Cleantech Show
Nick Bruse is runs Strike Consulting, a growth venture consultancy specialising in the cleantech sector and hosts The Cleantech Show, a weekly podcast of interviews with leaders involved in clean technology research, entrepreneurship, commentary and investment.