Turning point: Al Gore’s new hope

Al Gore has written an impressive long article in Rolling Stone magazine. I read it with gratitude and wanted to recommend it to others. It’s a highly readable text packed with rich detail which reflects the wide spectrum across which Gore operates and the considerable intelligence which informs his thinking. It deserves wide readership.

The article proclaims new grounds for hope that we will yet find our way to a low-carbon global economy in time to prevent the worst effects of unchecked climate change. Gore opens with an affirmation that a powerful yet largely unnoticed shift is under way in the needed transition. Here is the surprising fact that signals hope:

“Our ability to convert sunshine into usable energy has become much cheaper far more rapidly than anyone had predicted.”

The cost of solar electricity has decreased by an average 20 percent per year since 2010. Gore sees an ongoing decline in cost to the point where by 2020 more than 80 percent of 0the world’s people will live in regions where solar will be competitive with electricity from other sources.  This is already the case in at least 79 of the world’s countries.

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Al Gore: denial derails the democratic conversation

Al Gore’s book The Assault on Reason, which followed An Inconvenient Truth, was published in 2007 and revealed an impressive intelligence in its analysis of how America was losing the rule of reason in democratic discourse, the Enlightenment ideal which was a founding principle of the new republic in the 18th century.  America’s people were not participating in the conversation of citizens essential to functioning democracy, with a consequent diminishment of reason, logic and truth in decision making.  Television and advertising had been appropriated and used to make for a passive citizenry which expects no engagement in the political process.

Gore pointed to the results apparent in the Bush administration. The invasion of Iraq was justified by deliberate falsehood and deception.  Twisted values were promoted in the shocking use of torture.  The threat of terrorism was exploited for purposes well beyond the needed response, giving unnecessary powers to the executive. The careful work of climate scientists was treated with dismissive contempt and the climate crisis threatening humanity ignored in the perceived interests of big corporations.  “Greed and wealth now allocate power in our society.”

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