AFP News: Al Gore urges Chinese technology entrepreneurs to champion environment at HYSTA's annual conference
by Glenn Chapman
SANTA CLARA, United States (AFP) - With a blend of dark humor and dire predictions, former US vice president Al Gore called on Chinese technology entrepreneurs to champion the environment in their prospering homeland.
Gore, who won an Academy Award for his global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," made the plea at a Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association's conference in the California city of Santa Clara on Wednesday.
"The United States and China are the two most important countries that will shape the future of our world at a time when conscious choices are more important than ever before in human history," Gore told an audience of about 2,000 people that welcomed him with a standing ovation.
"I hope and pray that you here will become part of a new way of thinking by a generation that does not destroy our planet."
Gore delivered a nearly two-hour presentation that mirrored his documentary.
He said China is expected to surpass the United States as the world's top producer of carbon-based greenhouse gases this year.
"The moral pressure on China will be unbearable as the global consequences become more pronounced," Gore said.
"This is an ethical issue, a moral issue, not a political issue."
Gore criticized the administration US president George Bush, who Gore lost to in a controversial election outcome in 2000, for downplaying global warming and rejecting the 1997 Kyoto Protocol international treaty on climate change.
"Don't tell me we can't solve the global warming problem," Gore said in a rising voice. "If we just used one week's worth of expenditures for the war in Iraq, we could solve the global warming crisis in the world."
Gore said that hundreds of US cities and states have endorsed the Kyoto treaty even though the federal government has not.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a landmark bill capping greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
"Last year in California governor Schwarzenegger saw my movie and said 'I'm going to get rid of my Hummer (Humvee)'," Gore said, imitating Schwarzenegger's Austrian accent.
There is no dispute in scientific circles about the reality and catastrophic danger of global warming, Gore said.
"Some say the answer to global warming is to go and live on other planets," Gore said. "We couldn't even evacuate New Orleans. We will make our stand here."
Gore blamed climate change with fueling the intense hurricane that slammed the US Gulf Coast in 2005, bringing death, flood and ruin to New Orleans in state of Louisiana.
Global warming has caused unprecedented storms, droughts, and deadly heat in places worldwide, according to Gore.
"We are part of the web of life and if we tear it, we are doing damage to ourselves," Gore said, finishing his talk as it began, with a standing ovation.
"We shouldn't go from denial to despair. We should pause and solve the problem."