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Al Gore: We Should Put a Price on Carbon

Daily Ticker

A little less than a year ago Superstorm Sandy swept through the mid-Atlantic and East Coast of the United States, leaving millions without electricity and transportation and thousands without homes. More than a hundred people died.

Scientists attribute the ferocity of the storm to climate change. Unusually warm ocean waters off the cost of New York and New Jersey, where the storm made landfall, collided with a cold jet stream that was moving south -- in big part because of melting Arctic ice. The cost: an estimated $60-$70 billion.

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“We’re paying the cost of global warming pollution, chiefly CO2, in lots of ways,” says Al Gore, former vice president, now chairman of The Climate Reality Project which is hosting a 24-hour online global broadcast called “The Cost of Carbon” starting Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Former Vice President Gore tells The Daily Ticker that Sandy is just one of many examples of how climate change is affecting the planet. Other examples: recent floods in Boulder, Colorado, and Pakistan and the 2012 U.S. drought which affected 60% of the farmland in the country during the hottest year on record in the states.

Gore explained: “We are putting 90 million tons of carbon pollution in the earth’s atmosphere every day as if the atmosphere were an open sewer. The accumulated amount of manmade CO2 and global warming pollution now traps as much heat every day as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every day.”

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A UN panel of climate scientists recently found with 95% certainty that humans are responsible for the earth’s warming temperatures, up from 90% certainty six years ago. They concluded that only a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions could possibly reverse the global warming trend.

So why isn’t more done to do reverse this trend?

Gore blames the largest carbon polluters who “have used the power of money…to pretend that this [climate change] is not real, the same way some people pretended that there would not be any consequences from defaulting on U.S. debt.”

His prescription:

  • Stop spending billions of dollars to subsidize carbon based fuels
  • Tax carbon-based energy sources through cap-and-trade
  • Regulate emissions like the EPA does

“We should put a price on carbon," says Gore. "It’s much better to put a price on carbon than to continue to pay extra this escalating cost of carbon in the form of extreme weather events, the vulnerability to a disruption to oil supply lines in the Gulf of Mexico, the poisoning and acidification in the ocean…the enhanced forest fires...in the West, the dust storms, the climate refugees that are causing instability in many countries.”

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In the meantime, Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change efforts, sees more investment in renewable energy sources, which don’t contribute to global warming. “The price of renewable electricity from solar and wind is now equal to the grid average price in many countries around the world and that list is growing because there is a cost down curve…The more we use, the more scaling of production, the cheaper it gets. The more oil and coal we use the more expensive it gets. Within less than seven years 86% of the people in the world will live in areas where the price of renewable electricity y is cheaper than the price from other sources.”

Watch our entire interview with former Vice President Al Gore here: http://screen.yahoo.com/popular/daily-ticker-al-gore-154841205.htm

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