(AFP) – Jan 24, 2008
DAVOS, Switzerland (AFP) — Climate change is occurring far faster than even the worst predictions of the UN's Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change foresaw, Al Gore warned Thursday.
New evidence shows "the climate crisis is significantly worse and unfolding more rapidly than those on the pessimistic side of the IPCC projections had warned us," the former US vice president and climate campaigner told delegates at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
There are now forecasts that the North Pole ice cap may disappear entirely during summer months in as little as five years, Gore said.
"This is a planetary emergency. There has never been anything remotely like it in the entire history of human civilisation. We are putting at risk all of human civilisation," he added.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report the size of three phone books on the reality and risks of climate change, its fourth assessment in 18 years.
In October both Gore and the IPCC, comprising around 3,000 experts, jointly won a Nobel prize for their roles in highlighting climate change.
Gore said a "little bit of progress" had been made at December's climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.
He added though that there was a "big, large blank spot" in the road map agreed in Bali, reserved for the United States' environmental policy once a new president is elected in November and inaugurated in January.
He said that the single most important policy that could be implemented would be a tax on carbon emissions that is applied across the whole world, "so that those who don't pay the price for carbon don't have an advantage over those who do."
"I think it is really important from a climate change point of view to move away from the idea that personal actions from each of us represents the solution to this crisis.
"These are important... but in addition to changing the light bulbs it is important to change the laws," Gore said.
He stopped short of endorsing any US presidential candidate but said that "whoever is elected will have a better position" on climate change than the current administration of US President George W. Bush.
Gore was appearing at Davos beside Africa activist and U2 frontman Bono in an effort to combine the fights against climate change and poverty.
"The brunt of this climate crisis is going to be felt in the developing world. All your work... will be undone if you don't focus on this," Bono said.
"It is clear that those people who have least created this climate crisis... are the least equipped to deal with it."
Gore added: "I want to say to everyone who wants to solve the climate crisis, they have to take Bono's agenda on extreme poverty, on fighting disease and dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis and make it an integral part of the world's effort to solve the climate crisis."
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