Former Vice President Al Gore is challenging the United States to
produce all of its electricity through wind power, solar power and
other environmentally friendly sources within 10 years. Gore said the
transition would not only help resolve America's current energy and
economic problems, but would also improve U.S. national security by
reducing dependence on foreign oil. VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine
reports from Washington.
Al Gore received a rock star welcome at an energy conference in Washington, where he issued a challenge to the country.
today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our
electricity from renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources
within 10 years," he said.
Called an alarmist by some critics,
Gore has made global climate change his signature issue, and his
efforts won him a Nobel Prize. He admitted that weaning Americans off
fossil fuels would require placing a carbon tax on burning oil and
coal, which his plan would offset with a reduction in payroll taxes.
But Gore said soaring gasoline prices and the current economic turmoil
have created a new political environment where Americans are hungry for
"I do not remember a time in our country when so many
things seem to be going so wrong simultaneously," he said. "Our economy
is in terrible shape and getting worse, people are hurting. Gasoline
prices are increasing dramatically and so are electricity rates. Jobs
are being outsourced, home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile
companies, other institutions we depend upon are under growing
Gore called on all Americans to pull together,
citing the kind of national effort that made it possible for Neil
Armstrong to walk on the moon just eight years after former President
John F. Kennedy issued that challenge. He said both presidential
candidates, his fellow Democrat Barack Obama and the presumptive
Republican nominee John McCain are way ahead of most politicians in the
fight against global climate change.
But Gore did criticize President Bush's proposal to resume offshore oil drilling as a way to address the current energy crisis.
is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse
logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling
for oil 10 years from now in areas that should be protected," he said.
presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama issued a
statement after the speech, saying he strongly agrees with Gore that
the U.S. cannot drill its way to energy independence, but must boost
investments in renewable sources of energy. Obama said it is a
strategy that will create millions of new jobs and leave American
children with a cleaner and safer world.