Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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13 Jul 2006

Al Gore on Peak Oil.

alNo I didn’t get to interview him myself, Henning Drager from the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh went to see Gore speaking on June 21st at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in London and got to ask him a couple of questions. Gore’s talk was called “Earth in the Balance Sheet” and was attended by over 500 people. While not profoundly illuminating, his answers are still insightful, and show at least that he is conversant with peak oil and sees it as being as important as climate change. Many thanks to Henning for sending this in, a **Transition Culture** exclusive!

**Do you see the impending peaking in world oil production as a crisis or an opportunity?**

There’s an old cliche about the way the Chinese write the word “crisis.” They have two symbols back to back. The first means danger, and the second means opportunity. And we sometimes emphasize the danger in a crisis without focusing on the opportunities that are there. We should feel a great sense of urgency about the impending peak oil scenario because it is with climate change the most dangerous crisis we have ever faced, by far. But it also provides us with opportunities to do a lot of things we ought to be doing for other reasons anyway. And to solve this crisis we can develop a shared sense of moral purpose. Peak oil is not a political issue its a moral issue which needs global cooperation and strong leadership.

**Do you see it as a problem that Governments are able to respond to, or will the response by necessity emerge from the local level?**

Both need to respond however when individuals make a commitment to become part of the solution instead of the problem typically they become much more active and vocal as citizens stressing the need for new policies and in the dance of democracy individual and local community commitment does often lead to big policy changes and I think we are on that road now.

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[…] Transition Culture reports on Al Gore responding to questions on peak oil at a recent talk at the Centre for Human Ecology in Edinburgh: […]

18 Jul 7:42pm

Al Gore. I wasn’t a big fan until I started listening to him directly, instead of through America’s right-wing media machine. All I can say is that it’s a damn shame he isn’t President. For constrast, I’ll give you some GWB quotes:

“We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.” -Bushie himself

“The president believes that [high energy consumption] is an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policymakers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one.” -Ari Fleischer, Press Sec.

Here’s one where Mr. Bush demonstrated his understanding of foreign oil. “I talked about how best to be able to expedite the exploration of natural gas in Mexico and transport it up to the United States, so we become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil.”

Just sad. Al Gore, a great environmentalist, and Bush, a stupid man handled by evil men. So sad. For that matter, if we kept Carter, he might have helped the American addiction to oil in its earlier stages.