I came here to recruit you - Al Gore's message to Stockholm during impassioned speech at Tech Arena 2024

“I’m here to recruit you” – Al Gore’s message to Stockholm at Tech Arena 2024

Energize Editors

Energize Editors

The world’s most powerful climate activist and former US Vice President Al Gore launched a Swedish recruitment mission during an impassioned speech at Tech Arena 2024.

In front of a packed crowd at the Friends Arena – with 10,000 delegates passing through the gate – Gore expressed his love for Sweden, before urging delegates to join his fight to accelerate Net Zero and save the earth – while fronting up to powerful opponents.

“I love Stockholm, I love Sweden, it’s an honour to speak to this group,” said Gore. “One of the reasons I came here is to recruit you. We need your help. I know many of the tech-oriented women and men in this audience are already working on solutions. Those of you that are not yet, we need you, because we’ve got a lot of work to do. We have all the technologies we need but new technologies are welcome.”

Gore served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton. After being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change” following his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, he explained what has changed in subsequent years.

“We have seen fantastic progress. Last year, if you look at all the new electricity generation installed, 80pc of it was solar and wind. Electric vehicles are not far behind. 20pc of all new car sales last year were electric. Almost 50pc of all the two-wheeler and three-wheelers (which carry more people than four-wheel vehicles) were electric. We are also seeing tremendous advances in circular manufacturing models, and now green hydrogen as H2 Green Steel is demonstrating regenerative agriculture and sustainable forestry. However, the climate crisis is still getting worse faster than we are providing solutions to it. We’ve got to wake up and shift into a higher gear. Today we’re putting another 162million tonnes of man-made heat trapping pollution into the sky. Every night the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation. It’s insane, but we’ve gotten used to it.

“Here’s the good news, if we get to true Net Zero the temperatures will stop going up almost immediately, with a lag time as little as three to five years. If we stay at true Net zero, half of all the human cause of global warming pollution will have fallen out of the atmosphere in as little as 25 to 30 years. There is hope, we can do this. But we are not yet doing it fast enough.”

Drawn on his plea for humanity to ‘reclaim destiny’ Gore said the two greatest challenges involve fossil fuel lobbying – fuelling climate denial – combined with issues affecting capital allocation around the world – most notably in developing nations. He called for more action from the World Bank and MDBs (Multilateral Development Banks) to ease the financing burden.

“Around the world fossil fuel companies and the petrostates are trying everything they can to block progress,” added Gore. “This is not so much true in Sweden because you do not have a lot of fossil fuel energy. Here you’re blessed with hydro and you have four working nuclear reactors. In Dubai, at COP 28, there was a victory in getting the language in the final resolution committing the world to transition away from fossil fuels. The next week, the biggest fossil fuel lobby in the United States – the American Petroleum Institute – launched a massive new advertising campaign designed to convince people it’s impossible to transition away from fossil fuels. I’m sorry to get passionate about it, but I push my own buttons these days. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m sick of them fighting us at every place in the world, whether it’s a city, state, province, nation or the international UN meetings.”

The grand design of climate denial is “to prevent the formation of a political consensus to save ourselves,” according to Gore who is advocating a “species-wide decision” which he admits will be “hard to achieve, but we have to do it.” And despite increasing global crises, Gore remains positive about today’s climate movement which he dubs the “largest, grassroots, moral-based movement in history”.

“If you look back at previous morally-based movements from the abolition of slavery, giving women the right to vote, freedom for gay and lesbian people, anti-apartheid in South Africa, civil rights in the US. All of those movements have a lot in common. It took a while; it was hard, and the advocates got discouraged often because it was so hard. But they kept going. Eventually, what happened in every case, when the underbrush was cleared away and the central issue was revealed as a choice between what is right and what is wrong. Then, at a very deep level, because of who we are, and I would say because of how our creator made us, the outcome is foreordained – we are going to do what is right once it’s clear.

“The fossil fuel polluters have been trying to clutter the landscape and create as many false doubts as they possibly can in order to convince people to wait a little longer before they get serious. We are tiptoeing through a minefield. Several of the major, load bearing, structural components of the earth’s system have given rise to the flourishing of humanity. These are now at risk because of us. The sixth great extinction is one of them as well. Scientists say we are at risk of losing 50% of all living species with which we share this earth on our watch. Are we content to let that happen and not lift a finger? It’s immoral not to act.”

Meanwhile, Gore’s final message on the most effective route to Net Zero lies in active public discourse, on every level possible, after earlier stating that “fossil fuel polluters are way better at capturing politicians than they are at capturing emissions”.

“We are all trapped inside this thin blue sphere that we’re using as an open sewer,” said Gore. “On a global basis we see the sky being used as an open sewer for heat trapping gas that’s threatening humanity’s future.  We hear a lot about what we can do in our personal lives. Those things are important. But the number one most important thing people can do is to be very vigorous and active in public discussion to get politicians at every level of government activated to move faster to reduce emissions. This is a global emergency. We hear that phrase and maybe it’s drained of the sense of urgency it’s intended to convey. The people who say we are not equipped to solve this, they point to the lack of sufficient political will. I’ll tell you this – political will is itself a renewable resource. Getting out into the public sphere and renewing the political will that is essential to making this species-wide decision to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. We have the ability to control our own destiny. It’s right there – we have to decide to work together and do it.”

Organised by Techarenan with backing from the Swedish Innovation Agency, key themes include the energy transition, innovation, economics, sustainability and global megatrends.

CEO and founder of Techarenan Omid Ekhlasi said: “We were more than satisfied to attract people from more than 100 countries to Stockholm for this year’s Tech Arena event, to discuss innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship. We are now entering a crucial phase for the future and we see technology as one of the great enablers to save our planet and improve our communities.”

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