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The former Democratic presidential candidate said in an impassioned jeremiad at the conference that carbon emissions are raising the temperature of the troposphere, the part of the atmosphere that contains oxygen, to an unsustainable degree. He claimed that increased emissions are linked to extreme weather events and the apparent boiling of the oceans.
“We’re still putting 162 million tons into it every single day, and the accumulated amount is now trapping as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs exploding every single day on the Earth,” he remarked. “That’s what’s boiling the oceans, creating these atmospheric rivers, and the rain bombs, and sucking the moisture out of the land, and creating the droughts, and melting the ice, and raising the sea level, and causing these waves of climate refugees predicted to reach one billion in this century.”
Gore also repeated his assertion that World Bank President David Malpass, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is a “climate denier” who pursues environmental policies with insufficient zeal. The accusation last year followed speculation that President Joe Biden would select Gore to serve as the next leader of the international financial institution.
“We are not winning. The crisis is still getting worse faster than we are deploying these solutions, and we need to make changes quickly,” Gore continued. “Emissions are still going up. All these promises of the last few years to cut emissions, emissions are still going up. When are going to bring these emissions down?”
Gore, who served during the administration of former President Bill Clinton, also condemned the purported detainment of Greta Thunberg after she and other activists protested the expansion of a coal mine in Germany. The 20-year-old was initially photographed smiling as German police picked her up and carried her away; video later emerged showing the police effectively allowing the media to take pictures and film Thunberg before they removed her from the area, sparking accusations that the detainment was a publicity stunt.
“We’ve heard about divides at this conference between the north and south, and the east and west. There’s another divide, increasingly, between those who are old enough to be in positions of power and the young people of this world. Greta Thunberg was just arrested in Germany. I agree with her efforts to stop that coal mine,” Gore continued. “Young people around the world are looking at what we’re doing.”
Climate policy has been a preeminent theme at this year’s World Economic Forum conference even as the Russian invasion of Ukraine bottlenecks worldwide energy supplies. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen affirmed during her remarks that “Europe will always stand with the Ukrainian people” and commented that policymakers would still endeavor to “reach net zero” carbon emissions despite the energy shortfalls.
World Economic Forum Chair Klaus Schwab, who has led the controversial organization for decades, cited the worldwide “transition” toward renewable energy in his opening address. The German economist garnered notoriety for suggesting that the lockdown-induced recession was an opportunity for elites to craft a “Great Reset” of the world’s economic and social systems.