Global warming poses major threat to Aust: Gore
[This is the print version of story
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Former US vice-president Al Gore says global warming threatens
Australia more than most other countries, causing weather extremes,
water shortages and the devastation of environmental treasures,
including the Great Barrier Reef.
Mr Gore says politicians can no longer ignore scientific warnings of
accelerating temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions, and the world
should be turning away from fossil fuels.
He has become an evangelist for the environment in the five years
since he lost the presidential race to George W Bush.
With his new film, An Inconvenient Truth, he is spreading the word
that unless countries unite to drastically cut carbon emissions,
global warming will wreak havoc on the planet.
"This is not a political issue, it's a moral one - it's deeply
unethical," he said.
Now, Mr Gore has brought the message to Australia, where he says the
stakes are extremely high.
"In many ways, Australia has more at risk than any other country," he
"I would hope that Australia would put more pressure on the US by
adopting this global agreement and then the US would feel enormous
pressure to change."
He says events like cyclone Larry and other severe storms are a
direct result of climate change.
"You are the driest of the inhabited continents," he said.
"Your grain growing areas are at risk.
"Ocean storms become stronger - you've had series of category 5
"All of these effects have been predicted and all of them will get
worse and worse until we turn the thermostat down."
Mr Gore joined politicians and community leaders at the Australian
premiere of the film in Sydney.
He is critical of Australia and the US for being the only two
developed nations not to sign the Kyoto Protocol to cut carbon
But his arguments did not convince the Prime Minister today.
"The fact is, if we signed the Kyoto Protocol, we would destroy a lot
of Australian industry and we would send Australian jobs to countries
like China, Indonesia and India," John Howard said.
Mr Gore says Mr Howard's argument is a fallacy.
"I find a lot of business leaders in Australia, as in the US, are
ahead of the political leaders and are saying it's not true that you
hurt the economy if you become more efficient to reduce pollution,"
"I like John Howard - he's a friend of mine - I've had a good
relationship with him for a long number of years.
"But I disagree with him strongly on this issue.
"If Australia changed, it would put enormous pressure on the US to