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Gore's New Book and Why the Choice of Clean Energy Is Ours to Make

Frances Beinecke

Posted November 4, 2009 in Solving Global Warming

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I love the title of Al Gore's new book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. Not only does it broadcast the fact that global warming can be solved, but it also reminds us that the decision to do so is ours to make.

In my view, it is common sense to embrace clean energy and watch the economy, national security, and jobs grow. We can choose the smart path. Or we can choose to ignore this looming calamity and pay the price in human lives, global unrest, and lost opportunity.  

After you read Gore's book, you will see why the choice must be made right now.

There is no greater champion of the climate imperative than Al Gore.

In his film, An Inconvenient Truth, he powerfully illustrated just how devastating climate change would be if left unchecked. With this book, he lays out the clean energy technologies that will stave off the crisis. And as you read about one clean energy innovation after another, you can't help asking: If we have all these solutions on hand, why wait any longer to put them in place?

The book is based on 30 of Gore's "Solutions Summits," gatherings he hosted with top energy scientists, engineers, policymakers, economists, and other experts. Gore augmented that input by doing his own independent research; he is nothing if not comprehensive.

But Gore distills his mastery of the topic into clean, readable prose, and he illustrates it with gorgeous glossy photos and accessible--and eye-opening--charts. Through it all, his enthusiasm about the technologies and his innate optimism shine through (you get a sense of both in this Newsweek feature as well).

For many years, Gore was the lone voice calling for climate action. I am relieved to say that is no longer the case. He remains one of our most powerful communicators, but he is not alone now.

He has a huge following, from those in his Alliance for Climate Protection to those across the clean tech sector, the science world, and the environmental community, all around the world. We all need to put pen to paper, to man the ramparts, to call for action.

I have put pen to paper, and next week I will release my own contribution to the climate debate, Clean Energy Common Sense.

I was inspired by Thomas Paine, who managed to frame the argument for independence in 1776 with his 47-page pamphlet Common Sense.

Paine's boldly underscored the imperative for the United State to declare independence. He wrote, "The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind."

The same is true today. We must act in the face of global warming, and the entire world is counting on our leadership.

Gore's book conveys a similar message. And while I do not profess to be on par with the Nobel Laureate and Former Vice President, I am proud to be a part of a growing chorus for climate action.

In this critical time, with this urgent choice before us, we need voices from every sector--political, corporate, environmental, religious, public health--to call for common sense solutions to climate change.

You can add your voice to the refrain by clicking here and telling your senator to pass clean energy and climate legislation now.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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