Gore urges U.N. to "overcome paralysis" on climate
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore bluntly told a U.N. conference on Monday that the planet would be better off if people cared more about global warming and less about O.J. Simpson and Paris Hilton.
Gore, the star of the Oscar-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth," joined the head of the United Nations and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to speak with one voice to urge quick global action to stem emissions that heat the Earth.
But it was Gore, who has become a guru for environmentalists, who stole the show as the United Nations turned its attention to the global ramifications of climate change and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"We have to overcome the paralysis that has prevented us from acting and focus clearly and unblinkingly on this world crisis, rather than spending time on Anna Nicole Smith and O.J. Simpson and Paris Hilton," Gore said, drawing applause in referring to widely chronicled U.S. scandals. (clip)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined that call to action in his remarks to about 80 world leaders who met to focus on the problem of climate change. "Today let the world know that you are ready to shoulder this responsibility and that you will address this challenge head on," he said."
And well they should, a recent BBC poll shows that "nine out of 10 people said action was necessary, with two-thirds of people going further, saying "it is necessary to take major steps starting very soon".
According to the conductors of the poll, Globescan President Doug Miller said growing awareness of global warming had awoken people's self-interest.
"The impacts of erratic weather on their property, on their person, on their country is tangible and real to people across the world."
He said "the strength of the findings makes it difficult to imagine a more supportive public opinion environment for national leaders to commit to climate action".
On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the highest-level UN gathering on climate change that "the time for doubt has passed".
Mr Ban is hoping to inject a sense of urgency to the political negotiations on global warming that are due to be held in Indonesia in December. "If we do not act now, the impact of climate change will be devastating," he said.
Representatives from about 150 countries, including 80 heads of state or government, were at the meeting, held on the eve of the UN General Assembly.
However, US President George W Bush was not present. Instead, he is hosting a meeting of 16 "major emitter" countries in Washington on Thursday and Friday. (more)
Meanwhile, there is some possibililty that Mr. Gore will once again be in the limelight, should the Nobel Committee decide to award him the Peace Prize.
Who would have known that the Supreme Court
in its landmark decision of Bush vs Gore,
was really deciding War vs Peace?
Will we remain frozen in time?
Before the clock runs out.
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