Blogs Dashboard

Just another Blogs.reuters.com weblog

Al Gore’s Live Earth pledge — should you sign?

July 5, 2007

With Live Earth concerts coming up on Saturday, Al Gore wants people to sign a seven-point pledge to help combat global warming.

pledge.jpgIf everyone signs and sticks to the promises, Gore reckons it would help avert more heatwaves, floods, droughts, disease and rising seas projected by the U.N. climate panel.

The pledge would also bring wrenching changes in lifestyles, especially in the United States and other rich nations addicted to fossil fuel use.

Most people, like me, can easily manage the suggested commitments on the Live Earth website such as “I will ride public transport or carpool one or more times a week” (I usually get to work by tram in Oslo).

But that will be far from enough if you sign the pledge. Some of the seven points involve hard-to-judge personal goals such as “demanding action” by the government for a 90 percent cut in emissions or “working for” big changes in society. It strikes me that point two is the toughest for individuals:

“I pledge…to take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become ‘carbon neutral’.”

So let’s say you are an average American emitting about 20 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year and manage to cut your emissions in half –that still leaves you having to offset 10 tonnes a year to become “carbon neutral”. You can plant trees to soak up emissions but they take time to grow.

Climatecare.org, which allows you to invest in renewable energies or forest plantings to soak up emissions, advertises offsets costing about $150 for 10 tonnes.

So that’s a serious pledge. Should people sign? Please tell us what you think.

Comments

Pledging is good, but it can only go so far. At least that has been my personal experience. Asking people to change behaviors is one of the hardest things. As a psychotherapist, believe me, I know! You may be interested in reading my green blog: “My Inconvenient Truth: the Daily Sins of a Green Girl Wannabe”. http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com

It is best to start where people are, rather than trying to get them to a place they are not ready yet to visit!

marguerite manteau-rao (in Palo Alto, CA)

 

Any chance at all we can get Al to sign the pledge? He is putting carbon in the atmosphere at the rate of hundreds and hundreds of “ordinary” individuals.

Even though he has the means to dramatically reuce his giant carbon footprint, and live an eco friendly lifestyle, he chooses to not do so.

I wonder why?

Posted by Rick G | Report as abusive
 

Hi
What we human beings are doing to our earth is ridiculous and pathetic.
Whatever that can be done to protect earth, we should do it now coz it’s already too late. And what Mr Al Gore is doing is really something great.

I still have my doubts about getting rid of CO2 efforts, for example storing it underground or under sea beds. Has the repurcurssions or side effects of it being looked into. There could be some earthquake or Tsunami one day and all that Millones of Tonnes of CO2 will be out in the air, which I think will be more dangerous than a gradul increase.

Just a thought, and I am sure people have looked into it. But we should be careful.

Thanks

Posted by Suryakant | Report as abusive
 

Yes, i would, infact i have.

And i disagree that offsetting is a serious commitment, it is a great thing that everyone should do and for the poor it costs virtually nothing due to emissions being lowest for these people, for the wealthy it costs more, a lot more, but these people can afford it.

 

Of course I’ll sign! It’s great to start with some specific goals and, although we are already a two Hybrid-car family, I was planning to start working to make our house green-friendly anyway. But the main reason I want to sign is to let politicians know that I take this seriously, it’s certainly my top ‘voting issue’ for 2008.

Posted by GreenMom | Report as abusive
 

I think everyone should sign it and should act on it. I have signed it and I am taking steps to act on it. There really isn’t another choice. Ultimately, the really big changes in energy policies that are going to lick this crisis are going to come top down, but the political will and the beginning of the solution has to move from the bottom up. That is why everyone should do their part to get this ball rolling.

Rick G: You simply do not know what you are talking about, I’m sorry to say. Gore has done everything on that pledge and thensome, and he does do everything that it is feasible for him to do to reduce his emissions and then offsets the rest. But even if what you said about Gore’s personal emissions were true – and it is not – it would really be beside the point. The climate crisis is beyond politics, and it is beyond any one individual. This isn’t a referendum on Al Gore or whether you like the way he sounds when he talks. It is about doing what needs to be done – together – so that we do not bequeath a seriously damaged Earth to our children and grandchildren. And doing what needs to be done does not require any of us to live in a hollow log. This isn’t a contest for purity, sainthood or popularity. Attacking the messenger will not, unfortunately, change any of the scientific findings or make global warming go away. If only it would . . . but it will not.

Posted by Michelle | Report as abusive
 

When asked about his son’s arrest, “A spokesman for the elder Gore said he was traveling and could not immediately be reached for comment.” Is he saying that Al Gore does not have a cell phone? Here’s one more example of why so few people believe what politicians say.

 

For all the people talking abut Al Gore’s Carbon footprints….great! I love it that you ask these questions; however, is it necessary?

He says he uses commercial air planes when possible and that for some events and for the timing of those events, he can’t.

He is making a big carbon footprint. True. In some ways, though, what he’s doing is causing everyone to think…it’s important that he travel so that we ask these questions and strive to make changes.

His big ol’ house? Well, that’s part of the behavior and idealism that needs to be addressed. Why do we want big ol’ houses when we make more money?

I would be much happier if he was using renewable energy sources in his home, though he says his family has made a lot of strides to reduce energy consumption.

Each of our footprints, though, has a lot to do with our sociological behavior. It’s shaped by policy and by history.

The size of the house shouldn’t matter as much as the availability of renewable energy sources, which is a big deal, considering economy is driven by oil investments. It will be hard to tackle that baby.

I think Al Gore is doing great things, though.

The pledge is a good thing, because it gets us thinking about things and changing some of our behaviours.

Posted by devrie | Report as abusive
 

I think it is very important to sign the pledge. Even though it is largely symbolic in the sense that many of us who sign the pledge are already doing the things we are pledging to do, it is so crucial to send a powerful message throughout the world that there is massive, massive support for this green movement to reverse or at least slow down and eventually halt global climate change and hopefully save the world. Is signing a little pledge enough? Is it the total answer? Of course not, but it is SOMETHING. If a huge number of people around the world sign, it sends a very clear, powerful message to the powers that be around the world that citizens demand greener corporations, greener products, and a general commitment to progressive, cleaner, greener approaches to life on this planet. Signing the pledge is a good thing. Let’s all do it!!!

Posted by Edna | Report as abusive
 

I will not sign Mr. Gore’s pleage. I work in mining and must daily meet or exceed safety and enviromental regulations. We do it right and create orginal wealth to keep America strong. I’m not sure of how sincre Mr. Gore is. At least his son used a green car to endanger innocent people.

Posted by rich wilden | Report as abusive
 

You idiots who have nothing to say should just shut the hell up and sign the damn pledge. How much does it hurt? And guess what? You’d be making a bigger statement than your pathetic little gripes could ever be.

Posted by T.Diddy | Report as abusive
 

I don’t doubt Al Gore’s sincerity, but his 7-point pledge is obviously a politician’s view of “action”. 4 of the points aren’t really personal actions at all, just political advocacy (“I will fight for a moratorium on coal-burning plants”, etc.) The remaining 3 points (reducing your carbon footprint, better energy efficiency at home/work, and planting trees) are very vague, mealy-mouthed commitments.

In other words, someone may sign this pledge and believe they’re living up to it, but in reality they haven’t taken a single CO2 molecule out of the air.

I wish Gore had offered a much more personal, effective pledge, something like this:
1) One day a week I will not drive my car at all.
2) In the winter I will set my home thermostat to 65 degrees.
3) In the summer I will set the thermostat to 80 degrees.
4) I will live without the worst home energy hogs: dishwashers, water beds, hot tubs and halogen torchiere lamps.
5) I won’t leave lights burning all night. If I must (for safety reasons) I’ll use CFL lights.
6) All my vacation travel will be within 200 miles of my home.
7) I will use only LCD monitors for all my PCs.

Posted by Mike W | Report as abusive
 

LOL Has anyone else considered the amount off “greenhouse gases” that will be emitted just to put on the worldwide concerts this weeekend? Kinda hypocritical…and I mean for ALL participants…don’tcha think?

Posted by Csailor | Report as abusive
 

Yes! Most definetely. For once somebody is actually doing something about Global warming. This means that “we the people” need to take back control of our government. The coorporations and industrial conglomerates have the world’s government in their pockets, and happy to lead us all down the drain. Yes, I do sign the pledege. I do choose to to follow the 7 point pledge and do as much more as I possibly can. So should you.

Posted by C. Malaga | Report as abusive
 

I think this is an amazing action to be a part of and I strongly support your pledge.
I, Michael Schnyer, pledge to support this plan and hope it will be a huge success.

Posted by Michael Schnyer | Report as abusive
 

I can’t think of a reason why supporting the only planet we have is considered outrageous.
Abusing the planet is crazy. It’s like setting fire to your life raft when you are miles from shore. PICK UP THAT PEN! It won’t hurt a bit.

Melinda

Posted by Mellinda | Report as abusive
 

As part of the Live Earth Pledge Al Gore just asked people to “join with others in preserving and protecting forests”

Forests really do store a lot of carbon in the plants and in the soil, while logging releases massive amounts of carbon. If you are interested in this topic here is a link to a good report on the topic: http://tinyurl.com/2epzrk

We really need to respect all of life on our planet because “Life” writ large is the “carbon pump” that will ultimately bring carbon levels down so that future generations can continue to enjoy a livable climate.

 

I pledgeto take personal action to help solve the climate crisis

Posted by Francesco Micheletti | Report as abusive
 

First I must say; has anyone considered the amount of stupidity in the comment about green house gases being emitted by these concerts?
Something has to be done, people have to realize the true situation. The only way to get the message out to the majority of the people is through the T.V. We are brain washed and lied to by that thing daily with B.S. This concert is a good thing, hopefully it will help to change people and actions for the better. We do have to do something. Yes, it’s looking like it’s too late for alot, but we can slow down the inevitable and make life worth living for life, for as long as we can. Greedy corporations with the help of our governments and “rulers” are wanting to annihilate every area left untouched now. They do not care about green life, wild life, human life, air, water, earth and we are sick because of them! We are dying because of them. China makes poisonous JUNK and they are not the only ones. They have to be made to stop as well. India too. We also advocate by what we buy and boy is there a bunch of cheap, worthless junk being made and we spoil our children with tons of throw away cheap toys. Green plastic can be made. Any other plastics are just poison for everyone and everything. The rulers need to make natural resources more easily available and not so expensive. Look at everything good for us> Expensive! But there’s plenty of cheap toxins to go around for the poor! Food included!
I do what I can and I go out of my way to help and I’m a big bad smoker and I am so pissed off at this whole smoking ban thing, because I know what is really out there making all of us sick. Peoples bodies are getting so toxic that do not smoke! If we can shut down some of those nasty factories, with giant toxic smoke stacks, we will be helping more than global warming. We will also start to detox the world and that should be the next move! Our cigarettes wouldn’t even be as bad for us, nor our food, etc…, if not for preservatives, pesticides, herbacides and who knows what other chemicals. The owners of the world are killing us period! They have had all the scientists, etc… telling them everything going on and whats causing this and that LONG before now, but they kept it shut up from the people didn’t they. And unfortunately it took the earth getting to this level before people started to pay attention and “care”.
Should we sign? I came in on this late, I’d have to look it over carefully. I do not want any more freedoms taken away from me. USA has been bought and sold, it’s more like Old Mother Russia babysitting little Brit! But at first glance the pledge looks harmless enough, but whether we sign or not, we should let the Rulers know how we feel and we should do our best to get back to some basics and lighten up on the rest…Alot! And we have to stop THEM!
Look at all that was caused for Oil?
Greed runs this earth and it must stop! All Empires have fallen because of it. Nobody ever learns.
We should be screamimg for clean, natural, affordable resources. Windmills, Solar cells, Green things!!! “They” made us spoiled on oil only to spoil “them” much much more! They’ve always done everything for “their” best interest and NOT OURS!
They have ruled us into Hell’s Dump and now we have to dig ourselves out! Period! Follow those Evil bastards and you’re a lamb being lead to slaughter.
Please do the best you can and good luck!

Posted by Deb Pugh | Report as abusive
 

Thanks Al :
Way to go .

 

I haven’t signed the pledge because I can’t commit to the “carbon set-off”… (am not convinced that there is an overall strategy to use the $$ effectively). But in the past year have moved to reduce the carbon emmissions personally – minimimal use of energy hogs (A/C, dishwashers), lowering thermostats, replacing irredescent bulbs, re-usable grocery bags, maximum recycling, public trasportation etc. It’s not about Gore, it’s about what we all can do!!

Posted by olivia | Report as abusive
 

What’s the problem with people taking pokes at Al Gore as an excuse not to dedicate themselves to this stuff? This issue transcends politics, because when you can’t drink the water, your kids are dying of cancer, you’re fryin’ in the sun, it won’t matter where you put your stupid X. And for all you people who say you have religion, if you want to respect and honour the Creator, then start by respecting and honouring the Creation. God does not create junk. That’s our department.

Posted by Isabel from Sturgeon | Report as abusive
 

With you and Mike Collett-White reporting status quo will continue

Is signing this pledge any more assuring than President Bush’s Pledges to keep America safe, healthy forests, keep our Blue skys, promotion of clean coal power?

I would trust those that sign this pledge more.

 

I would sign the pledge if Mr. Gore wants to add Education to his list. Its one thing, and a good thing, to bring awareness of the issues to people but unless we encourage the next generation to become Scientists, Mathematicians, Meteorologists and the like we will end up with a generation of folk who are very aware of the problems, know how to protest about the problems, certainly know how to go to a concert to get their point across but, completely unable to do a thing about it!

Posted by Alan Harris | Report as abusive
 

Dear Editor, July 13/07

Recent research by Henrik Svensmark and his group at the Danish National
Space Center points to the real cause of the recent warming trend. In a
series of experiments on the formation of clouds, these scientists have
shown that fluctuations in the Suns output cause the observed changes in the
Earths temperature.

In the past, scientists believed the fluctuations in the Suns output were
too small to cause the observed amount of temperature change, hence the need
to look for other causes like carbon dioxide. However, these new
experiments show that fluctuations in the Suns output are in fact large
enough, so there is no longer a need to resort to carbon dioxide as the
cause of the recent warming trend.

The discovery of the real cause of the recent increase in the Earths
temperature is indeed a convenient truth. It means humans are not to blame
for the increase. It also means there is absolutely nothing we can, much
less do, to correct the situation.

Thomas Laprade
480 Rupert St.
Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ph. 807 3457258
Canada

Your readers might be interested in these websites.

Please paste these links in your browser.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2007/glob al-warming020507.htm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,2881 95,00.html

http://www.abc.net.au/westqld/stories/s1 971899.htm?backyard

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?F useAction=Minority.Blogs&Content

http://www.worldclimatereport.com/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/06/opinio n/06fri1.html?hp

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id= 070705191403.gahmdtoi&show_article=1

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/st ory/CTVNews/20070705/green…

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/solar .htm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,2891 49,00.html

Posted by Thomas Laprade | Report as abusive
 

i just have one question about this whole thing…
signing this pledge is one thing but how can you be sure people will actually stick to it.
in the average household families might not be able to afford more energy efficient appliences or hydro cars…

bye

Posted by Carly.D. | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/