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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

January 30, 2013 - 8:45 am

Promoting his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, former Vice President Al Gore gave a glimpse of the future according to Al on MSNBC this morning:

“One place to begin is by noting that this is the first time in history that we have had so many revolutionary changes happening simultaneously. The digital — the digital revolution is connecting all of the 7 billion people in the world, at least 5 billion now connected in various ways, and not only to one another but to intelligent machines and devices.

The genetic engineering revolution is leading to the crossing of boundaries between species, the selection of traits including in human beings that puts us in active control of evolution.

We’re seeing not only the globalization of the economy but the deep interconnection of productive activities all over the world producing Earth, Inc., which has a new relationship to labor and capital and natural resources and nation states.

We’re seeing the rise of China and the shift of power from west to east and distributed to emerging centers of power all around the world.

And we’re seeing a — a continuing commitment to a particular curiously defined form of growth that excludes a lot of things from its calculations.

We ignore pollution. We ignore resource depletion. We ignore the distribution of income and the rising inequality and the hollowing out of the middle class.

We’re seeing the advanced automation that’s now going into a steep rise that really changes the relationship between technology and labor in ways that are fundamentally different than in the past.

And then, finally, we have the climate crisis and the emergent energy revolution because of the need to stop dumping all this global warming pollution into the atmosphere.”

Gore further warned that an atmosphere affected by pollution “traps enough extra energy to equal 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off every day.”

“It’s a big planet, but that’s a lot of energy. And that’s — that is what contributed to Superstorm Sandy. That’s what contributed to 60 percent of the country being in a drought last year. $110 billion worth of climate-related disasters.

Yesterday in Queensland, Australia, they had 2.5 feet of rain. The greater evaporation from the heat off the oceans fills the sky with much more water vapor, so that when a storm releases it, we get these giant floods.

My home city of Nashville, two years ago, thousands of my — and Jon’s, too, thousands of our neighbors lost their homes and businesses and had no flood insurance because it had never flooded there. It was a so-called once-in-a-thousand-year event.

But we’re having once-in-a-thousand-year events in a lot of places every few years now.

And the fires in — in the west.

Half of the North Polar ice cap is gone in summer, and the rest is gonna be gone soon.

It’s — it’s literally insane for us to continue on this path.

But all of these factors are interconnected. And one of the main themes of this book is that we have two large and powerful tools to use in shaping our future. One is democracy. One is capitalism.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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