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CNN Live Event/Special
The Prize For Peace
Aired December 10, 2007 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JONATHAN MANN, HOST (voice over): One man's campaign, scientists exacting calculations. Their research wrote the book on global warming. He did the movie. Together they earned the Nobel Prize.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I call upon the peace prize laureate for 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, represented by its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, and the peace prize laureate for 2007, Al Gore, to come forward to receive the gold medal and the diploma.
ANNOUNCER: From Oslo, Norway, CNN presents "The Prize for Peace," a discussion with the laureates of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
And now from the site of the annual awards ceremony, CNN's Jonathan Mann.
MANN: Hello and welcome.
Imagine trying to save the world with a slideshow or with volume after volume of dense research that relatively few people are ever really going to read in their entirety. Well, this year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chose to recognize the work of one man and thousands of men and women who have been trying to study and stop global warming. If the committee is right, we may owe them the world.
So let's welcome and congratulate the laureates of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, representing the thousands of scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and former U.S. vice president Al Gore.
AL GORE, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE RECIPIENT: Thank you.
RAJENDRA PACHAURI, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE RECIPIENT: Thank you.
MANN: The work that the Nobel Committee recognizes this year was done in different ways along two parallel tracks. Essentially, both of them pushing us and our leaders to understand what we're doing to our planet. That's what we're going to be talking about for the next hour. But first we're going to take a moment to look back at what you have done.
GORE: The planet has a fever.
MANN (voice over): Al Gore hasn't just been talking about the weather. As a young lawmaker, he tried to convince the U.S. Congress to pay attention. As U.S. vice president, he supported the Kyoto Accord on U.S. gas emissions. As a private citizen, he's written books, rallied rock stars, and given lectures across the U.S. and around the world that were filmed for "An Inconvenient Truth," trying to persuade the most prolific polluters on Earth, the American people, that they are heating up the planet.
THOMAS LOVEJOY, PRESIDENT, HEINZ FOUNDATION: Well, I think he's done just an extraordinary job of awakening public consciousness to essentially, you know, the largest environmental challenge of all time.
MANN: For years the threat seemed uncertain. The planet may be getting warmer, but there was still widespread debate about why or whether mankind was to blame.
The United Nations decided that the world had to work together to find out. Coming together with a big job and an ungainly name, thousands of scientists formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
DR. VAUGHAN TUREKIAN, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION, ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE: It's actually one of the amazing stories of both science diplomacy, but science diplomacy leading to some of the most important findings about something that we all share, which is the global climate.
MANN: Much of the criticism of the award has centered on Gore.
MYRON EBELL, COMPETITIVE ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I don't think global warming should be at the top of the world's political agenda. And secondly, I think he's done it through essentially scare mongering.
MANN: Still, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had this to say about Al Gore and the IPCC: "His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films, and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus."
MANN: Scientists had to have the information that they could trust and people had to believe it enough to do something about it.
Al Gore, you have said in the past that you felt like a failure in spreading the message. Today you have the Nobel Peace Prize.
There are 200 governments represented in Bali, Indonesia, trying to address this very issue. Are you feeling like it's been more of a success?
GORE: Well, I think we're making progress, but the measure of success is not recognition. The measure of success is cutting back on the global warming pollution that's causing this unprecedented catastrophe. And today we will dump 70 million tons of extra CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere. Tomorrow a little bit more than that, and so on until we decide to stop.
And so when I say I feel as if I have failed, my objective was and has been and is to find some way to rally public opinion in my country and elsewhere in the world to the point that we cross a tipping point, and beyond which the people of our world say to their political leaders, you must act. We have to have new laws. We have to have a treaty. We have to stop destroying the climate balance.
MANN: Public opinion is one half of the prize that the Nobel Committee was giving out this year. The other half is for the basic science that is really crucial in all of this. And to just say the obvious, a lot of people have heard of Al Gore. No one really seems to know very much about what the IPCC does. I mean, you're scientists, but you're not out there with thermometers and weather balloons testing the weather.
Is there some easy way to explain to everyone who is watching what exactly all you people have been up to?
PACHAURI: Well, you see, the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, just to clarify, was established in 1988 because there was a great deal of concern about the scientific issues related to climate change. And the U.N. asked that this panel be set up.
It was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program. And we've been able to mobilize the best brains, the best expertise from around the world to focus on every aspect of climate change and carry out a detailed assessment. And this has happened in a number of reports that we have produced.
We've just completed the fourth assessment report, but, in addition, we've also produced a large number of special reports. Now, this body has really provided the defining knowledge as far as climate change is concerned.
MANN: And yet, for the longest time, for centuries, people have been saying that the end is near. This goes back centuries. Some of the most eminent minds have been predicting doom and disaster for our planet.
What makes either of you, what makes both of you, confident that this time you're right?
PACHAURI: Well, you see, the point is people can come up with all kinds of predictions. You have astrologers who might talk about all kinds of things that will happen to the entire universe, but the fact is here you have the best scientific expertise that works together in a diligent and applied manner for several years. And each one of our reports is very carefully peer viewed, and the entire proceedings where the reports are accepted by all the governments of the world is done in a very transparent and open manner.
MANN: Now, you're talking about years, and I want to ask you about that, because you said something, and I'd like you to both comment on it because it's terrifying if it's true.
The assumption has been for people who don't care about global warming, and even for people who do, is that we have a lot of time to solve this problem. People have had various estimates, but you've said now two or three years to make the decisions that are really going to decide the fate of the planet. That's terrifying if it's true.
Is it really true? Is it just two or three years?
GORE: Well, the most distinguished scientists in the world who work under Pachauri's leadership -- and many of them are here in this audience -- have said we may have as little as 10 years, and the newest findings have narrowed the range even more, within which to begin making a major course correction. And if we do that quickly, we have time to hold the concentrations of this global warming pollution down below the level that would produce the worst catastrophic consequences. If we chose not to, then what they mean by a point of no return is not that the world would end immediately at all, but that we risk setting in motion changes within the Earth's system that would gain power and momentum on their own of a magnitude that would be beyond our ability to retrieve the favorable climate balance.
And if I could add one more thing, Jonathan, what's new about this is that the whole relationship between humanity and the Earth's environment has been radically transformed. We've quadrupled population in less than one century, and that's stabilizing of its own accord, but it's redefined our relationship to the planet and our impact. Secondly, or even more importantly, our technologies and routine use are now many thousands of times more powerful than the ones that are grandparents or parents who are familiar with.
And the combination of 6.5 billion growing to 9 billion, using on average much more technological power and, most importantly, by mechanizing the transformation of these fossil fuel deposits into the invisible CO2 pollution that's trapping heat from the sun, that's what's new. We're now the bull in the china shop.
MANN: OK. There's lots to talk about in this. We have to take several commercial breaks in the course of this hour, and one of them is just about to get under way.
But stay with us, because when we come back, we're going to move from the science to the silver screen and talk about Al Gore the movie star.
We'll be back from Oslo in a moment.
MANN: Welcome back.
If you think about the way that Hollywood makes movies, would a fading politician with a slideshow strike you as an obvious hit? Well, a funny thing. "An Inconvenient Truth" became a stunning success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE, "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH": Here is where CO2 is now.
MANN (voice over): There isn't much to see in the movie. Mostly Al Gore, a small audience, and a big screen, a lot of information about global warming, and a bit about his background to explain why he cares. There isn't much to see, but it's scary.
GORE: In a period of 35 days, this ice shelf completely disappeared. They could not figure out how in the world this happened so rapidly.
MANN: Not everyone was rushing to see it.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I doubt it.
MANN: And not everyone agreed with what they saw. A British judge ruled there were nine errors in the film after it was distributed in the country's school and a parent took it to court. But the judge said the movie should be shown.
Al Gore's people said that the judge had taken issue with only a handful of facts and backed the film overall. And some experts believe the latest findings about melting Arctic ice, for example, are a lot more frightening than Gore's film.
THOMAS LOVEJOY, PRESIDENT, HEINZ FOUNDATION: I think, if anything, he underestimates the rate of change, and so has the IPCC. So the Arctic Ocean is now projected to be ice-free for the first time in 2020 instead of 2050 or 2100.
MANN: We'll talk about the science more in a moment.
But first, I want to ask you about how it started, because a traveling slideshow seems a little below the pay grade of a former U.S. vice president. What were you thinking?
GORE: Well, excuse me.
GORE: The old cliche "A picture is worth a thousand words" has to be modified now. A slideshow may be worth many thousands of words, and I have found it easier to communicate with computer graphics than by just trying to paint word pictures.
MANN: OK. Fair enough.
Let me ask you about the criticism and the court battle in Britain about the facts. If you had that movie to make over again, how much of it would you change? How many of the facts would you just lighten up a little bit?
GORE: Virtually nothing. Virtually nothing. And one of the issues was they said the polar bears aren't in any trouble at all. Well, I think maybe they've taken another look.
MANN: Well, what they said -- to be fair, what they said is there's very little empirical evidence that polar bears are drowning. What some of your critics have said is that, in fact, more polar bears are being shot by hunters than are suffering because of global warming.
GORE: Well, you know, we have to do a reality check. The entire North Polar Ice Cap is in the process of melting in a very short period of time. That's their habitat. It's disappearing.
The Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet were both excluded from the calculations of the IPCC in their previous report. The best scientists who have the expertise on ice science argue that it should be included. It was put into a footnote. And now they are going back, as they have said they would do, and they are including it. The rate of...
MANN: Well, let me jump in.
MANN: If our source here is the IPCC...
MANN: ... they're actually well represented.
GORE: Not turning away, absolutely.
MANN: Have you seen the movie? Did you think it was accurate?
PACHAURI: I have. I think it's a very good movie. I was moved by the movie. I really enjoyed it very much.
And I personally think when you're disseminating the message, you have got to do it in a manner that appeals to the audience. And I really didn't see anything that one could call a scientific inaccuracy.
I never saw it from that perspective, but, you know, I went to see the movie because I wanted to see how he disseminated the message, and I think that was extremely well done. It was very, very effective.
MANN: Well, it was effective in another sense as well. And this was a personal one.
Before the movie you were best known, of course, as the former U.S. vice president, as the man who almost became president. Your critics ridiculed you as "Ozone Man," and then the movie came out...
GORE: Well, that was actually the first President Bush, who used that...
MANN: I think you have some fans here in the audience.
You went from being "Ozone Man" to "The Gorical." This became -- the Nobel Prize became "The Goronation." You must be conscious of the change in perceptions about you in particular because of that film.
GORE: Maybe we can stop somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
The movie had an impact which I'm very grateful for, and I'd also like to acknowledge again my debt of gratitude to the scientific community that has really done the work in assembling this body of knowledge. I have tried for 30 years to translate the scientific insights into language that I personally can understand on the theory that if I can understand it, I can communicate it to others. That's all I've tried to do really.
One thing that a lot of people don't know about you is that Al Gore is actually the co-founder of his own television network. It's called Current TV, and it exists, correct me if I'm wrong, to try and give ordinary people a chance to generate their own television programming.
We at CNN do something similar. We call ours "I-Report." And we have asked I-Report contributors to send in their own questions for the laureates. And I think we have one now coming to us from Brussels, Belgium.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCUS STROMEYER: Hello. I'm Marcus Stromeyer and I currently live in Belgium. I'm a gigantic fan of your book, especially our movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," and I was just wondering, what would you say to the people that state that you yourself are not environmentally friendly?
(END VIDEO CLIP) MANN: Now, a little bit of background here. That young man I presume has seen the Internet, because on the Internet you have been criticized, ridiculed, you've been a figure of fun, I think it's fair to say, because of your own personal energy use. The Associated Press, among other sources, is reporting that your family home in -- near Nashville, Tennessee, used $1,200 a month in electricity, which is 10 times the average for homes nearby.
It's been widely disseminated, and I think that's what he's getting at. Is it true? Are you a little less green than you seem?
GORE: No. No, it's not true. I -- we walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
In fact, we have -- the term is "gold certified." It's among the highest ratings you can possibly get for having an environmentally- friendly home.
We have 33 solar (INAUDIBLE) panels on the roof. We have geothermal heating and cooling under the driveway. We have changed all the light bulbs and the windows and all the rest.
And I'm very proud of what we have done there. But I want to say -- and also we've been carbon neutral for many years. But...
MANN: So the $1,200 a month number that's out there on the blogosphere...
GORE: There was a global warming denier group that put out misleading information.
MANN: The Associated Press is not that kind of organization, and they are saying...
GORE: No. They reported what that group said.
And look, when you try to make a case like this, you are going to have -- you're going to have people try to attack the messenger in order to get at the message. They have not been able to succeed, but the most important element of this is the message, and part of what -- part of what these deniers try to communicate is that the only way to solve this crisis is for individuals to make changes in their own lives.
We've made those changes, many millions of others have, but we have to stop kidding ourselves. This is not a "me" problem. It's a "we" problem.
We have to have new laws. We have to have a treaty. We have to have collective action so that -- for example, a tax on CO2 to replace employment taxes. We have to have a treaty at Bali.
We can't -- we can't leave this up to individual private isolated actions. This is a world problem, and we have to have a world collective solution to it.
When we look at global warming, we look around the world. Some places are easy to stare at. Some places are easy to overlook. We're going to take another break and then we're going to talk about a place that might deserve a little more attention.
Stay with us. We'll be back from Oslo right after this.
MANN: Welcome back to Oslo.
If you look at the problem of global warming around the world, it's easy to point fingers at the United States. It is, after all, the world's biggest polluter and the key holdout from the Kyoto Accord. But if the point is really to reduce global warming and the emissions that lead to it, maybe people ought to be looking at China. The truth is, it's going to be a much bigger problem.
CNN's John Vause has more on that.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): China is quite literally choking on its own success -- a booming industrial machine pumping out more and more climate changing carbon emissions. But Cheu Uli (ph) is responsible for virtually none of it. His full home is heated by wood he collects.
He has a TV but no other appliances. No car, no motorbike. Even the corn he grows is planted by hand. He hardly knows anything about global warming.
Seven hundred million Chinese are just like Mr. Cheu (ph). One of the reasons, the government is pushing the economy at breakneck speed to lift them from poverty into a lifestyle more like Jane and Richard Tsai (ph). They own a car, live in a two-bedroom apartment with all the latest electrical goods.
"I'm concerned that when my daughter is our age the sky will be black and the air a total mess," he says.
As a developing nation, China is exempt from the Kyoto agreement mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases, and is either now or will be very soon the world's biggest emitter of CO2, even though per capita, China produces just a fraction of the emissions produced by the U.S. And while China's own scientists are warning of a devastating impact from climate change, the government is refusing to cap emissions.
FATIH BIROL, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: The CO2 emissions is not a problem of today. The atmosphere concentration is a problem of the last 200 years.
VAUSE (on camera): Regardless of the argument, scientists say unless China is part of a global solution to climate change, it will be the major cause of the problem.
John Vause, CNN, Beijing.
MANN: Dr. Pachauri, people in the West say if we sacrifice, if we reduce our greenhouse emissions and China increases theirs, there's no gain, there's no good from it.
PACHAURI: Well, I'd like to ask the (INAUDIBLE) climate change was -- came into existence in 1992. The Kyoto Protocol in 1997. What's the sacrifice that's been made so far?
I'd like to count that. I haven't seen that anywhere, and, therefore, what I would submit...
PACHAURI: ... before one pushes this burden on the shoulders of the developing countries, one would like to see a commitment and some real action in the developed world, because in per capita emissions, I think the developing countries are way behind. There's no comparison at all.
MANN: And yet, China uses more coal today than the United States, Japan, and the European Union combined. China is building a coal-fired power plant. On average, you know the statistics, about every 10 days somewhere in China. The pollution is enormous and China gets a free ride under Kyoto and is demanding the same thing under any future accord.
It just seems if we really care about pollution, if, as Al Gore says, pollution knows no borders, China has to be part of the deal.
PACHAURI: Well, I think in most developing countries, China included, you really have to solve the problem of poverty, and I think what this would require is using coal, no doubt, but what I would suggest is that we use coal with the best possible technologies that are available. Now, that's going to cost much more in terms of investments, and, therefore, there has to be a means by which globally one can take care of that incremental cost over and above what would be the conventional technology. And I think that's where the world has not really found a solution.
MANN: Well, it hasn't, and the world hasn't even found agreement on this. This is a big issue in Bali.
Let me ask you, Al Gore. China is asking for a free ride, and to put it -- in addition, a subsidy from the developed world.
Would you try and sell that to the people of France, Germany, the people of the United States?
GORE: Well, this is a difficult problem for the world. Every treaty and global agreement since the end of World War II has had the same basic design -- the wealthier countries take on the first obligations and the poor countries come in the second phase.
During the last 10 years since Kyoto, China has become the Saudi Arabia of manufacturing. They are also a major consuming power now, and within the next six months they will overtake the U.S. as the largest CO2 emitter. So they have to be a part of the solution. And so they have to take some kinds of obligations early in the process, but they're also right in saying that the wealthier countries should recognize their own self-interests in helping them use carbon capture and safe storage technologies, for example.
Let me give you a number.
The estimates are now that we could, using technology now being demonstrated, capture and safely store the CO2 from coal with electricity bills being affected by 20 to 30 percent. That sounds like a huge number. But if we really took account of the true cost of destroying the planet's environment and we had a tax on CO2 that was given back in other ways, then that would be economic to do today. So we have to arrive at a bargain that does transfer technology and that does have the wealthier and the poorer countries working together.
PACHAURI: But let me say this, having mentioned what I did, I think there's every reason for the developing countries to find a new part of development. I think climate change is really a symptom of something much larger, and that's an unsustainable part of development.
I think the world is using far too much by way of natural resources. We're impacting far too much on the ecosystems of this Earth. And I think that developing countries have a unique opportunity, and, I would say, an obligation to find a path of development that is much lower in terms of carbon intensity, much lower in terms of the impacts on natural resources. But this has to be done in partnership.
I think the developed world cannot possibly pursue a very different lifestyle, a very different resource-intensive part of development and expect the developing countries to be very different. So I think we have to somehow get a partnership. We have got to see that this is a problem that afflicts and affects all of us.
MANN: That's what...
GORE: And if I could add to that, Albert Einstein once said famously that the problems of our world cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them. Here's the new level of consciousness we need. CO2 put into the atmosphere anywhere circles the globe and affects the entire globe.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said injustice anywhere affects justice anywhere. CO2 now anywhere threatens our future everywhere. We're one planet, we're one civilization. Nations are still the primary units of account, but nations have to work together under the assumption that we are going to survive together and save our planet.
MANN; I dare say that's why some people are pointing fingers at China.
We have a to take a break. We could talk about that a lot more. When we come back, Al Gore already has an Oscar and an Emmy, and now a Nobel Peace prize. What about a big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue? We'll be back from Oslo in a moment.
ANNOUNCER: THE PRIZE FOR PEACE continues. Once again from Oslo, Norway, CNN's Jonathan Mann.
MANN: Welcome back. Al Gore spent much of his life as a professional politician, and he likes to joke that once he was even the next president of the United States. Some of his supporters haven't forgotten.
MANN (voice-over): Al Gore did make it to the White House -- last month on a special visit to honor him for his Nobel Prize. He was polite, but it was seven years behind schedule, not the way he had once planned, and needless to say, the man he ran against is the president.
GORE: He was very gracious in setting up the meeting, and it was a very good and substantive conversation.
MANN: Nearly 51 million people voted for Al Gore in the year 2000. Half a million more than George Bush. But that year the vote count descended into chaos. It took a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the outcome. In the years since, some Gore supporters never really backed off.
DOUG HATTAWAY, FMR. GORE SPOKESMAN: He's a youngish elder statesman, if you will, with expertise on a lot of critical issues, like national security.
MANN: Gore is not running, and a lot of other candidates are running hard. Even so some of his admirers are funding Web Sites and ads in newspaper and on TV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Imagine our new world, an end to the war in Iraq. Imagine Al Gore as president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Some Democrats can imagine all that. Right after he was named as the Nobel laureate they were asked their preference for the party's presidential nomination. Gore got 14 percent.
GORE: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MANN: That number by itself doesn't sound like much. Hillary Clinton was far ahead, but just about everybody else was at about approximately the same level.
I want to talk to you about that in a moment, but first I've got to ask you about that president with President Bush at the White House. Being there, did you want to pinch yourself? Did you want to pinch President Bush?
GORE: Well, as I said, he was very gracious in calling me to say congratulations and inviting me to come, and not only that, he went further and set up for the two of us a half-hour personal conversation.
MANN: What was that like? What was the chemistry like?
GORE: It was a private meeting.
MANN: Was it a tense private meeting? Was it a friendly meeting?
GORE: No, no, no. We talked about the climate crisis the entire time. The atmosphere was very cordial, and it was a great conversation. And, of course, we have disagreements, and I wish that the U.S. executive branch would change its policy.
It's unfortunate that my country, which I believe should be the leader of the world, is now blocking action in Bali. Both -- I will go along with Pachauri to the negotiations in Bali from here in Oslo two days from now, and I hope that there will be an uprising of political pressure across party lines. This shouldn't be a partisan issue. It's a moral issue, and I hope that that will result in pressure to change the U.S. position.
MANN: OK, you could try and lead that, in fact. You have been asked this question any one of a number of times, but we're on live television. There are hundreds of people here. There are millions of people around the world. Will you run?
GORE: Well, thank you, Jonathan for asking that question. You may have heard my answer in other venues. I have no plans to run.
MANN: OK, let me ask you then, having made that clear before, would you serve in the next administration if you were invited?
GORE: No, no. You know, I haven't ruled out the idea of getting back into the political process at some point in the future. Don't expect to, but if I did get back, it would be as a candidate for president, not in any other position. I don't expect to ever get back into the political process.
MANN: Let me ask you about the people who are running, whether on Republican side or maybe more appropriately on the Democratic side. Do you like any one of their platforms enough to feel confident that the ideas that you represent, that are represented here, are going to be heard in the White House? Do you like the plans you're hearing from Hillary Clinton or anyone else?
GORE: One of the reasons I have been devoting so much of my time and energy to trying to change people's minds at the grassroots level, is that the political system as it now operates make it is very difficult for these candidates to make it the No. 1 priority. I want to change the way people think so when they walk down the street in Iowa or New Hampshire or any other state, they will be button holed by people across party lines, saying make this your top priority.
Now, that having been said, several of the Democratic candidates and a couple of the Republican candidates have made the statements and issued position papers that I think move very far in the right direction, and I'm encouraged as a result that whichever party win this is next election will see a change in policy in the White House.
MANN: OK, again, we have to take another break. When we come back, we're going to talk about solutions. Some are simple, some might leave you scratching your head. We'll be back from Oslo right after this.
MANN: Welcome back. You would be amazed at some of the ideas people have had to try to solve global warming. One of them is to scatter sulfur into the sky. Another one is to burst a comet so that it forms a dust cloud that protects the Earth. Some people say we should just get a paint can and literally paint the ground white. Well, engineers have tended to laugh off many of these proposed solutions for years now, but our Miles O'Brien has a look at another idea. See if it sounds silly to you.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one long- range vision of the future that is generating more buzz than after. It offers a solution that global warming that leaves the globe behind. Solar power gathered in space and beamed back to our energy-hungry planet with no impact on the climate.
GEORGE WHITESIDES, NATL. SPACE SOCIETY: And we're going to need renewable, sustainable sources, and space-based solar power is both unlimited and very clean, and that make it is, I think, a key part of our future.
O'BRIEN: As audacious as it sounds, the concept is simple: Build huge solar arrays 22,000 miles in space where the sun never sets and is six times more intense. Convert the electricity into microwaves, beam them back to rectifying antennas on the ground, and convert it back into electricity 24 hours a day.
The idea has been around for about 40 years. Tests show the power beams work fine and would not pose any health threat. But launch costs run at least $6,000 a pound, and even a small demonstration plant could cost at least $10 billion.
For now, at least, drilling down is a lot cheaper than drilling up, but in the next 10 years that all could change as the price of fossil fuel heads into orbit.
Miles O'Brien reporting from Oslo, Norway.
MANN: Amazing stuff. Dr. Pachauri, would the gee whiz science fiction stuff work?
PACHAURI: Well, you see something that we brought out very clearly in the Fourth Assessment Report is the fact that all the technologies that you need to bring about stringent mitigation of emissions of these greenhouse gases are here, are on the verge of being commercialized. So there's absolutely no reason to wait for something like this. I think we don't have to wait for science fiction to become reality.
I have nothing against some of these ideas being tried out on a pilot basis, but we have to get on with action.
MANN: So what's going to work? What is the action that we need to take?
PACHAURI: Well, there's a wheel range of things. For instance, the technology that we need for bringing about reduction in these emissions are available, but they will only work provided you have a policy framework, a price on carbon. I think if you want to make the market work, then you clearly have to place a price on carbon, which would ensure that new technologies will be developed that are lower in carbon intensity, and that consumers will use them. Because unless they have a price single that moves them away from carbon-intensive activities, certainly it's not going to work.
And finally, I think it's also important for to us bring about some lifestyle changes. I don't think that's a dirty word. It's not a four-letter word.
MANN: Lifestyle changes. What are some things ordinary people can do? You said it's not really an individual problem anymore. But can individuals make the difference?
GORE: Individuals can and should be a part of the solution, but I wanted to comment on this idea. Some of these science fiction ideas are less crazy than others, but I wouldn't want Homer Simpson to be in charge of that microwave column coming down sort of careening around. But there are others that are truly crazy. I read someone who said the solution to global warming is to colonize other planets, and we couldn't even evacuate New Orleans.
But actually some of the new technological breakthroughs that we don't automatically think of could play a major role. Think of the computer revolution, for example. There used to be a half dozen computers in the world, each the size of a small building, and you had to go that place to use it. Now there are supercomputers by that measure by the hundreds of millions all around the planet.
We still, however, think that we have to get our electricity from large, big structures that burn lots of coal or whatever, when actually some of the new breakthroughs that have much more efficiency, higher levels of conservation, make it possible to use breakthroughs that have massively distributed generating capacity. Small windmills, small solar (INAUDIBLE) panels of the next generation.
MANN: A personal generator.
PACHAURI: That's correct. As spread all around. Sharing through a smart grid that allows people when they're used less to sell unlimited quantities into the grid at a price that's set by a public authority so that we might in many areas never need another central station generating plant.
MANN: And yet when you talk and when you talk both of you mention the same phrase, or roughly the same phrase, which is carbon tax, and for people out there who aren't really following this, what a carbon tax essentially would be is a tax on the carbon in our fuel sources, in our energy sources. So instead of paying a percentage of the price of a gallon of gasoline, you'd pay for the amount of carbon it contains. You'd pay for the carbon and coal.
But to work, you'd have to pay a lot, or people would keep using the carbon. So what you're both saying is that the world economy, and all of us who are individuals in the world economy are going to need a real shot in the arm if we're going to solve this problem. It's going to have to get really expensive.
PACHAURI: If you go back to the period when we had an oil price shock in the mid-70s, there was a huge scarcity of gasoline, and I lived in the U.S. at that point in time. People found ways. I mean, a Republican administration came up with CAFE standards, and that did result in automobiles being more efficient. I think there's a whole range of market. as well as regulatory mechanisms that could be put into place, and I think you certainly need a change in attitude. So I mean basically what you're trying to do through a carbon tax, or putting a price on carbon is to bring in a collective which, unfortunately, has not been there all this while as a result of which we have emitted carbon dioxide...
MANN: People are going to object to paying a lot more, but we could talk about this point...
GORE: Let me respond to your comment. Let's say we were starting from scratch and I gave you a choice. We have to have some -- the governments have to have some revenue in order to provide health and this, that and the other. OK, here's the choice -- we can put a tax on every paycheck you earn, or we can put a tax on the pollution you generate. If we do the second, then if you want to cut your taxes, you cut your pollution. Which do you choose?
PACHAURI: Also, let's remember, one of the benefits of the Kyoto Protocol has been the fact it's created a market for carbon. This would have been much bigger if some countries were part of the emissions...
GORE: Like the U.S. MANN: We're going to talk about that in a moment. First want to go back to the i-Reporters. We have someone who sent in something from Paris, a suggestion of his own. Let's listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL LINDLEY, PARIS, FRANCE: Hello, Vice President Gore. My name is Michael Lindley. I live in Paris, France, and I'd like to congratulate you on the success you're having with your campaign.
I'd also like to ask you about the contention from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that raising animals for food contributes about 40 percent of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Dr. Pachauri, he's referring to Al Gore, but let's hear from you because you're the scientist. Forty percent sounds a bit high, but if we all went vegetarian that would be a shock to the system and a lifestyle change. Twenty of global warming would be reduced, twenty percent of greenhouse gasses?
PACHAURI: Well, I don't know about the number, 40 percent, but you know, there's no getting away from the fact that if we ate less meat, and I'm not saying eat zero meat, if we ate less meat, we would be healthier and so would the planet.
MANN: On that note, on that note, we'll find out what you're having for dinner during the commercial break. When we come back we're going to talk about the people who seem to be standing in the way.
We'll be back from Oslo after this.
COLLINS: Welcome back to Oslo. One of the ironies of this year's Nobel Prize is that one of the laureates is an environmental from the United States, a country whose own people seem to be among the last ones on Earth who believe what he's saying, but that may be changing.
MANN: Have you seen this on the Internet? a video mocking "An Inconvenient Truth." It looks like something created by a college student, but according to "The Wall Street Journal" it came from a Washington lobbying firm that represents big names in the oil industry. When we got in touch with the firm, DCI, it had no comment. But over the years comment about Gore and global warming hasn't been hard to find.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: You know why I call him Ozone Man? This guy is so far off in the environmental extreme, we'll be up to our necks in owls and out of work for every American. This guy is crazy!
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: The Nobel Peace prize is about politics. It's the Kentucky derby of the world left, and it gives it to people who put politics are either anti-American or anti- Bush, and that's why he won it.
MANN: But the people of the United States increasingly believe there is a problem. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found that 56 percent of Americans consider global warming a proven fact, and believe that people are causing it. An even bigger majority want the United States to do what it can to solve the problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED KRUPP, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE: We're not yet, at it's the climate, stupid, but we're well past the point where it is no longer very smart to oppose action on climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANN: Maybe the best way to describe American attitudes, and I hope this is fair to all concerned, is that Americans do know about global warming and they do care, but they don't care all that much. Al Gore, you travel across the United States, you know there are millions of ordinary Americans. There are senators, there are scientists who disagree with you. There are a few people running for president. Do you see their point of view, or is there some problem? Because around the world, people wonder why Americans feel so differently from everyone else.
GORE: Yes and a lot of Americans are changing, and our largest state, California, now has passed binding mandatory CO2 reductions, and that's unleashed a wave of investment in alternative sources of energy. Quite a few other states have taken similar steps. More than 700 cities have independently adopted a version of the Kyoto Protocol and many of them prospering as they meet those standards; 150 business leaders, including some of the largest businesses in the U.S., have called for mandatory CO2 reductions.
Some conservative evangelical leaders have now broken with their former political coalition to say, in the language of the scripture, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. There is a lot of change coming, and it's at the grassroots level and in both political parties.
MANN: What about scientists? Because Dr. Pachauri, you work with U.S. scientists.
PACHAURI: Yes. I mean, let's face it, the scientific community in the U.S. is not only convinced of this reality, but they've been contributing in a big way in creating the knowledge based on climate change. Let me say something. What's extremely important is not only to create the science and the knowledge that we have today, but also to disseminate it. And I think there's a big change taking place in the U.S. today partly because -- largely because of what Mr. Al Gore has done, but also because of the findings that we have brought out in the Fourth Assessment Report.
MANN: He mentioned just about everyone on the list except the administration, the Bush administration. And there are widespread reports -- let me give you one example, very concrete example -- that the Bush administration was instrumental in toppling your predecessor within the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, hoping to get a friendlier person put in.
PACHAURI: Well, that I think is an inaccuracy. You know, no country can topple anybody. This is an election that is held transparently involving all the countries of the world. And you know, it's for a country to decide who it wants to nominate or not nominate. Anyway, I wouldn't want to get into that controversy, but the basic fact is that today there is so much awareness about climate change and the scientific reality of climate change, it's escalating.
And the U.S. is after all a democracy, notwithstanding the lobbyists and so on that you referred to.
MANN: Let me take you back to the controversy though. Let me take you back to the controversy because you wrote in the "New York Times," in an opinion piece back in 2002. And I can quote it here, "The administration threw its weight behind the lets drag our feet candidate, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri of New Delhi, who is known for his virulent anti-American statements." Do you regret having written that?
Do you regret that he wrote that?
GORE: Well, let me answer. First of all, I think that it is undeniably true that the Bush administration sought the ouster of Pachauri's predecessor, Robert Watson, and it's undeniably true that the reason they did is that Exxon Mobil published a hit list of officials and figures that they thought were pushing too hard.
But it was a wrong and unfair to identify Rajendra Pachauri as someone who would go along with a go-slow agenda. Pachauri has more than redeemed the confidence that his fellow scientists expressed in him. I think Pachauri has been doing an excellent job.
MANN: This hour moves by very quickly, and we have very little time left. And there's one question that people always want to know of the laureates. I'm going to ask you both. It's $1.5 million that's going to be shared between the two of you. What are you going to do with the money?
GORE: I -- my wife Tipper and I have already donated our half of this prize to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan, nonprofit group based in Palo Alto, California, that has more Republicans than Democrats on the board and is focused on changing the way the American people, and people elsewhere, think about the climate crisis. We have to bring about this grassroots revolution in thinking. And by the way, I welcome any financial support for the Alliance for Climate Protection.
PACHAURI: You see, I'm only the bearded face of the IPCC and the money doesn't come to me. I'm not even really qualified to suggest what should be done to it, but we're discussing this, and we will arrive at a solution.
My own personal feeling is we should use it for a special purpose, not for routine expenditure. But, in any case, the IPCC is a very lean organization, and it's very efficient in the use of funds. We're going to decide how best to use this money. And I hope we can use it, at least for the benefit of those countries that are going to be afflicted by climate change, have very little expertise on how they are going to tackle this problem, and I hope we can do some good with this money.
MANN: Gentlemen, I hope you're going to allow me a final word before we have to bring this program to a conclusion. The Nobel Prize has been given out many times before to diplomats and politicians, humanitarians, and activists. It's even gone to scientists before, and at least once before to an environmentalist.
So this year doesn't really set a precedent in that way. But it is different this year because of the other people involved, and that's the rest of us. You may not be able to solve the problems of the Middle East, you may not be able to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, but you can, we all can, do something about global warming. You can flip off the lights when you're leaving a room. You can take a longer walk and use your car less often. You can even shop differently to try to encourage business.
We may not all agree about the politics of global warming or about the big solutions, but we can all do our own little part, and it will add up. And for that reason this year, for first time that I can remember, we can all share the Nobel Prize.
We are grateful for the invitation of the Norwegian Nobel Committee every year, which allows us to do this program. We are grateful for the technical support we received from our colleagues at Norwegian television, NRK, and for the production support from Swedish television, SVT. We thank our audience for joining us here in Oslo City Hall. And we thank all of you who are watching from around the world.
I'm Jonathan Mann.
And our thanks, above all, go to this year's laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, representing the thousands of men and women, the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and, of course, Al Gore.
Thank you very much.
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