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About this episode

Welcome to another episode of Outrage + Optimism, where we examine issues at the forefront of the climate crisis, interview change-makers, and transform our anger into productive dialogue about building a sustainable future.

Back together following our break, the hosts discuss the devastating extreme weather events that have been happening across the world and they encourage us to think about how these changes within the global climate are impacting all our environments. Looking ahead to the next few months, we’ll cover the major climate events, all requiring critical decisions to be made in this important decade. They also explore some positive news stories that have happened over the last month, including the vote by Ecuadorians to halt oil drilling in the biodiverse Amazonian national park.

We have a fascinating and passionate interview from the incredible Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, he gives us an honest account of what he feels are the top political obstacles to climate solutions.

Music this week comes from the very talented Hilang Child, a British-Indonesian alt-pop artist, songwriter and drummer from South London!


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Full Transcript

Tom: [00:00:12] Hello and welcome to Outrage + Optimism. I'm Tom Rivett-Carnac.

Christiana: [00:00:15] I'm Christiana Figueres.

Paul: [00:00:16] And I'm Paul Dickinson.

Tom: [00:00:17] This week, we look back at a summer that contained many warnings about escalating climate impacts and look forward to an autumn that has to contain many solutions. Plus, we speak to Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore. And we have music from Hilang Child. Thanks for being here. Paul, Christiana,  how absolutely lovely to see you. We have talked, of course, over the last few months, over the summer, while we have not been on air, but I have missed the rhythm of our weekly chats and checking in with you and knowing what's going on. Let's first of all, find out how your summers have been. Or is it, it's not summer really, it's always summer in Costa Rica, isn't it?

Christiana: [00:01:03] Okay. Do we have to have kind of a meteorological lesson in public Tom, you should know by now that we have two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. We do not have the typical four season year that you all have.

Tom: [00:01:20] Really. So it doesn't snow in Costa Rica?

Christiana: [00:01:22] Not usually. But with climate change, you never know what's coming.

Tom: [00:01:26] Global weirding.

Paul: [00:01:27] It's only it's only lovely in Costa Rica on two occasions when it's raining and when it isn't. So there you go.

Christiana: [00:01:33] Which is 12 months a year.

Tom: [00:01:34] Well, in a minute we're, speaking of meteorology, we have had a very strange summer and we should get into that. But is there anything either of you want to share from what you've been doing while we've not been checking in every week?

Christiana: [00:01:46] Paul, what have you been doing?

Paul: [00:01:48] What have I been doing? I've been, I've been reflecting I've been listening to Tucker Carlson talking to Donald Trump. And I'm going to inflict some of that on you in a little bit. But I've I've actually yeah, I've been reflecting a little bit listening to podcasts. I've listened to Yuval Harari on The Rest Is Politics leading podcast, talking about how the conservative parties around the world are, committed suicide and turned into revolutionary parties. And it got me thinking a little bit actually, about the fact that maybe maybe we were, you know, a whole bunch of people will say, well, you know, we're trying to do with climate change, but we've got these wealth inequalities and we, you know, we can't one is impossible without the other. And I kind of think we need to start thinking more holistically about our problems and.

Tom: [00:02:34] But is it ultimately to do with corporate takeover of the political system by any chance?

Paul: [00:02:39] Well, that's a given. It's more about the political system retaking corporate interests. But but but in all seriousness, I enjoy the challenge Tom, and thank you. Appreciate it, trying to go in early to try and cease me repeating the same thing over and over again between now and Christmas. But in all seriousness, I do think that a more holistic approach to climate change, where we're not thinking about there are all these problems with wealth inequalities and populism and all of that, and then thinking about climate change as something separately we've got to do on the side. But seeing them as combined is extremely important because one of the biggest barriers to action on climate change is populism. Populism is a is the response after decades of inequality in our societies, not really doing a very good job of of delivering for the for the many people. So I just think putting those together is kind of something I've been coming to over the summer.

Tom: [00:03:28] Nice. I've not been doing anything as erudite or thoughtful as that. Sorry Christiana.

Christiana: [00:03:33] Well, speaking of holistic, which is the way Paul described that, I haven't taken any time off over your summer, but I have been dedicating some time to absolutely relish and delight in Krista Tippett's, On Being podcast, it is just such a shower of love and joy and deep thinking. Honestly, the best, totally best interviewer that I have heard. I put her way up there with Christiane Amanpour, I would say, for news and politics, Christiane Amanpour is the best interviewer and then for everything else that goes way beyond news and politics, she is just such a star the way that she leads her guests into the depths of their heart and soul and mind. It is just it is such a delight. So here's a huge, huge reverence, I would say to Krista Tippett's On Being podcast, and I was delighted to speak to her yesterday actually for a wonderful surprise that we are preparing for our listeners for the end of the year. We interviewed Krista and we were all just floored, floored by that interview. So yes, here's here's a little spoiler alert that we are preparing a fantastic treat for our listeners that we will drop for all of you at the end of the year. Load More
Paul: [00:05:20] Thank you, on your steer Christiana, I did listen to quite a few episodes of On Being and that that her ability to sort of think about you know life and and how we are, gives her guests the opportunity to sort of respond with their hearts. And that's a wonderful thing. Tom, let us turn to you. Please give us some story of the summer. I know you're not feeling very well today, which makes me sad.

Tom: [00:05:40] I'm not very well. I was at a family wedding this week and there was hundreds of children and some arrived sick and by the end we were all sick, including me. So I'm not feeling brilliant, but I'm I've had lots of Lemsips. For those people who don't live in the UK, a Lemsip is a remarkable thing that you can basically ibuprofen in liquid form and drink it and you feel all right for half an hour. So I'm on Lemsip, so I'm okay. Um, I have loved the On Being podcast for years since Natasha introduced me to it as, Speaking Of Faith, it used to be called and it was changed to On Being. It's absolutely brilliant. I'm delighted you talked to her. One little snippet from my summer. I haven't really been away anywhere, but one of the things in the UK is that we've lost all our grasslands and they've just become pasture for sheep. And over the course of the last year I've been restoring a couple of acres of grassland and turning it back into native meadow. And this year it just boomed and it just, I've been putting time into it, seeding it, getting it right, and it was just a riot of flowers and colour and butterflies and grass snakes and voles and all sorts of things. And I just had so much fun exploring. It was so wonderful and so satisfying to then have that and see it change.

Christiana: [00:06:43] How beautiful, how beautiful. Is that a brilliant example of rewilding?

Tom: [00:06:47] It's a great example of and also, I mean, I find that and I don't remember who said, Paul will remember that the shocking quote of 'one death is a tragedy and a million is a statistic', I think it may have been Stalin, actually. And, you know, that sort of takes us to this year. I mean, we have seen the hottest July ever recorded. We have seen fires all across the world, the worst year ever for fires in Canada, Greece, Australia. The list goes on. And it can be hard to really internalize and feel the the tragedy of the ecological catastrophe that's happening around us. I can feel it on the level of my little meadow and my pond. When you sort of see that the swallows aren't returning or whatever else, it's kind of easier to get in touch with the emotionality of it rather than the noise in the news, which can feel remote even though you know it's important. So I don't know if others have that experience as well. But this has been a devastating summer all around the world for millions of people as we see the impacts of climate change really take hold. And we need to find a way to feel our way to what's really happening around the world, because it does feel remote and it can feel alien to many of us for much of the time.

Christiana: [00:07:55] That's so interesting that you say that. So my my sense of it, Tom, is not that it's remote. I mean, yes, it's remote geographically, all of these countries. But it is I just have found it so frankly overwhelming and so, so close. I've been really, very honestly, very affected by this because, yes, we understand that this is the result of global climate heating plus El Nino. So we won't necessarily have this situation next year when El Nino sort of begins to drop out. But the scary thing is that this combination of of climate warming and El Nino is actually giving us a very, very, yeah scary experience of what we could be looking at even without El Nino in the future. So these heats, these fires, these droughts could become normalized. As as, as a standing experience of, of our presence here on the planet. So I've just, you know, I find myself going back and forth telling myself. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. You know, this is El Nino effect. And then my immediate next thought is, yes, it's currently El Nino, but it could become the norm, and. 

Tom: [00:09:38] Well but also, El Nino comes around and around, right? So, I mean, we have to be able if you know, it's going to it's not El Nino is not an unusual thing. We're going to get that on a regular basis. So if it exacerbates with climate change, we get these kind of years. Yeah. Christiana, I think you have a remarkable ability to remain in tune with these big climatic events that happen around the world and to really feel them. But I would also just empathize with listeners. I think that's actually really hard for many people. And so I think people get a bit a bit sort of, um, numb to what's happening. And just from my experience over the summer, I would really encourage everybody to try and experience nature on a micro scale and to feel the changes that are happening just in your little environment and you'll see new tree diseases, flowering flowers coming up at the wrong time, other things happening in nature and it enables you to feel it in an emotional way as you develop that relationship that I think is a really important part of our collective response.

Christiana: [00:10:32] I think it's a very good point, Tom. And and both go hand in hand. It it is something that we are, um, I'm not even sure if invited is the verb, but we are called let me, we're called to experience it in our day to day life and to understand that, frankly, all of us who are listening to this podcast are privileged in that we are most likely not exposed to the worst. We're not exposed to the worst impacts that we have seen. So yes, we should be much more mindful of our day to day experience and understand that we are barely, barely touching the bottom of of of of impacts and that there are so many other people whose lives have been completely transformed over just the past month or two months. And. So so, yes. So I would agree with you. And let's not stop there. Let's understand that it is you know.

Tom: [00:11:43] It's a doorway.

Christiana: [00:11:43] It's a doorway. Thank you.

Tom: [00:11:46] Yeah, yeah.

Paul: [00:11:48] Yeah. And I mean, Tom, you talked about your you remember we we shared a teacher, Stephan Harding, who who called sheep, lovely little sheep. He called them maggots on the face of Gaia. Yes. It's true that the the catastrophes that are being delivered on people at ever increasing scale are mind numbing and must never be normalized. And yet, at the same time, we also have to recognize the power of nature to potentially change quickly and positively when when she or they or it is released from the sort of burden of humanity. And if I may, I want to offer some positive news because it's there. Alongside that outrage, there's optimism or grounds for optimism. One small point is the electricity grid in Europe in the first six months of this year was down to 33% fossil fuels the lowest it's ever been, and critically important in the US, a case brought by young people has won an important ruling where the judge, Kathy Seeley, commented that climate, a stable climate, is included in the state's right. And this is actually in Missouri. No, it's not. 

Christiana: [00:13:01] Montana.

Paul: [00:13:02] Montana, Montana that a stable climate is included in the state's rights to a clean and healthy environment guaranteed in the state's constitution. And as a consequence of this, the provision in Montana's Environmental Policy Act, which prohibits the state from considering climate impacts when permitting energy projects, has been seen to be unconstitutional. It's a small chink. It doesn't mean that everything's going to change, but it means that a whole mass of legal cases can now start to be bought. And this is important because, you know, the world operates efficiently with an administrative capacity that could well be altered here. So I'm very excited about that.

Christiana: [00:13:42] I agree with you, Paul. I agree that is was really a groundbreaking case for climate litigation, of which there are more than a thousand litigation cases, but few of them come in positive. And so I agree with you. I also celebrated that a lot. And and we can to to to that which is an example of the power, let's say, of civil society. We can add the referendum in Ecuador. Very exciting. I remember and Tom, I don't know if you had joined us in the secretariat by the first time that this Yasuni National Park came up where the government of Ecuador presented the the National Park of Yasuni to the to the convention parties and wanted to be recompensed for the value of the oil and gas that is under the Yasuni, in order for them not to exploit it. I don't know if you were there at the secretariat.

Tom: [00:14:51] I remember.

Christiana: [00:14:51] Do you remember? But it was such an interesting case because they were saying, you know, recompense us for not exploiting the oil and gas. And if you don't recompense us, then we will drill. And here we are 10 or 12 years later where the civil society, the voters of of Ecuador, have actually voted to ban oil drilling in the Yasuni National Park without being recompensed for it. So a major, major shift from where they were 10 or 12 years ago. And quite, quite interesting also the public euphoria that that was expressed after the results of the referendum came in, because it really is very much just like the Montana case. It really is a proof of what individuals can do, what civil society can do. The power of of well, the power of speaking truth to power right.

Tom: [00:16:05] And it's I mean, we're going to have the Vice President Al Gore on this podcast in a few minutes. And, I mean, he's got a couple of things to say about the oil and gas industry. But that Ecuador situation was a massive win for the people against the oil and gas industry. Um, so we've covered a couple of issues over the summer in terms of the impacts and other things, but I think it would be also good to just quickly ask the question, Christiana, I'd love you to come in here on this. We've got a critical few months ahead. The Global Stocktake Report is being released in a few days. It's going to tell us we're not on track for the Paris Agreement. We then have the Secretary General's Summit, which is happening in mid September, which again is going to demonstrate some momentum. We know there's a lot of momentum in technology and deployment, but the political space is not yet hoving into gear in the way that it needs to, followed by what is emerging as a pretty controversial COP. There's going to be a lot of people who are watching this who are feeling very anxious about this situation. How, help us contextualize this year, just as people are now facing the next few months. We're eight years since the Paris agreement, eight years until we have to have reduced emissions by by by half in order to be on track with 1.5. How should we think about the next few months? How critical are they in this arc to 2030?

Christiana: [00:17:14] Well, and and to your list, Tom, I would add the G20 that is meeting in India and it is really important the G20 actually control or emit 80% of global emissions. So whatever the G20, which is the 20 largest economies of the world, including industrialized and developing, so the largest economies, that G20 summit is.

Tom: [00:17:44] Xi is not going I just heard, which is a blow for that on climate. But anyway.

Christiana: [00:17:49] Oh wow.

Paul: [00:17:50] I think it's because India is, you know, he doesn't want to give too much of the limelight to India. Emerging powers snubbing emerging powers. I can't, I can't call China emerging, but yeah. Christiana. 

Christiana: [00:18:04] Yeah, so, so, so the question is how do we, as you say, how do we contextualize this Tom? And I think on the podcast, but certainly off the podcast, we've talked frequently about two accelerating curves. One that is very clear that we've just talked about now, which is the curve of negative impacts of destruction, impacts that is accelerating, especially this year on an exponential level because of the disasters that we are seeing, both natural disasters but also the human impact. And and we can see that curve coming, coming up right. We just discussed how this will slowly become the norm if we don't do our job. And and and that is, I think, very evident to everyone. What is less evident to everyone is the other exponential curve that is also starting and is less visible because it gets less media attention, which is the exponential curve of the technologies that can help us reduce emissions. So whether it is wind onshore offshore, whether it is solar, whether it's batteries, whether it's EVs, all of those technologies are not incipient technologies. They are mature technologies that are going up the exponential curve much faster than we ever thought.

Christiana: [00:19:46] And we're basically the political economy is beginning to shift because of that, because all of those technologies have reached price parity because they are now being adopted by the market very quickly as a flow into the market, they will soon become the norm, which means the stock of of of those technologies will shift. And and that's a very exciting, very, very exciting exponential curve. The question that always arises for us is these exponential curves are actually on a race with each other. Can we bring those technologies plus many more that we still have to bring that are not yet there, namely green hydrogen, for example, namely nature solutions that are not yet on an exponential curve, but that we have to bring, can we bring them on line to compete with the incumbent technologies in a quick enough manner and at a scaled enough manner to actually beat, so to speak, the other exponential curve. They are on a race with each other. And that's the question. That is the question that honestly, we don't know. We don't know.

Tom: [00:21:14] Yeah.

Paul: [00:21:14] Just one thought on that, Christiana, which is that the, you know, there's lots of problems with capitalism and big companies. And we were speaking about negative impacts of oil and gas companies. But I think to your point about how quickly things can move, the key point about a lot of entrepreneurs, about a lot of businesses, particularly new ones forming is the acceleration of technology, the acceleration of learning, the sharing, the digital economy, the focus of business people often to produce at incredible speed all around the world solutions. I think we may be looking at some kind of extraordinary new wave of business technology that could deliver on the hopes that you have.

Tom: [00:22:04] So from your lips to God's ears, as they say. And also, I mean, and this is obviously going to be a theme of the next few months, is that that those longer term unfoldings of those two exponential curves that are kind of racing each other is the context of our lives. And the next few months have a particular role in that, right, which is that Africa Climate Summit, we shouldn't forget to mention that now, General Assembly, COP, these things happen every year, but this year there are a particular set of things that need to be delivered that are distinct from next year and the year after that in Brazil, which is going to be all about nature. So we'll get into this and we'll have guests that can help us frame this over the coming weeks so people kind of know what's to come. But now we should introduce our very special guest. This is the first time we have had a politician of this level of seniority on Outrage + Optimism. We are delighted to have the completely brilliant Former Vice President Al Gore. I remember sitting up late at night in 2000 and feeling even then that this was a consequential parting of ways for humanity, the infamous "hanging chads" and the role that he would obviously have played to get us well ahead of this curve. And everything he's done since then with An Inconvenient Truth, Nobel Peace Prize, Climate Reality Project, driving things forward with relentless energy. So here we go, Vice President Al Gore, strap in.

Christiana: [00:23:26] And can I say, Paul, you asked the absolutely top question there about January 6th. I will leave our audience hanging because.

Tom: [00:23:36] It's the last question.

Christiana: [00:23:36] It is just, it is just an absolutely brilliant question, so fun.

Paul: [00:23:42] You're very kind. Thank you for allowing me to ask it Christiana.

Tom: [00:23:45] Here we go.

Christiana: [00:23:51] Vice President Al Gore, what an honour. Thank you so much for taking time to join us here on Outrage + Optimism. At least two of us, Tom and myself, were in the audience when you delivered what I can only call as a scathing TED talk about what oil and gas companies are doing right now, and.

Tom: [00:24:17] And I should say outrage and optimism were both at a ten, which gets very high marks around here. 

Christiana: [00:24:22] Yes, yes, yes, both with total outrage and total optimism. That was great.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:24:27] There you go. I love the title of your podcast, by the way. It really summarizes so much.

Christiana: [00:24:33] Well, we sort of go, depending on the day, we're more on one or the other side but.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:24:39] I get it. I get it.

Christiana: [00:24:41] We tried to find a balance as often as possible. There's one one of the topics that you picked up in this TED talk and that you were pretty radical, pretty radical about, was the role of carbon capture and storage. You made a radical assessment of the role of carbon capture, and you were pretty clear in saying the fact that the technology is there, let alone the fact that it's not not commercial, commercially viable at a large scale yet, but it cannot be used as a fig leaf, those are my words, not yours, as a fig leaf to keep on extracting and burning oil and gas. I think everyone who listens to this podcast would agree with you on that. And at the same time, I wonder if in your assessment, is it now or in the future at all useful for our climate efforts?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:25:46] Well, first of all, Christiana, Tom and Paul, thank you all for inviting me to take part in this. I'm a huge fan of your work. And Christiana, you have a singular place in the history of humanity's efforts to deal with climate having steered the the Paris Agreement. God bless you and thank you. And Tom, thank you for being her right hand during that and since and now partners and Paul with all of your carbon disclosure work and and other things so many hats you're wearing. Thank you so much. So to your question, I support continued research and development of carbon capture and storage as well as direct air capture. Who knows whether or not we might be able to get some breakthrough. There are some developments in the fast marching biology revolution that may give us some microbes that help. I don't know. And so let's continue the R&D. Okay. I'm all for that. I think we've probably plowed way too much into that, but that's okay. It was part of the compromise necessary in the US to get the the big climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act. So I am in favor of research, but as you put it, Christiana, and I've carefully followed your analysis of this as well, there's a difference between holding out hope that at some future date we might have enough progress in in carbon capture and storage to make it a mainstay of our efforts to solve the climate crisis. That's one thing. But pretending that that day has already arrived and it may never arrive, by the way, I hope it does, but it may never. So pretending that it's already here is dishonest. That's a harsh word. But I actually think that it's a fair word in describing the way in which the fossil fuel companies and the petro states have pushed it forward as the magic answer, which gives them, in the phrase of one of the CEOs, a license to continue operating.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:28:10] And it is, it's not honest to spend all this time and effort trying to convince the public that you don't have to worry about continuing to use the sky as an open sewer. It's fine to keep putting 162 million tons of it up there every single day. In fact, it's utter insanity driven by pure greed and the idea that they have consciously tried to convince the public of something that's simply not true, that we can solve this based on what we know now with carbon capture and storage. That's not honest. And we've had this phrase a moral hazard for a long time. You know, when some ideas put out there that actually conveys an unwanted impression that we can relax about the climate crisis, we don't have to really get exercised and act urgently about it. That's a moral hazard for them, to use the old phrase, the moral hazard here is a feature, not a bug. It's part of what they're going for. And, you know, it's just it's not fair to ask the fossil fuel companies to solve this crisis for us. I get that. That's the job of governments driven by publics, but it is fair to ask them to stop blocking and thwarting and fighting tooth and nail against all of the solutions that other people are putting forward. And it's fair to ask them to stop being so cravenly dishonest with humanity as we are in the process of filling up the sky with even more of this heat trapping pollution. I'm sorry, I got myself a little, pressed my own button, but.

Christiana: [00:30:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's okay. That's okay. But but let me follow up on that because you say they should not solve this, the governments should and your, your view on current use certainly of CCS and direct capture is clear. Now, here's my conundrum. How in that context should I interpret the fact that in May of this year, the EPA announced new rules telling coal and gas fired generators that they should limit their GHG emissions precisely by using CCS and hydrogen fuel. Are they calling a bluff, the bluff on the power industry? Are they forcing them to come out and tell the truth that that's not happening? What was the intent behind that, frankly surprising rule?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:31:01] Well, they hoisted them on their own petard. I don't know if you could call it calling a bluff. You could equally say they accepted at face value what the fossil fuel companies were saying and said, okay, let's do this. And then they screamed bloody murderers and oh no, that technology can't be used. It's nowhere near being ready, it's not economically feasible. It's not technologically feasible. So you could say they call their bluff. I don't think the head of the EPA would like to have it described that way. I think it's fair for him to say, okay, you tell us this is how we're going to proceed. Okay. If you can make it work, fine.

Christiana: [00:31:47] Proceed.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:31:48] And by the way, going back to your earlier comment, Christiana, I would love it if the fossil fuel companies would solve this crisis for us. I, what I said is I don't think it's fair to expect that they're the ones that are going to do it. And in fact, if you look at all of the solar and wind, that's the amazing amount that's been installed in the last few years worldwide, only 1% of it has been at the hands of the fossil fuel companies, only 1%. And it, I think we have to be realistic about the incentive structure that drives them. They're not renewable energy companies. The only fossil fuel company in the world that has ever made a transition from fossil fuels to renewables is the Danish company called Orsted. And they're far more profitable now.

Christiana: [00:32:43] And doing pretty well.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:32:44] They're doing great, absolutely. But they're the exception that proves what I think is a rule. The fossil fuel companies are in a high volatility, high return business. They have very different sources of capital, a very different culture, very different set of expectations, very different networks. And, you know, I'll tell you what I think of, this is kind of a goofy analogy, but, I'm old enough to remember the classic Disney cartoon called Fantasia, and it's replayed from time to time. And people think about the Sorcerer's Apprentice with Mickey Mouse and the brooms and all of that. But there's another little section of that movie that has a hippopotamus dancing ballet in a tutu with, going on point with the ballet shoes. And in real life, hippopotami can't even stand up on their hind legs on dry land.

Christiana: [00:33:51] But they do wear a tutu.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:33:54] Well, my point is, I think that expecting the fossil fuel industry to suddenly change and start dancing ballet to start going all out to help us make this transition is unrealistic. It's not in the realm of reality. But again, I say this point, it is fair and indeed it is imperative that we demand that they stop blocking the solutions that others are trying to put forward. They've used fraud on a massive scale. They have known for decades what the truth is. They had great scientists there. There've been wonderful documentaries written, made about the wonderful investigative reporting series on this. It's well established now. It's the moral equivalent of a war crime. And they're continuing with everything they've got, to block action everywhere in the world where people try to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

Paul: [00:34:59] So this is absolutely the right point. There's an incredible video from 91 by Shell where they look like Greenpeace. They're talking about floods, droughts, refugees. This is Shell in 91 when I think it was a different company. You're I believe absolutely right when you talk about this pivot now to policy, to government, I think the whole climate change movement now recognizes that we've been on a on a circuitous journey to get to this exact moment. Two questions we really, one is with regard to this kind of negative lobbying, you know, this dark money since Citizens United, unlimited expenditure, if it's threatening national security, isn't it time for the security services to say, come on, this is not a game. You know, this is not like 10 million or 100 million smokers dying. This is, you know, kind of national security of the state. And doesn't somebody, you know, in a raincoat have to tap some of these people on the shoulder and say, you can't mess with the security of the United States or indeed, you know, other countries?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:35:58] Well actually, in the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the military establishment has been saying that for almost two decades now. And their language is being talked up every single year. They do something called a quadrennial review every four years. And each of the last three quadrennial reviews have spotlighted this. But you know, the extent to which the fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists, their campaign contributors, their fixers, their revolving door colleagues have captured, they have spent way more time and money capturing the policy making process than they have capturing the emissions. They want to pretend that they're going to capture the emissions, but they're dead set in earnest in capturing the policy making.

Paul: [00:37:00] Well yeah, I believe you're right. I think in, for example, in the United States, tragically, it looks like you have two parties, the Democratic Party and the Fossil Fuel Party. And unfortunately, that doesn't look like a fair fight. But but let me ask you the other question. Just whilst we're talking about oil and gas companies, what should they do, now clearly, they should move into renewables. But I want to posit one particular line of inquiry. It so happens that that same company, Shell, in 2018 in the UK campaigned for the phase out of fossil fuel cars. In 2020, they successfully pushed along with others to ban the sale of pure fossil fuel vehicles from 2030. This demand destruction is this maybe a new avenue for oil and gas companies that want to redeem themselves? Should they start putting resources into campaigning heavily for the phaseout of fossil vehicles in every jurisdiction, not just the UK?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:37:53] Well, you know, astonishingly, ExxonMobil has just financed a new TV ad that is demonizing non fossil fuel vehicles, demonizing electric vehicles. Absolutely. And Shell, you mentioned Shell. A few months ago, they turned about face and reversed course on the commitments that they had made most recently to try to do more in helping the transition along toward a clean energy. They you know, they got these windfall profits after the cruel Russian invasion of Ukraine. And they got you know, they got pressure from their shareholders and their leadership decided, you know, look, we talked a good game on this green transition. But, you know, we're going to go back to the old ways and just double down on dirty.

Paul: [00:39:03] You know, I worry about the brands of those companies. You know, I really I really worry about them. But. 

Vice President Al Gore: [00:39:09] Of course.

Paul: [00:39:09] But we will see where we go. Tom, I know you have a question.

Tom: [00:39:12] Thank you. First of all, Vice President is so exciting to have you on the podcast. We've wanted to have you on for a long time, so it's great to see you. So in your in your TED Talk, you talked about these really interesting barriers to participation that you were proposing for fossil fuel companies to come to the COPs and you were making the point that now there's an increasing number of lobbyists who represent fossil fuel companies. And it just kind of got me thinking about 28 years, no significant reforms of the COP process. I mean, no one knows it better than you negotiated Kyoto. You've been so influential in Paris. And and really every year since. Looking at the COP process now, you know, we have the international framework, we have the five yearly plans. It's really about national implementation. You go to the COP and really the negotiations are kind of a sideshow of other broader things that are happening elsewhere. And it feels like we haven't really got the process or the tools that are appropriate for the challenge in front of us now. Would you agree with that assessment? And do you think it's actually time for a wholesale reform of the international process to deal with this?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:40:14] Well, I'm going to be speaking out on this very subject soon Tom, I will tell you that, if the COP process cannot be reformed, then I think the world has to have a serious conversation about whether or not to build a new process. You know, COP 1 was three years after the Earth Summit in Rio and the summer of 92, I chaired the US Senate Delegation to Rio to that summit. It took them three years to organize, to stand everything up, and they worked very hard. And COP 1 was held in Berlin three years later in 1995, and the president of that COP was one Angela Merkel, Angela Merkel and Christiana Figueres are the are the two standouts in that long 28 year history. Fabius did a great job working with you Christiana in Paris. But at COP 1, one of their challenges was to adopt the rules and Rule 42 governed voting. Saudi Arabia objected, working in concert with a lawyer lobbyist with the Patton Boggs firm in Washington DC, named Don Pearlman, since deceased, I don't want to speak ill of the departed, but he worked hand in glove with Saudi Arabia and they objected to the adoption of the rules. So the rules would have established a supermajority threshold to adopt resolutions and call for action. In the absence of the rules being adopted because they were vetoed, then it fell back to consensus. Consensus differs from unanimity in only one particular. If the president of the COP doesn't recognize a hand up in the back of the room or the side of the auditorium, then he or she declares that we have consensus.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:42:31] But if a major petro state or one of the big countries objects, it's, in practical terms impossible for the president of the COP to fail to recognize. They tried that once with Russia and they paid a heavy price the following COP. So we're left with a situation at present, where if we want to pass a resolution and commit the world community to action, we have to beg Saudi Arabia for permission to do so. And if they look at the impact on oil and gas revenues and oh, that's going to hurt us, no we object. Then we say, oh okay, sorry we were just asking. We just thought we'd ask, but you haven't granted your permission. So the world is continued in paralysis and we will do almost nothing. Now, you're quite right, though Tom, that whenever these COPs take place, it's evolved in a way that even more important things happen in the meeting rooms splayed around the COP. One of the great international lawyers, Sue Biniaz, refers to this as the metropolitan COP. And for example, in Glasgow, the methane agreement was not voted on, it wasn't part of the COP, it was part of the larger COP, the metropolitan COP. So there is a way to go back to Rule 42 to put it on the table, have a vote. It has to be put on the table six months before the COP.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:44:18] But there can be a three quarters vote to dispense with this ridiculous and absurd and offensive situation where we have to beg the petro states for their permission to do anything to save the future of human civilization. We can change it. It requires a three quarters vote by nation. But guess what? Out of the 194 countries, there are 50 island nations or thereabouts. And you count in the developing nations that are on the front line of this crisis. I do think that it is within the realm of possibility to get a three quarters vote, to change the rules and to empower the COP to vote on binding resolutions. If that turns out to be blocked somehow, if that turns out to be impossible, then I think we have to have a serious discussion about whether the process as it is currently operating is sufficient and whether the benefits of the large metropolitan COP activity justify continuing this charade, because it also begins to have a moral hazard of its own. Because if it never accomplishes anything since Paris, then it gives the world community no doubt a kind of a reassuring feeling, oh every nation in the world is getting together every year and they're negotiating and talking and working hard. And so they got this. Okay, right, right. Well, the world community is not really aware of the fact that one big petro state can say, is really in control and that I think is no longer acceptable.

Christiana: [00:46:16] I am fascinated by your analysis of this, of the voting or the lack of the voting rule at the UNFCCC, because I, I suffered the consequences of this very, very deeply when I assumed the responsibility for the negotiations and the secretariat was in 2010 and the first COP was in Mexico, in Cancun. And at that COP, it was very clear that the then president, who was Patricia Espinosa, who later on took over the secretariat, but she decided that there was consensus in the room over the objection of several Latin American countries. And so she decided and she adopted or she invited parties to adopt over the objection of several countries. And we had that situation of adopting COP decisions by consensus for several years. As you mentioned, we did it once over Russia and that was a very interesting one to manage later on politically more than legally. And my team and I really lost quite a bit of our hair on top of our heads about that one. And then that is why Vice President why we decided that for Paris we had to have unanimity because we did not want for it to ever be a question that the world was really unanimously, unanimously adopting a pathway to decarbonising in a timely fashion unanimously. So the work that we did to get unanimous and thank you very much for helping us to get to that unanimity was, I think, a very well invested time and effort.

Christiana: [00:48:21] So I have since then thought that it's not necessarily the voting or the lack of voting that is the problem. My sense, Vice President Gore, is that the COPs were designed to do what Paris did, which is a multilateral agreement that starts politically and ends up in a legally binding agreement of the decarbonization of the global economy. That now stands. The work now needs to be done nationally. Each country needs to take the Paris Agreement and put it into national law, as has been done in the United States by IRA and BIL. And they're you know, the United States is definitely taken on the leadership role. And there is no other country that has done such a consequential, positively consequential job with their legislation. So my concern is, do we really have to continue negotiating multilaterally? Are the COPs not there actually just to monitor and report progress or lack thereof? With few exceptions, and my colleagues in the secretariat would probably not agree with me. But with few exceptions, there is very little to be negotiated internationally or multilaterally anymore. It is now for national domestic responsibility and certainly for the private sector. So my feeling about the COPs Vice President is that let's just review what the purpose of the COPs is. It is not for negotiations anymore, not multilateral negotiations. But I am very happy to hear your totally contrary opinion about that.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:50:13] Yeah. Well, rolling back what you said, I wanted to ask a question. What was the legally binding part of your?

Christiana: [00:50:22] The Paris agreement is, is a legally binding instrument in all of those countries.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:50:29] In what way?

Christiana: [00:50:30] Well, in all of those countries that have made it their national legislation, once it is once it is legislated into those countries and we have a majority of countries, then it's legally binding.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:50:40] Yeah. Well, before your wonderful leadership of the UNFCCC, the decision was made to make everything voluntary. And in Copenhagen, that worked out very poorly. And, you know, we are in a period of human history where if we can get our act together and continue it for a long time, we'll look back, others will look back on this period as a time when nation states remained the primary units of account, but more and more challenges and opportunities were perceived in their true reality as global opportunities and global challenges. And principal among the global challenges is the climate crisis. It's the most dangerous symptom of a larger underlying collision between our civilization as it's currently organized and the surprisingly fragile ecological systems of the planet. But the only way we can address it is as a global community. And of course, the old distinction between the rich countries and the poor countries, developed and developing, north and south. Now we have this east and west divide and an even more serious divide between young people in countries around the world and those old enough to have their hands on the levers of authority and to leave it up to each individual nation to do it, I don't think is sufficient. I think that the great victory in Paris for which you for which you are so responsible, Christiana, was to set the direction of travel and to have a common set of guideposts on how we were going to move rapidly enough in that direction.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:52:48] I think that a lot of good has come out of it. However, emissions are still going up and they've gone up every year since then, save the pandemic and at some point we have to take stock and say, look, this is not working fast enough by any means and we have to find another way to go about it. I am, I think that a notional new approach could see plurilateral discussions among groups of countries that include the largest emitters who are willing to actually do something about it. Leave Russia and Iran out of it and Saudi Arabia and so forth. But we have to take stock of the fact that the hegemonic ideology of our world has been a democratic capitalism, and we have seen economic freedom and political freedom simultaneously spiral toward higher levels of freedom, much as a double helix, but each in its own separate sphere. But when the capitalism part of that equation reaches over into the democracy part of it and finds increasingly efficient ways to use wealth, profits, legacy political networks to interfere with the part of that helix that represents political freedom, then the process begins to malfunction. And that's what has happened with the policy capture process and all of these different stratagems of the fossil fuel companies and a lot of the financial institutions that are making hand over fist. You know, they're part of this whole enterprise of digging up dead things and burning them, and put the residue in the sky to trap heat and threaten our future.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:54:58] If you look at all of their different stratagems, they're sometimes very clever, you know, but there is a kind of a Rosetta Stone. There is a code breaking device, and here's what it is. What they all have in common is they are all alternatives to reducing the burning of fossil fuels, offsets, carbon capture, direct air capture. These absolutely lunatic ideas of blocking out the sun's light to the earth. They're all part of the same Rosetta Stone, anything except reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and reducing the amount that we're burning. That's the Rosetta Stone. And in order to change direction and, and create a new reality where the world does in the main collaborate to accelerate this transition away from fossil fuels and phase down the burning use and burning of fossil fuels. That's what we have to do. This is a fossil fuel crisis in the main. There are other factors of course, we all know that. But 80% of it is fossil fuels, okay. And 80% of the world economy's energy comes from fossil fuels. So it's a tough nut to crack for sure. And we've all, all four of us have found that out. But we're not done yet. And we can win this. I'm convinced we will. This is the optimism part of your outrage and optimism.

Paul: [00:56:30] Well, thank you Mr Vice President. That's a good summary. And I think, you know, it may be that we were trying to be better people before the fall of the Berlin Wall. We were kind of competing with the communist system and trying to be a better system. And then when that fell away, it was just shareholder value took over.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:56:46] And if I could interject, I love your analysis and I think that there was an air of a palpable triumphalism on the part.

Paul: [00:56:57] Yeah, right.

Vice President Al Gore: [00:56:58] You know, this this binary, dualistic ideology of democratic capitalism, the capitalist sphere began to say, oh, well, let's take over education, let's take over prisons, let's take over this, that and the other. Because we learned, we over learned a lesson that had a grain of truth to it. You know, political freedom does inspire prosperity and all the rest. And God, you know, it's great. But greed began to take over this capture of the democratic process. And by the way, we see it in pharmaceuticals, we see it in financial, we see it, you know, in many, many places. But the most dire is, I'm sorry, I said I would briefly interject, go ahead.

Paul: [00:57:43] No, no, no, no. But there's a, there's a follow up question, this perfectly sets it up because I think we were frightened, you know, some of us were frightened of communism because of the one party system was a threat to democracy. Now, populism risks another threat to democracy. Maybe we can find our better natures trying to combat the populist influence. So if I may ask you a very unusual question Mr Vice President, I'm going to take you back to January the 6th, but not the one you think. On January the 6th 2001, why did the Democratic Party supporters not storm the Capitol in January 2001 seeking to find you and hang you to prevent you from certifying the election of President Bush?

Vice President Al Gore: [00:58:31] Well, you know, there have been several novels based on alternative histories. I think you may take the cake with that one. Well, of course, the answer is that our respect for the rule of law as Americans was, was and still is strong. But, we have been through so many changes and transitions. And of course, you know, this is a much deeper conversation to get to the roots of all of that. But in order to solve the climate crisis, we really have to examine the democracy crisis, because ultimately our ability as human beings to work together, to think collectively and collaborate in projects that can only be done through collaboration, that's where our salvation lies. And putting together the kind of collaboration that's necessary means paying attention to the rule of reason, having respect for carefully vetted scientific data that we know and trust. And by the way, the scientists who warned us of what's going on right now have been proven spot on correct. So they've earned the right to be listened to us more carefully by what they tell us is ahead if we don't do what they're recommending. But the only way we can take all that into account is through a democratic discourse that is open and free and not distorted by big money, putting big thumbs on the scale to predetermine the outcomes.

Paul: [01:00:28] Thank you.

Christiana: [01:00:30] So, Vice President Gore, we actually thought that Paul's question about January 6th would be our last question with you. But our wonderful timekeepers have told us that we have two minutes left with you, so we cannot resist the temptation of two more minutes of you. And here would be our truly last question. And it has to do with the title of our podcast, outrage and optimism. We usually ask our guests, what are you most outraged about? What are you most optimistic? We know that you're most outraged about what fossil fuel companies are doing. We know that. We also know that you're most optimistic about what we, human spirit can actually do. What do we not know yet about what is outrageous to you and why you remain optimistic?

Vice President Al Gore: [01:01:24] Well, I think that the degree of control the fossil fuel companies have sought to acquire extends to our schools and to university research programs to think tanks. State of Florida allowing a right wing wacko foundation to show short films in the public schools, elementary schools and middle schools and high schools in Florida based on pure climate denial. So years from now, if people wonder where did all these people get these crazy ideas? Well, they've been indoctrinated, they're indoctrinating them right now. So that's something that we should deal with, including in the university community as well, because research the first major peer reviewed study of universities that take fossil fuel money versus those that don't show that the ones that do put out reports that on gas, for example, that are indistinguishable from the industry lobbies and those that don't take it are all on board with more renewables and they see the dangers of this, of oil and gas. So I think that's worthy of concern. And I think also some of the large media empires and you know, one in particular that I'm thinking about with major shareholding in Saudi Arabia has continues to put out every single night all through the day, absolutely false information, which is designed to impede the process by which a consensus in our democracies would otherwise emerge more rapidly.

Vice President Al Gore: [01:03:21] Now, on the optimism front, I would say that the here we are blessed with a sustainability revolution that includes but is not limited to wind and solar and batteries and electric vehicles and green hydrogen. We have a sustainability revolution that has the scale of the industrial revolution coupled with the speed of the digital revolution, and it is moving us forward far faster than anyone would have thought possible. And I revel in that. And that is a source of tremendous optimism. And finally, my greatest source of optimism Christiana, is the young people around the world who understand this with fresh eyes and ears and unencumbered by all of the old ways of thinking. And they are demanding action. And I'm convinced, as I've said, we are going to solve this. The only remaining question is whether we'll solve it in time. We've got a lot of dangerous negative tipping points that we're getting closer and closer to, and the sooner we act, the easier it's going to be to do. The longer we wait, the harder it's going to be to do. But I think that this year, with the record temperatures and all of the incredible horrific consequences of the climate crisis playing out in Hawaii and New York City and Detroit and the North Atlantic and Antarctica and Europe and Asia and Africa.

Vice President Al Gore: [01:04:56] You can go through, Oceania, everywhere in the world, every day. Norway today, with all this massive flooding and thousands of evacuees in Hawaii. Of course, you know the story there. So I think that there's a push pull process coming on here. The young people are pulling us forward and mother nature is pushing us to come to a realization of what our real situation is. The test is whether the combination of a neocortex, the reasoning part of our brain and an opposable thumb is a viable combination on this planet. I'm convinced it is, but it's up to us to rise to this challenge, as we have in previous periods of history, when a morally based cause was before us and when the underbrush is cleared away and we see the central question is a choice between right and wrong, once we get to that point, then the outcome is foreordained. Everything that works now pushes us closer to that point. I still believe we're going to get there.

Christiana: [01:06:02] Amen. Or as my daughter's correct me, Awomen.

Paul: [01:06:08] Athey. 

Christiana: [01:06:08] Athey.

Tom: [01:06:10] Thank you so much. That was absolutely fantastic.

Vice President Al Gore: [01:06:12] Thank you all very much for what you do.

Christiana: [01:06:14] Vice President Gore, thank you so, so much. Thank you. Thank you for being such a pillar of light for so many years, so many decades and with a reasonable amount of passion and eloquence.

Vice President Al Gore: [01:06:27] Back at you Christiana. And to Tom and Paul as well. Thank you for having me on.

Tom: [01:06:33] Great stuff. See you, bye. 

Christiana: [01:06:35] Thank you. 

Vice President Al Gore: [01:06:35] Bye Bye.

Tom: [01:06:42] Great, so how fantastic to get a chance to sit with Al Gore. What a force of nature he is. What did you both leave that discussion with?

Christiana: [01:06:49] Honestly, exhausted.

Paul: [01:06:54] In a good way, I'm guessing. In a good way, right?

Christiana: [01:06:56] In a good way. I mean, it is just beyond belief how this man can bring the intensity of passion, the intensity of knowledge, data, analysis. I mean, he is just intensity. Intensity on turbo. He, it's just and he doesn't let up, right. He has been like this for years. God bless.

Paul: [01:07:27] Well no, I mean I cannot disagree with you in any way what an extraordinary human at such sort of life force and energy. I was quite struck, you know, I don't know as much about the international process as you two, but I was quite struck by his comments that Saudi Arabia, for example, was specifically derailing many aspects of negotiations at the UNFCCC and now also apparently at the G20. And I kind of think that it is true. One of the most interesting points he made was that the public may believe that, you know, these negotiations are not as influenced as they might be by certain states. But the reason I just I'm offering up one thought about Saudi Arabia and it applies to Russia actually. They're two largest oil and gas exporters in the world, Saudi Arabia and Russia. And what can you say about them? I'm going to say one thing about them is apparently they both hate gay people. Can you believe this? You can, you know, the BBC reported in 2018 you can be stoned to death for same sex relationships in Saudi Arabia. Hopefully they've softened that a bit and maybe they use a guillotine now in 2023, Russian clinics have started to introduce sexologists to help people overcome homosexuality. Look, there's no link between the oil and oil exporting and this homophobia. What there really is, is the utilization of othering of minorities to justify despotic dictatorial rule. And my point is, every time we continue to consume gas and continue to consume oil, we are in some ways propping up very dangerous states that may, you know, in some sense damage the civil liberties of the world over time if things go the wrong way. So I just admired him specifically for calling that out.

Tom: [01:09:13] Yeah, I mean, the bit that really struck me, I thought he had a very interesting comment about the COP process where he said people may look at this and think, oh they've got this, they're sorting this out. And I hadn't quite the penny hadn't quite dropped to me that actually that is the that is the opportunity cost of the COP is that everybody looks to a moment and says this is the process that has our future in its hand. And if it's not delivering that, it's failing twice, right. It's failing not to deliver at. And it's also failing the expectations where everyone is sort of othering their responsibility to this process, which makes it really, really critical. So I thought that was an interesting thought. I mean, he's so prepared to speak truth to power. I mean, he's obviously occupied the highest levels of both business and government and just prepared to call it exactly as he is, as it is. I did wonder I mean, it's interesting how he's clearly so close to so many people in the US administration. And there is a difference between what he's saying and what they're saying, as there will obviously be on things like oil and gas, on the role of COP 28 and Dr. Sultan specifically, and I only thought about this afterwards, but I do wonder if they are playing a game that is connected to each other, like was is he saying something because only he can and then he's actually kind of coordinating with Secretary Kerry, who kind of can't say certain things. We'll never really know. 

Christiana: [01:10:38] I don't think so, I don't think so Tom, no.

Tom: [01:10:38] You don't think so? There's, I mean, he's such a brilliant strategist, but like, what is how how does it fit together with the official US position or is he just doing his own thing?

Christiana: [01:10:47] I think he's just doing his own thing. And he can, right. He can if he were occupying any position, but he would only occupy the highest positions in the United States government. You wonder whether his statements would be a little bit changed. But I think he feels ironically liberated from having to do that. And he's just speaking straight out of his heart and brain. Right. His heart and brain are totally connected. There is no there is no no sliver of light between those two. And he is just speaking straight out of there. And, you know, so maybe someone in the US government calls and goes like, Al, really did you have to say that? And he would say yes.

Tom: [01:11:36] Yes, this is me. 

Christiana: [01:11:38] This is me.

Paul: [01:11:41] What was it he said? He said, I pushed my own button there. You know, he does have a way of kind of activating himself. It's rather beautiful.

Tom: [01:11:49] He does, yeah. I also really hope that Paul's bio on the CDP website is just going to read, in the history of fantasy books, yours is the best, because that was what he said to you, wasn't it?

Paul: [01:11:59] Oh yeah, that's right, that's right. On the January the 6th.

Tom: [01:12:02] Some people have written some pretty far out fantasy books, but yours takes the cake.

Paul: [01:12:06] No, no. Yeah. I mean, like I do think that it's it's actually if you ever, if you ever want to watch a rather moving bit of film, it is when he is certificating the the electoral victory of George W Bush and many many of his compatriots on the Democratic side of the, of the hall are imploring him not to do it. But he did his duty as we can argue Mike Pence is and as I put my did and as I put my hand on my heart, I hope all future custodians of the office uphold the democratic principles upon which everything depends.

Tom: [01:12:43] Great. Good place to end. So anything else? Or should we move off from there? Thank you. It's been great to see you. Thanks, everyone, for joining us for this first episode back. We are now back with episodes every week through to Christmas and we are leaving you today as ever, with a piece of music which this week comes from Hilang Child. So please enjoy and we will see you next week.

Christiana: [01:13:04] Bye. 

Paul: [01:13:04] Bye.

Tom: [01:13:05] Bye.

Hilang Child: [01:13:07] Hey, I'm Ed Riman, also known as the recording artist Hilang Child. And I also, as it so happens, have recently gone back to university to study climate change. The song that I've recorded for you is a special live version of my brand new single called Lapwings. It's a song about birdwatching, basically. I'm really into bird watching, and it's the song kind of celebrates the meditative experience of just being alone out in the wild, doing nothing but watching the birds. Something that I am outraged about is we've already lost so much, you know, clearly due to human induced climate change. And yet so many of those in power still treat it like it's tomorrow's problem. But something I'm optimistic about is the fact that the issue is so kind of high in public awareness now that I think more and more people are coming together to make a change and just generally appreciating the fragility of our world and the fact that we can't take it for granted anymore.

Clay: [01:17:09] So there you go. Another episode of Outrage + Optimism. I'm Clay from the Outrage + Optimism team. We are back kicking off this next run of shows with Hilang Child and his song Lapwings. We have music on the show and this week it's extra special because this is a podcast exclusive. The song you just heard doesn't actually release until tomorrow, Friday September 8th. So we are so privileged to have a live version made just for Outrage + Optimism, for you. And if you're listening on the day that this comes out, which is Thursday, you can check the show notes to pre-save, the song, the studio version of the song. So, you know, it arrives to your music listener when it's released or if it's Friday and beyond, you can go stream the studio version of Lapwings right now wherever you get your music. Check the show notes for a link to that. One other thing that I want you to know is that Hilang Child, a while back, recorded this five song nature/music album in collaboration with a few other artists, and it's called Balance. It was made with these field recordings from tropical rainforests of West Borneo, The Welsh temperate rainforest, which I didn't actually know were a thing until today.

Clay: [01:18:28] And they combined those sounds against these like industrial sounds of the greater UK and Indonesia. So Balance. So add it to your rotation at home. It's a great weekend listen, I know you'll enjoy it. Check it out. Link in the show notes. It's got this like grassroots collective energy, very Detroit techno energy vibe. And thank you to our guest this week, Vice President Al Gore. It's a bit surreal to meet a Vice President. I have to say. I did stand in line for ice cream once with him, but that's another story. I finally had the privilege to talk with him for a moment. It was very humbling. I was reflecting on the fact that I actually remember the exact building room and seat I was in when I was shown An Inconvenient Truth for the first time, Hart Middle School here in Michigan. And yeah, we've been wanting to have them on the podcast, as Tom said, for a long time. So finally, great to make it a reality. Um, yeah. His TED Talk is making waves in the world. If you haven't seen it yet, you got to. Last I checked, between YouTube and TED.com, it's got like 1.5 million views. It was filmed right here in Detroit, Michigan, I have to say that.

Clay: [01:19:43] And this week's heated newsletter made a good comment about it and I thought I'd share it. It's a great piece to share with friends, family and colleagues. It's very accessible and activating and engaged. I was in the room when he gave the TED Talk and amidst everything else, amazing happening at TED Countdown. And there were amazing things that night. You know, his TED Talk completely consumed our entire dinner conversation. So worth checking out and having a dinner conversation of your own about it. Okay, So there's so much in store that we have for you for the next couple months. We're very, very excited to share everything, but one week at a time. We're so excited to have you back. We're excited to be back. It's always better when we're together. I hope you have all found maybe some peace, maybe some rest while we've been away amidst the chaos, obviously. And this next run, we are kicking it into gear with Climate Week coming and COP 28 on the horizon. So let's go. Thanks for listening. Please hit subscribe Share with friends. Follow this podcast on your podcast player and we will see you next week. Bye.


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