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Gore Urges Congress to Take Action on Climate Change

Former Vice President Al Gore returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify about global climate change. Gore told a congressional panel that global warming is "a true planetary emergency" and urged Congress to take action. The NewsHour presents excerpts of the hearing.

Read the Full Transcript

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Fresh from an Oscar win last month for his cautionary documentary about global warming, former Vice President Al Gore was back on the familiar territory of Capitol Hill today.

    Gore, who served as both a congressman and senator from Tennessee, began the day before the Energy Committee, where he held the first hearings on global warming 20 years ago.

    He warned that global warming required aggressive federal action.

    AL GORE, Former Vice President of the United States: What we're facing now is a crisis that is, by far, the most serious we've ever faced. And the way we're going to solve it is by asking you on both sides of the aisle to do what some people have, as you know, begun to fear we don't have the capacity to do anymore.

    I know they're wrong. I promise you a day will come when our children and grandchildren will look back, and they'll ask one of two questions. Either they will ask, "What in God's name were they doing? Didn't they see the evidence?"

    Or they may look back and they'll say, "How did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics and redeem the promise of American democracy and do what some said was impossible?"

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Gore said carbon emissions must be lowered now in order to succeed against climate change.

  • AL GORE:

    Number one, I think we should immediately freeze CO-2 emissions in the United States of America and then begin a program of sharp reductions to reach at least 90 percent reductions by 2050.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Among Gore's other recommendations: a moratorium on the construction of new coal-burning power plants; tougher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks; taxes on carbon emissions, along with a so-called cap-and-trade program that would set an overall limit on emissions, but permit industries to trade pollution allowances.

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