Al Gore speaks truth to power

5 min read

22 Nov 2018


Laura Quinton


CMI/Riku Isohella

5 min read

22 Nov 2018


Laura Quinton


CMI/Riku Isohella

Is there a way for humanity to develop sustainably? Former US Vice President, Nobel Laureate and Environmental activist Al Gore was in Helsinki recently and spoke ardently about how this could be possible. Read on to know more.

Must We Change? Can We Change? Will We Change? These were the questions climate warrior Al Gore posed to attendees at the Crisis Management Institute’s ‘Our Planet in Crisis and the Sustainability Revolution’ dinner held in Helsinki, Finland recently.

On the surface, it may have seemed an entertaining speech peppered with Trump jokes and self-deprecating anecdotes, however, Gore’s words carried with them an inconvenient truth. That the effects of climate change are real and indisputable. And he was in town on a recruitment drive to prevent it from being irreversible. “It’s all hands on deck. Time is running short,” he said.

Dealing with climate change

Guests comprising bankers, investors, and the hoi polloi of political and corporate power bore witness to the effects of climate change on our planet as photographic evidence documenting severe flooding, rain bombs, fire tornadoes, disturbing meteorological patterns, and the mass migration of climate refugees accompanied the politician’s rallying monologue.

However, the audience was cautioned against feeling too depressed, because the second question ‘Can We Change?’ brought with it optimism and hope. “After the final no there is a yes, and on that yes the future of the world depends,” he said quoting American poet Wallace Stevens. To effect this change, he said that we must urgently divest from fossil fuels, and swiftly adopt alternative energy sources and Electric Vehicles (EVs) which, as technology advances, Morgan Stanley says will reach cost parity with Internal-Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICE) by 2025. A similar trend is already visible in the energy sector where renewable energy is attaining cost parity and is steadily scoring over conventional energy generation.

Keeping in mind the fact that some of the movers and shakers of Europe were in the room, Gore emphasised to his captivated audience that climate change is the number one threat to the global economy and that it has reached an inflection point. He urged the audience to start demanding a better world and committing to not work with any companies that aren’t committed to climate protection.

Using the ESG approach

One way to do this is to utilise Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria when it comes to investing in companies. It is an approach that will help determine a company's impact on climate change and conservation efforts among others. The crux of the matter, according to him, was that we should no longer steal from the future to fix the present. That is not the sustainable way. 

This is a call that rings true with Wärtsilä as the company’s purpose is to enable sustainable societies through the use of smart technology.

Climate change is already exacerbating conflicts around the world as evidenced in Yemen and Gore stressed that addressing the linkage between climate change and conflicts should be a top priority. This is why conflict resolution organisations like the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) can play a huge role in solving the climate crisis.

AI Gore speaks truth to power2

CMI’s Chair Alexander Stubb, former US Vice President Al Gore and CMI’s Programme Director Itonde Kakoma.

CMI is an independent Finnish organisation that works to prevent and resolve violent conflicts through informal dialogue and mediation. It was founded by Nobel laureate and former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari in 2000. Since then, the organisation has grown to become one of the leaders in its field and Wärtsilä is a long-term key partner and active supporter of the organisation.

Read Al Gore’s exclusive interview with the CMI here.