I don’t want to dampen the celebration over Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, but I wonder if this is, as they say, a “teachable moment.” Should he skip the trip to Oslo, Norway, on a fuel-burning jet and instead accept the award by teleconference?Tierney quotes Gore on flying, and Gore would not doubt reply something like that he has been buying carbon offsets all along. Whatever. It'd be nice if Gore flew a little less, but let's be honest, global warming is not going to be solved by returning our standard of living to the 18th century. Or even by eating kangaroo meat instead of beef. We are still going to drive and fly and explore the world, not matter what. We will heat our homes by cheapest means possible -- that's human nature.
What will make a difference is if it becomes cheaper and easier to buy electric or even hydrogen cars. If solar technology makes it amenable to heat our homes most of the time via the sun. If wind and tidal technologies become so well understood that we use them the rest of the time. Despite what Joseph Romm says, we are not going to tax coal plants out of existence, as long as they are what is cheapest. It is going to be new technology that makes the difference.
So ultimately Gore will be flying to Oslo via some low-carbon-emitting airplane. And the rest of us will still be vacationing in Venice or London or Cancun. That's the future we need.