Making money from climate change

The following paragraph in Wikipedia caught my attention. The comment about the fee is referenced to The Smoking Gun website.

In recent years, Gore has remained busy traveling the world speaking and participating in events mainly aimed towards global warming awareness and prevention. His keynote presentation on global warming has received standing ovations, and he has presented it at least 1,000 times according to his monologue in An Inconvenient Truth. His speaking fee is $100,000.

So Al Gore has made a million dollars just from speaking about global warming, giving the same apparently well copyrighted keynote speech to over 1000 audiences. His income from film royalties probably exceeds that. And this from a man who was wealthy to begin with.

It is an illustration of the capitalist dream. Find a product that people want, that sells well, copyright it, and then flog it to death, selling it as many times as possible. Gore is clearly not averse to personal prosperity. But he is obviously opposed to the Bush Administration’s stand on the Kyoto Protocol, which seems to be based on a similar desire to maintain his nation’s prosperity. Much as Howard’s following of the American example seems to be based on a desire to maintain Australia’s economic prosperity.

The question is, if Gore was to become president of the USA, as many have called for, what would be his template for maintaining American prosperity and economic ascendency? He has made his fortune out of the climate change debate. Would he be able to make a similar fortune for his country out of the climate crisis? Could he translate his own personal windfall from the climate crisis to a windfall for the common person in the USA?

Of course he is steadfastly refusing to be nominated as a presidential candidate. So he will never be put to the test. The reality seems to be that responding to climate change meaningfully is almost certain to result in a lowering of the prosperity of the developed nations. It will require lifestyle changes that very few of us westerners are prepared to make. In short, it will cost us dearly.

When Al Gore recognises this, and starts to preach his message free of charge, as a symbol of his real concern for humanity, his credibility will rise dramatically in my mind. But in a society like the USA, where the value of something is generally measured by its price tag, perhaps no-one would listen anymore.

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