Cannes Lions 2015: ‘Places like India should not want to repeat the mistakes of the West’: Al Gore

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 13.24.40In conversation with WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, former US vice president said climate change and economic development are interwined
The former US vice president and founder of The Climate Reality Project Al Gore, made the case for developing countries like India and South Africa to join the movement to shift to renewable energy sources like solar and win energy and help combat climate change. He was speaking at The Cannes Debate, alongside WPP CEO and founder Sir Martin Sorrell.

Asked specifically by Sorrell to respond to the stand of Indian energy minister Piyush Goyal (and his South African counterparts), Gore said, “Places like India should not want to repeat the mistakes of the West.”He countered the contention that countries like USA have been using coal to fuel industrialisation for much longer, while advocating restraint and change among developing countries. He reasoned that the sustainable energy sources and technology available today were not available earlier, and must be made use of in the interest of protecting the environment for future generations. Contrary to claims made, these sources were less expensive and could catalyse social progress and empowerment, he noted.

Sales projections for mobile phones were terribly wrong, he pointed out, when the product first hit the market. Like mobile phones grew exponentially overtaking landlines, so too could sustainable energy, he predicted. Like mobile phones, the cost of solar energy is coming down, added Gore: “It’s an unstoppable trend. The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end. We (those pushing for climate change) are winning. But we need to get there faster.”

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