Al Gore Preaches Birth Control and Declining Costs of Renewable Energy as Keys to Climate Change

Al Gore
(Photo : REUTERS/Denis Balibouse) Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore looks on before the Crystal Awards Ceremony at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 in Davos January 21, 2014. The annual Davos gathering, which draws thousands of the world's most powerful people, will this year welcome more than 40 heads of state and government to focus on questions about the world's future, organizers said on Wednesday. This year's event will run from Jan 22 to 25.

Amidst concerns of a projected population boom in the developing world, former vice president Al Gore suggested at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland that increased use of contraceptives to manage fertility as well as the decline in cost associated with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar will be key to global climate change.

"Depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women and making fertility management ubiquitously available - so women can choose how many children and the spacing of children - is crucial to the future shape of human civilization," said Gore.

Joining him in this sentiment was fellow panel member Bill Gates. 

"If you get the health improved, if you get the availability of contraceptives, then families will voluntarily choose to have less children," Gates said.

On the issue of renewable energy, Gore stated that although costs have not come down as quickly as predicted, their progress has still been significant. 

"[The cost reductions] we've seen are not as steep as Moore's Law and computer chips, but it has been very impressive, and it is opening up great opportunities for the world to really solve the climate crisis," Gore said.

Citing his observation in the increase in extreme weather events, Gore stressd the urgency that such events may place on governments and companies to embrace policy changes concerning CO2 emissions. However, there is some dispute over the frequency of extreme weather events and whether or not they are linked to climate change at all. 

In statements made to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year, University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke stated that the frequency of extreme weather events has not increased over the long term.

"It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.  It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.  Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.  The same holds for tropical cyclones globally since at least 1970," said Pielke.

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