Former Vice President Al Gore praised President Obama’s energy policy speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday as “the best address on climate by any president ever.”
Writing on his blog, Gore, who won a Nobel Peace Price for his climate change activism, called Obama’s speech “historic.”
“I applaud the new measures announced by President Barack Obama this afternoon to help solve the climate crisis — particularly the decision to limit global warming pollution from existing as well as new power plants,” Gore wrote. “Following the important pledges he made in both his inaugural address and State of the Union speech earlier this year, and the historic gains in renewable energy and fuel efficiency that the President delivered in his first term, the policy changes he announced today represent important steps forward in the battle to halt catastrophic climate disruption.”
In his speech, Obama said the White House would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to draft new rules to limit the carbon pollution from both new and existing power plants that should be in effect by 2015. The president also said the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline should only be approved if it didn’t increase greenhouse gas pollution.
Gore called Obama’s EPA directive the most important part of the White House plan.
“This action — if followed by skillful and thorough execution of the plan — has the potential to fundamentally alter the course of our nation’s energy infrastructure development and help to promote a sustainable future,” he wrote. “On the international front, this action will bolster U.S. credibility and moral authority in negotiations with other countries.”
Gore ripped Congress for its “inaction and denial” on climate change, and urged the president to “make this challenge a centerpiece of his leadership during his remaining three and a half years in office.”
“The hard truth is that the maximum that now seems politically feasible still falls short of the minimum necessary to actually solve the climate crisis,” he said. “Continued and constant use of the bully pulpit, determined follow-through on the steps announced today, and additional steps in the months ahead can change the political reality and build a bipartisan consensus for the broader changes that are needed urgently.”