Al Gore

Founder and chair of Alliance for Climate Protections, Co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, Co-founder and Chairman of Current TV

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Why He Matters

Albert Gore (also known as Al, or Veep, or the guy who was almost president in 2000) has a new calling card: the nation's leading voice for action on climate change. Many assumed the former vice president and Nobel laureate would play a role as "climate czar" under President Barack Obama, but Gore says he's content pushing for action from the private sector.

But inside or outside government, Gore will continue to shape how the public and policy-makers think about climate change. Gore first turned his attention to the issue in the late 1980s, learning about the science of greenhouse gases and traveling the world to see the early effects of a changing climate. He was a key figure in some of the earliest congressional work on climate change, and as vice president attempted to lead the country on limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Author, An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and The Assault on Reason (2007); Democratic presidential candidate (2000); Vice President of the United States (January 1993 to January 2000)
  • Birthday: March 31, 1948
  • Hometown: Born in Washington, D.C., and spent his childhood between D.C. and Carthage, Tennessee
  • Alma Mater: Harvard University, B.A., 1969; Vanderbilt University Divinity School, attended; Vanderbilt University Law School, attended
  • Spouse: Divorcing Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Office: 2100 West End Avenue, Suite 620, Nashville, Tenn., 615-327-2227
  • Web site

Path to Power

Gore Jr. was born March 31, 1948, to Albert Gore Sr. and Pauline LaFon Gore in Washington, D.C. His father was a congressman representing Tennessee from 1939 to 1953, and a Senator until 1971. Back home in Carthage, Tenn. the family raised hay, tobacco and cattle.

Gore attended Washington's St. Albans School, an elite, private all-boys school. He earned a B.A. in government from Harvard University in 1969, and after graduation enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served as a journalist within the Army for two years during the Vietnam War, and received honorable discharge. He became an investigative reporter with the Tennessean in Nashville, and attended divinity school and later law school at Vanderbilt University.

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The Issues

Climate change

Gore has been perhaps the most vocal, visible political figure on the issue of climate change since losing the 2000 presidential election. "This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong," he wrote in the New York Times in July 2007. "Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours."

In March 2008, his Alliance for Climate Protection launched a three-year, $300 million campaign to mobilize Americans to call for aggressive emissions reductions. Gore has called for a 90 percent cut in emissions by mid-century in order to curb climate change.

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The Network

Gore officially endorsed Obama on June 17, 2008, at an event in Detroit, calling Obama "a candidate who, in response to those doubting our ability to solve the climate crisis and create a bright future, inspired millions to say, 'Yes we can.'" There was speculation at the time that Gore might take another pass as vice president under Obama, but Gore denied interest in returning to the federal government.

On December 9, 2008, shortly before the names of their selections for key environment and energy posts became public, Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden met with Gore in Chicago. Some have suggested that they were seeking Gore's seal of approval on their personnel decisions. Most notably, Obama's selection for the new role of "energy and climate change" czar is Carol M. Browner, a Gore prodigy who served as the EPA chief when he was vice president. Gore and Browner have had a close working relationship over the years, and she served as his legislative director in the Senate from 1988 to 1991.


Additional Resources

  1. "Al Gore: A Generational Challenge to Repower America" speech, Alliance fof Climate Protection Web site
  2. Stengel, Richard, "Profiles In Caution," Time, March 21, 1988
  3. Eilperin, Juliet, "Gore Launches Ambitious Advocacy Campaign on Climate," The Washington Post, March 31, 2008
  4. Sheppard, Kate. "There's Gore where that came from," Grist, June 17, 2008
  5. "The Gore-y Details," Grist, July 17, 2008
  6. Sheppard, Kate, "That assumption just went splat," Grist, September 24, 2008
  7. Gore, Al, "Remarks As Prepared for Delivery for Vice President Al Gore," Kyoto Climate Change Conference, December 8, 1997
  8. Sheppard, Kate, "Tell me Gore!" Grist, Dec. 9, 2008
  9. Eisendrath, John, "The longest shot; measuring Al Gore Jr. for the White House," Washington Monthly, Nov. 1986
  10. Gore, Al, "Earth in the Balance," Plume, 1993
  11. Live Earth Web site
  12. Gore, Al, "Nobel Lecture in Oslo, Norway," Dec. 10, 2007
  13. "The Thrill of It, Al," Grist, October 12, 2007.
  14. "Clinton Hails Global Warming Pact," CNN, Dec. 11, 1997
  15. Sheppard, Kate, "Gore to U.N.: 350 or bust," Grist, Dec. 12, 2008
  16. Maraniss, David and Ellen Nakashima. "Al Gore, Growing Up in Two Worlds," The Washington Post, October 10, 1999
  17. "Albert A. Gore, Jr., 45th Vice President (1993-2001)," Senate history Web site
  18. Gore, Al, "Moving Beyond Kyoto," New York Times, July 1, 2007
  19. "Nobel winner Gore calls for early climate treaty," Reuters, Dec. 7, 2007
  20. Sheppard, Kate, "That assumption just went splat," Grist, September 24, 2008
  21. Barron, Rachel, "Al Gore Backs Carbon Tax," GreenTechMedia, March 19, 2008