Gore warns NZ not immune to climate change

By Catherine Masters

Al Gore, 45th Vice-President of the United States, fixes an unwavering and quite presidential gaze and holds eye contact for just about the entirety of yesterday's 17-minute interview.

He takes little prompting to talk at length about global warming which he says humankind still needs to wake up to and take action about.

"We're still putting 90 million tonnes per day into the atmosphere as if its an open sewer and it's trapping more and more heat.

"The extra amount of energy trapped in the atmosphere every day is the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day and that's raising the temperature of the oceans, damaging the Great Barrier Reef, melting the ice including the majestic glaciers on the South Island here, in every mountain range in the world."

Mr Gore was speaking ahead of a private engagement at the Pacific Events Centre in Manukau for which the Herald understands he will be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The cheapest seat cost $804 and prices rose to more than $12,500 for a platinum-hosted VIP table where patrons got the added bonus of either a New Zealand public figure, a CEO or celebrity of their choice as their host.

Event company Duco flew Mr Gore to New Zealand because the American election is nigh and because he is what they term a "thought-leader."

Mr Gore told the Herald global warming could actually be the answer to a world struggling to escape the effects of the global recession because we need to create millions of jobs.

"How can we do that? By building solar and wind and retro buildings - 30 per cent of global warming pollution comes from buildings that have little or no insulation, that have inefficient energy systems. We can put millions of people to work fixing that.

"This is the answer to our economic problems as well as the environmental changes."

New Zealand, he said, should care about the climate crisis because we are all part of the same world.

"Any nation that's surrounded by the ocean needs to worry that we are acidifying the ocean and causing a dramatic loss in the productivity of the oceans and while New Zealand is blessed with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire world and abundant water resources, the disruption of the hydrological cycle can be harmful to agriculture and to every other pursuit in every country."

- NZ Herald

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