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Gore: Reliance On Fossil Fuels Poses Threat To U.S.

The United States must commit on the scale of the Apollo moon project to end its dependence on carbon-based fuels for electricity and switch to clean, renewable sources in the next decade, former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday.

Speaking in Washington, Gore challenged the nation to find a way, within 10 years, to produce all electric power from renewable sources.

"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Gore said. "The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels."

The Nobel Prize winner acknowledged formidable obstacles to achieving the goal. But referring to the challenge presented by President Kennedy of landing a man on the moon before 1970, Gore said that "many people doubted we could accomplish that goal.

"We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history," he said.

"Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind," he said, citing the famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the lunar surface in July 1969.

Gore said other American accomplishments, such as the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe, Social Security and the interstate highway system should serve as inspiration. He alluded to the White House call for more offshore drilling by condemning "the perverse logic" that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is to drill for more oil that won't be available for a decade.

"When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home," he said.

Gore said that without dramatic changes to reduce global warming pollution, "our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis" may be lost.

"Of course there are those who will tell us this can't be done," he said. "Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo — the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.