China Can Cut Emissions Without Hurting Growth
SINGAPORE -- China can cut its carbon emissions without jeopardising economic growth if it uses new technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday.
Gore cited the mobile phone industry as an example of a business that does not need to burn fossil fuels such as oil and coal.
"There are ways to leap-frog the old, dirty technologies," said Gore, who was speaking at the Global Brand Forum in Singapore.
China, like other developing nations, is worried that plans to cut carbon emissions would cripple its economic development.
But Gore said the Chinese government needs to be more aggressive in fighting global warming because the country's chronic water shortage is tied to climate change.
"China has a great deal at risk," he said. "The water crisis is very closely related to the climate crisis." Millions of people in China, which is on course to overtake the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, have no access to clean drinking water.
Chinese scientists said last month that rising temperatures are draining wetlands at the head of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, China's two longest rivers, choking their flow and reducing water supplies to hundreds of millions of people.
While top Chinese leaders have "expressed themselves forcefully" on global warming, the comments do not "necessarily lead to immediate changes in the region," Gore said.
CALL FOR CARBON TAX
Gore, who became a climate crusader after he left the White House, also urged governments to impose carbon taxes because that would force businesses to think more carefully about their greenshouse gas emissions.
"The single, most effective thing that governments can do to solve this crisis" is to have a CO2 tax, Gore said.
He said that the introduction of the carbon tax in Norway has spurred businesses to develop the world's most advanced technology to bury heat-trapping greenhouse gases underground.
Gore said that he was embarrassed that as vice president, he had only managed to persuade one senator to vote for the Kyoto Treaty. While he feels that the majority of them would vote for it today, he stressed the need for people to have a greater "sense of urgency" about global warming.
Gore, who spearheaded last month's Live Earth concerts worldwide and whose documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar, has not ruled out another bid for the presidency.
"I haven't ruled out the possibility of running again at some point, but I don't expect to do so."