Former US vice-president Al Gore called for action on climate change yesterday, comparing denial of changing weather patterns to "sleepwalking towards the edge of the cliff".
Mr Gore, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his attempts to raise awareness of climate change, made the remarks at a keynote address at a Dublin conference exploring the links between climate change, hunger and poor nutrition.
“Even with glaring evidence [of extreme weather patterns] people still do not connect the dots of climate change,” he told more than 350 delegates from 60 countries. “We have to win the conversation about climate change. When you hear denial, speak up.”
Mr Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth , a best-selling book on global warming which was the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary film, discussed the effects of climate change on food security.
He lauded the conference focus on bringing together policymakers and representatives from communities most affected by climate change.
“[It is] all too rare … for those who are representing the communities most vulnerable … to have the ear of policymakers,” he said. “Giving a voice to grassroots is a wonderful contribution to this debate … Climate justice is the right focus for this conversation … We have to make our stand. We have to stand for climate justice.”
Mr Gore sits on the international advisory council of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice which hosted yesterday’s conference with the Government as part of Ireland’s EU presidency.
He told delegates that the most significant challenge facing humankind was to prevent worse damage in relation to climate change and suggested that “a combination of scientific knowledge and traditional expertise … can make all the difference”.
Mr Gore praised Ireland’s role in tackling global hunger and under-nutrition, describing it as a “world leader” in this area.