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Earth Changes => Global Warming => Topic started by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 12:04:52 pm

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 12:04:52 pm

                                                Gore gets Nobel, warns of ominous threat

Associated Press Writer
dECEMBER 10,2007
OSLO, Norway - Al Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and urged the United States and China to make the boldest moves on climate change or "stand accountable before history for their failure to act."
In accepting the prize he shared with the U.N. climate panel, the former vice president said humanity risks sliding down a path of "mutually assured destruction."

"It is time to make peace with the planet," Gore said in his acceptance speech that quoted Churchill, Gandhi and the Bible. "We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war."

Gore shared the Nobel with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it. The U.N. panel was represented at the ceremony by its leader, Rajendra Pachauri.

"We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency — a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here," Gore said at the gala ceremony in Oslo's city hall, in front of Norway's royalty, leaders and invited guests.

Gore urged China and the U.S. — the world's biggest carbon emitters — to "make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act."

His remarks came as governments met in Bali, Indonesia, to start work on a new international treaty to reduce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Gore and Pachauri plan to fly there Wednesday to join the climate talks.

The governments hope to have the new pact, which succeeds the Kyoto accord, in place by 2012, but Gore has said the urgency of the problem means they should aim to come to an agreement by 2010.

Before his speech, Gore said in an interview with The Associated Press that he believes the next U.S. president
will shift the country's course on climate change and engage in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

"The new president, whichever party wins the election, is likely to have to change the position on this climate crisis," Gore said in the interview. "I do believe the U.S., soon, is to have a more constructive role."

He said it was not too late for Bush administration to join efforts to draft a new global treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

"I have urged President Bush and his administration to be part of the world community's effort to solve this crisis," Gore said. "I hope they will change their position."

The Bush administration opposed the Kyoto treaty on climate change, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and objecting that fast developing nations like China and India were not required to reduce emissions.

In his speech, Gore urged nations to impose a CO2 tax, and called for a moratorium on the building of new coal plants without the capacity to trap carbon. He directed special attention to the United States and China, the world's biggest emitters of carbon emissions.

"While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — and most of all, my own country — that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act," Gore said.

"Both countries should stop using the other's behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment."

Pachauri described in his speech how a warming climate could lead to flooding of low-lying countries, disruptions to food supply, the spread of diseases and the loss of biodiversity.

The impact "could prove extremely unsettling" for the world's poor and vulnerable, he said, and ended his speech with a question for the Bali conference: "Will those responsible for decisions in the field of climate change at the global level listen to the voice of science and knowledge, which is now loud and clear?"

Each Nobel Prize includes a gold medal, a diploma and a $1.6 million cash award.

The Nobel Prizes, first awarded in 1901, are always presented Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of their creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

The other Nobel awards — in medicine, chemistry, physics, literature and economics — will be presented at a separate ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.

In Stockholm, the winners of the science Nobels receive their awards Monday from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf before being treated to a lavish white-tie banquet at City Hall.

The 2007 awards in medicine, chemistry and physics honored breakthroughs in stem cell research on mice, solid-surface chemistry and the discovery of a phenomenon that lets computers and digital music players store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.

Three U.S. economists shared the economics award for their work on how people's knowledge and self-interest affect their behavior in the market or in social situations such as voting and labor negotiations.

One of the economics winners, Leonid Hurwicz, 90, and the literature prize winner, 88-year-old British writer Doris Lessing, could not travel to Stockholm. They will receive their awards at later ceremonies in Minnesota and London, respectively

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 12:11:09 pm

Nobel Peace Prize winners Al Gore, left and Rajendra Pachauri,
the U.N. climate panel's chief scientist, hold with their medals
and diplomas at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at

City Hall in Oslo, Monday, Dec. 10, 2007.


Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 12:15:46 pm

Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Rajendra Pachauri, third left, with wife Saroj, fourth left, and Al Gore, third right, with wife Tipper, fourth right, meet Norway's Crown Prince Haakon, left, his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit, second left, King Harald, second right, and Queen Sonja, right, in the Royal Palace in Oslo Monday Dec. 10, 2007.

(AP Photo/Jon Eeg, Scanpix Norway, POOL)

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 12:24:14 pm


"......YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY........"


                                 DECEMBER 12, 2000   -   DECEMBER 10, 2007


Post by: rockessence on December 10, 2007, 01:56:22 pm
The pic at the top of the thread is amazing....they lined him up to have a perfect HALO!



Post by: Tom Hebert on December 10, 2007, 02:05:44 pm
Here's a guy who was given lemons, so he made lemonade.  He certainly has some qualities that would be good for all of us to emulate!

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 02:47:00 pm

QUOTE (Rockessence):

"The pic at the top of the thread is amazing....they lined him up to have a perfect HALO!

 Saint Al"

I can't think of too many people that deserve  "Saint" before their name.   Al certainly does!!!

Anybody remember the 'contrived' picture of 'somebody else' crowned by a halo?......ROTFLMAO!!!


QUOTE (Tom Hebert):

"Here's a guy who was given lemons, so he made lemonade.  He certainly has some qualities that would be good for all of us to emulate!"

Yes, Tom, in an age of NO 'role models', he is the only one!!!

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 03:32:09 pm



Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 03:41:24 pm

Nobel Peace Prize laureates Rajendra Pachauri (R), representing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (2nd R) are escorted by Geir Lundestad (L), the director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, as they walk to the City Hall in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony
December 10, 2007.

REUTERS/Kyrre Lien/Scanpix Norway (NORWAY)


Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 03:54:36 pm

Nobel Peace Prize winners Al Gore, left, Rajendra Pachauri, the U.N. climate panel's chief scientist, center, and local child Jonas Robstad, 12, light the Nobel flame of peace, in an event organised by Save the Children, ahead of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Monday, Dec. 10, 2007.

(AP Photo/John McConnico)


Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore, second left, and his wife Tipper, left, meet Norway's King Harald, second right, and Queen Sonja in the Royal Palace in Oslo Monday Dec. 10, 2007. Al Gore will receive his diploma and prize in the City Hall Monday afternoon. Gore and the U.N. climate panel's chief scientist accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Monday for sounding the alarm over what the former U.S. vice president called the 'planetary emergency' of global warming.

(AP Photo/Jon Eeg, Scanpix Norway, POOL)

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 04:59:09 pm

                                           AL GORE'S JOURNEY - Writing and Healing

Career in the Balance,
Gore Focused His Energy on a Book

The Associated Press 
September 3, 2000

One of Al Gore's Senate colleagues was worried about his late-night comings and goings.

"Son, you need to get home to your family," the senator, Howell Heflin of Alabama, told Mr. Gore repeatedly back in 1990 and 1991. Mr. Heflin lived in the same Capitol Hill apartment building where Mr. Gore's parents kept a place after they moved back to Tennessee, and regularly spotted him getting into his car at 2:30 or 3 in the morning.

"He kept mighty late hours," Mr. Heflin, who is now retired, said in an interview. "Maybe I'd be up for some reason and I'd look out the window and see him depart."

He need not have concerned himself, though. This particular midlife crisis was being worked out through work -- lots of it -- and the pied-ŕ-terre was where he holed up to get it done.

Mr. Gore had embarrassed himself by running for president before he was ready, in 1988. He shuttered that campaign, his first losing effort, just as he was turning 40. Not quite a year later, he watched a car hit his 6-year-old son. His therapy, his catharsis, his way of making sense of all he had been through, was a writing project that became the book "Earth in the Balance," an environmental call to arms.

"I began to take stock, but didn't really know how to do it," Mr. Gore said, self-critically, in a recent interview. "It was obvious to me I had a lot of growing to do, yet I channeled my feeling into the
global environmental crisis and addressing it."

He returned to an earlier vision of himself, as a writer -- a role he seems to see as superior to that of a politician. And in his writing, he atoned for what he saw as his sins as a candidate. "The harder truth," he wrote in the book, "is that I simply lacked the strength to keep on talking about the environmental crisis constantly, whether it was being reported in the press or not."

He had certainly not regretted turning 40 -- finally, he thought, after years playing down his youth in races against older men. "I was delighted," he said recently, then mocked his delight. "I thought 40 was laden with gravitas."

Yet at midlife, nothing was going as planned. The campaign had left him heavily in debt and unsure how much it had hurt his prospects.

Even his wife was mad at him. They were getting into it pretty regularly in front of staff, usually over his crammed schedule. Though he had tried to preserve some semblance of family life by bringing his children on the road, that had not worked out, either.

After his son's accident, in April of 1989, he blamed himself, and not only because he had been holding Albert's hand before the boy broke free and ran into traffic. "He was thinking about how much time had he really taken with his son," said Chip Forrester, a Senate aide. "And if he had died, how much he would have regretted."

In a darkened car in rural Tennessee a few months later, Mr. Gore tried to describe the scene to Mr. Forrester, who recounted the conversation in an interview. "I looked down and his hand was slipping out of my hand," Mr. Gore said.

"Why was it doing that? Then he was sliding through traffic and everything was slow motion."

The boy made it across two lanes before he was struck by a '77 Chevy and thrown 20 feet. "I couldn't get to him fast enough," Mr. Gore told his aide. "I turned his head and he was alive, but we didn't know."

"I had him and let go", he said, almost whispering. "I had him."

The child had half of his spleen removed to stop internal bleeding, and spent nearly a month in the hospital and weeks after that in a full body cast. As he began to recover, Mr. Gore felt that he himself was getting a second shot at life.

If the result was not an all-new Al Gore -- and it wasn't -- at this time in the life of a newly chastened Mr. Gore, he did learn to do things differently. He put his four children's soccer games and school plays on the schedule, in ink. And traded his dozen-a-day Diet Cokes for club soda with cranberry juice. He made changes large and small.

Mr. Gore was still a workhorse, though, still someone who would want to explore the public policy implications of his personal crisis. So instead of sticking close to home, he stepped up his travels to environmental hot spots, including Antarctica and the Amazon, to inspect the damage himself.

And rather than cut back his hours, he took on the second demanding job of writing a book.

The astonishing thing Mr. Gore did with his second shot, though, was to write the sort of book that could do serious damage to a sitting senator with aspirations. Knowing he would run for president again some day, Mr. Gore produced a work certain to be used against him -- iconoclastic, personal and full of fat targets for ridicule. In terms certain to be lampooned, he connected the dots between family dysfunction and man's collective callousness toward nature.

In "Earth in the Balance," Mr. Gore also revealed himself in baldly unflattering ways, harshly judging his own failings as a man and a politician. "I began to doubt my own political judgment" in the 1988 campaign, he wrote, "so I began to ask the pollsters and professional politicians what they thought I ought to talk about. As a result, for much of the campaign I discussed what everybody else discussed, which too often was a familiar list of what the insiders agree are 'the issues.' "

Friends remember asking one another: Was he trying to blow up his career? He sounded the alarm about global warming, then an obscure issue. He swore off "finger-to-the-wind" politics. And as if to ensure that, he recommended the retirement of the internal combustion engine.

"I believe deeply that true change is possible," he wrote, "only when it begins inside the person who is advocating it. Mahatma Gandhi said it well: 'We must be the change we wish to see in the world.' "

Then, barely back from his book tour, Mr. Gore hooked up with Bill Clinton -- who as governor of Arkansas was not exactly known as an ardent environmentalist. And he took a post that requires whoever holds it to be the opposite of independent, brave and out there.

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 05:01:40 pm

'Is He Serious?'

When John Sterling, then editor in chief of Houghton Mifflin, heard in June 1990 that Senator Al Gore wanted to write a book on the global environment, he was skeptical.

"I wasn't interested in some kind of campaign book," Mr. Sterling recalled telling Mr. Gore's agent, Mort Janklow. "I don't do those books. I thought, 'Are we talking a ghostwriter? Is he serious?' "

Still, he traveled to Washington, thinking he might get half an hour, tops, with the would-be writer, probably in tandem with some aide who would have to walk Mr. Gore through the material.

Instead, "we spent three hours all alone, and he spoke with genuine passion and an amazing breadth of knowledge," Mr. Sterling said. "I came back thinking, 'By God, a politician writing a serious book about a controversial subject.' He had 80 percent of the book in his head."

Mr. Gore hired a researcher and a clerical assistant, and worked closely with Mr. Sterling to impose a cogent structure on, in the editor's words, the "287 things he knew he wanted to say."

Mr. Gore also wanted a little editorial hand-holding. "I have my own issues I want to work through here," he told Mr. Sterling. "How much Al Gore should there be" in the book? "How personal should it be?"

But he did write it himself.

And while he worked on the book, he was unusually prolific in other ways: he helped organize the National Religious Partnership for the Environment -- faith-based groups mobilizing to protect nature. He came up with Family Reunion, an annual symposium on problems facing families, which is still held every summer in Nashville.

He was also uncharacteristically bold as a lawmaker during this period. A month after his son's accident, he had introduced a bill financing a $1.7 billion program to expand what was then called the information superhighway -- and yes, he did contribute to the development of the Internet. The bill supported research and development for fiber optics and required the Pentagon to upgrade the computer network that was the Internet's forerunner. And it financed research crucial to expanding the Internet beyond military uses. Mr. Gore spent three years pushing it before President George Bush signed it into law in 1991.

In the thick of his writing project, in January 1991, he cast a vote that seemed sure to end whatever might be left of his career after his book came out. He voted with Republicans -- and only nine other Senate Democrats (including Joseph I. Lieberman, now his running mate) -- in favor of the Persian Gulf war, infuriating party leaders. The Senate majority leader, George Mitchell, refused to speak to Mr. Gore for months, and made it difficult for him to speak on the Senate floor.

"He was a traitor, someone who had abandoned the Democrats," said a former Gore aide, Steve Owens. It is ironic that people later accused Mr. Gore of trying to position himself to run as a moderate in 1992, Mr. Owens said. "Because if Al Gore ever cast a nonpolitical vote, that was it."

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 05:03:08 pm

'Now What Do We Talk About?'

Mr. Gore also began do-it-yourself psychotherapy. And though he can still say, as he has, "I was never on a couch," he took that work seriously, too.

One of the first meetings Mr. Gore had after his son's accident was with a Knoxville psychotherapist, Lance Laurence, and five of his colleagues, who wanted him to support a bill increasing Medicare coverage for the treatment of mental illness.

In the very first minute of the meeting, though, Mr. Gore said he already favored the bill. "It was, 'O.K., now what do we talk about?' " Dr. Laurence recalled.

The therapists could hardly have been more surprised by the two-hour discussion of intimacy and identity that followed.

"He was very psychological-minded," Dr. Laurence said. "There was a click, and we were all able to talk about things that were important, about meaning versus disconnectedness and the pathology of narcissism." Mr. Gore knew a lot about Robert Bly's book "Iron John," which discusses the damage that distant fathers do their sons.

And as Mr. Gore talked, Dr. Laurence thought that this "wasn't some theoretical experience with no personal resonance. He was trying to make sense of this for himself and had an emotional appreciation of those issues because he'd been there."

That night began what one of Mr. Gore's friends called his "psychotherapy by correspondence course." He read books recommended by Dr. Laurence, devoured Carl Jung, listened to personal development tapes in his car and, according to aides, regularly talked to Dr. Laurence on his car phone about what he was reading.

Why not do therapy the old-fashioned way? Mr. Gore and his wife, Tipper, often talk about the need to destigmatize it; would seeking counseling have been so shameful?

"We had family counseling" at the hospital after his son's accident, Mr. Gore said, "and we talked about that, but I never really considered doing therapy for myself. I didn't think I needed it, though I would encourage anyone who does to get it." Then he added, "Well, Tipper helped me."

Friends thought Mr. Gore shunned counseling less because he feared exposure than because he is the do-it-yourself type and doesn't take help that easily -- as he has repeatedly shown in the current campaign.

How much his wife was able to help him at that moment is unclear. She has said that their son's accident triggered a clinical depression, which was treated with medication and therapy. And though she has not said exactly when that was, one friend said that the accident, which she also witnessed, "sent her into a complete tailspin."

Yet Mr. Gore did re-examine his life, and in his reading was particularly taken with "The Drama of the Gifted Child," by Alice Miller, a book he handed out to friends and drew on in his own writing. The book speaks to the high-achieving children of narcissistic parents, who can lose track of their own desires while striving to please.

Mr. Gore has never spoken other than respectfully of his own self-made, intensely ambitious mother and father. But in his book, he wrote this: "A developing child in a dysfunctional family searches his parent's face for signals that he is whole and all is right with the world; when he finds no such approval, he begins to feel that something is wrong inside. And because he doubts his worth and authenticity, he begins controlling his inner experience -- smothering spontaneity, masking emotion, diverting creativity into robotic routine."

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 05:04:18 pm

A Strain on the Family

As Mr. Gore was writing those words, he was struggling to stay true to his promise to spend more time with his own children.

"There had been a real strain on the family," said Mr. Owens, who worked for Mr. Gore in both the House and the Senate.

And Mr. Gore's relationship with his wife remained tense for some time after their son's accident. His staff saw a relationship that seemed passionate -- they witnessed some major smooches, too -- and very real, but with real fights to show for it.

One night, months after the accident, Tipper Gore was with her husband in Tennessee, where she was to appear with him at a fund-raiser for his 1990 senatorial race. In the car on the way there, she asked him to brief her on the event. Who would be there?

"It's just the typical fund-raiser," he told her, according to the aide who drove that night. "We've done this a million times."

"Well, you say that," she answered. "But then I get there and it's different and then I can't live up to your expectations. I'm here and the least you can do. . . ."

"You do fine," he told her, as the aide remembers it. "You're making a mountain out of a molehill."

The fight went on like that until Mr. Gore finally threw a sheaf of briefing papers at his wife, who was behind him in the back seat. "Here, read this," he told her. Then Mr. Gore put his seat back in a reclining position and almost instantly went to sleep.

"That made her even madder," said the aide, who stole a glance in the rear-view mirror and saw her reading and fuming.

In a recent interview, Mrs. Gore said in a general discussion of family life that she and her husband believe "even fighting is communication," and have no desire to be portrayed as the kind of no-muss, no-fuss, picture-perfect couple that does not exist in nature. "At times it needs to go into the Jiffy Lube," she said of their relationship.

This was one of those times. And things did change. "Tipper had a lot more influence on the schedule and they started going on dates," Mr. Forrester said, though "some of the staff resented it."

Even in the thick of his presidential campaign, the Gores still go on dates; they took in "The Perfect Storm" one recent Sunday night. And Mr. Gore takes enormous pride in having been to all but one of his son's high school football games last year. Friends recall that Mr. Gore's own father never attended one of his.

As he was working on becoming a more present husband and father, Mr. Gore became aware that he had not always been the world's most sensitive boss. As a result, he brought in a management consultant to hear his staff members' frustrations, and even took them on retreat in West Virginia. He tried harder to listen to their concerns, they said, and let them put their children's soccer games on the schedule, too.

In one of his debates with Bill Bradley, the former New Jersey senator, during the primary season, the candidates were asked what mistake in life they had learned the most from, and Mr. Gore said this: "Early in my career in public service, I fell prey to what a lot of people who get into the work force and get excited about their work do. And they get drawn into it so much that they don't balance their lives."

When Mr. Gore again had the chance to speak, he circled back to the question. "Every time you are in a situation with a friend or a small group where you are unkind unnecessarily, that is a mistake and there is no excuse for it, whether it's stress or whatever," he said. "And as you get older and mature, if things go well you learn from those mistakes and stop doing that."

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 05:05:53 pm

A Difficult Decision

He was finishing the first draft of "Earth in the Balance," and it was time to choose: was he running for president in 1992, or wasn't he?

He hadn't changed so much that he wasn't tempted. He wanted to run, no question. But his family needed him. Not only that, but he had said publicly that his family needed him, that he was trying to be around more.

As one friend said, he had said it so often that to have run would not only have broken the spirit of his promise to his family, it would also have made that broken promise obvious to all the world.

His old Tennessee friend Steve Armistead said, "His quiet answer to me was, 'Bush's ratings are so high with Desert Storm, it's not in my interest to get in this.' "

He told his editor, Mr. Sterling, that he wanted to finish the book, which was far too long and needed major revisions. "It became clear that he could not finish the book and run for president," Mr. Sterling said.

As in his decision to go to Vietnam, a number of factors came into play. He spent a family vacation on a houseboat on a lake in Tennessee in August 1991, mulling his final decision. Then he announced that he would not run, though he seemed grumpy about it, aides said.

"I can't speak to whether I seemed thrilled," he said recently, bristling a little. "But I knew it was right because it was a very hard decision," he added, echoing the lesson, drilled into him as a prep-school student at St. Albans and mentioned in his recent convention speech, about taking the "hard right over the easy wrong."

For whatever combination of reasons, Mr. Gore chose his family and his book. And in the spring of 1992, Al Gore the author became the kind of hit Al Gore the candidate never was.

At a small book party at his high school friend Reed Hundt's house, Mr. Gore could hardly contain himself. "He stood on my stairs and said, "I hope you like it, because this book is me,' " Mr. Hundt remembered. " 'I hope you know it's really me.' "

The book was eventually translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than half a million copies. It was a best seller for eight weeks even before Bill Clinton chose to put Mr. Gore on the ticket.

Mr. Clinton did not know Mr. Gore well at the time, and chose him at least in part because of "Earth in the Balance." Rahm Emanuel, then Mr. Clinton's senior adviser, remembered that at the first meeting to discuss the vice-presidential short list, he saw the book on Mr. Clinton's night stand.

"He had been up until all hours of the morning reading that," Mr. Emanuel said. "When we got to Gore's name he praised the book, and was very taken with it. I always believed it was Gore's writing and thoughtfulness that caught his attention."

But why, after working so hard on his environmental manifesto and political declaration of independence, did Mr. Gore accept Mr. Clinton's invitation?

In a recent interview in his car, Mr. Gore described it as something of a sacrifice.

"I was quite ambivalent," he said. "But it's not just about me and how I want to spend my time and contribute while enjoying my life. I was feeling very content, even joyful. I was enjoying what I was doing."

Two friends said Mr. Gore told them much the same thing at the time. Someone close to Mr. Clinton who participated in the selection process remembered it this way: "He was not disinterested, but he didn't drop and do 50, either," the confidant said, referring to the way Mr. Gore began training right after deciding to make his first run for Congress. "He wasn't doing what other people were doing, which was position themselves. He did not campaign for it."

After thinking it over, Mr. Gore said, "I thought it mattered a lot to the cause that I wrote about whether we had four or eight years of moving in the right direction and laying the groundwork to a solution for global warming, compared to another four years of neglect" under Republicans. "I really felt we were headed for trouble, and I thought that between Bush and Clinton, Clinton would do better."

Not a ringing endorsement of Mr. Clinton as an environmentalist, though probably an accurate one.

Later in the same conversation, though, Mr. Gore challenged the premise that Mr. Clinton had not made the environment a priority in Arkansas. "It was not an awful record," he said. "It was mixed, certainly mixed, and gave me cause for concern."

He said he had made clear to Mr. Clinton before accepting the job that he expected their administration to take the issue seriously. In fact, he said, when Warren Christopher, who was in charge of the search for a running mate, asked him how he would respond if Mr. Clinton offered him a spot on the ticket, he said that before answering, he wanted to have a serious discussion with Mr. Clinton about the environment.

It was not a quid pro quo, he made clear, and he signaled that if all went well he certainly would join the ticket. But, he said, "I wanted to make it the topic." And when Mr. Clinton did call to offer him the job, Mr. Gore said, "He began by saying, 'I'd like to talk to you about the environment.' "

In the first of their weekly lunches Mr. Gore showed his new boss some charts on global warming, he said, adding that a good 90 percent of their lunches at least touched on the environment.

Mr. Gore often touts the Clinton administration's work in strengthening clean air regulations, forcing companies to disclose the toxins they use and protecting huge new tracts of land in the West. But some environmentalists have expressed disappointment over the consequences of the Nafta treaty and say the administration should have more aggressively forced industry to curtail greenhouse gases.

In the current campaign, the vice president has at least sporadically tried to make an issue of the environment, though again, this focus has not received extensive coverage. And he has not backed off anything he said in "Earth in the Balance," which was reissued this spring.

Asked about possible regrets, he quickly said oh, yes, and spoke of a number of writerly, rather than political, qualms. Lots of good stuff got cut, he said.

But has he been as faithful to the part of his book that promised an end to "finger-to-the-wind" politics? Again, he was quick to say yes. Told that that was not the consensus, he showed his frustration.

"I don't know exactly what they would cite other than Elián," he said. His position that the case of the young Cuban refugee Elián González should have been handled in family court was widely seen as a sop to Florida's Cuban population. "And that happens to be inaccurate because when I took that position I knew it was hurting me, even in Florida. And absent that issue, I don't know of another one where there's a claim I understand."

Maybe it's the new clothes, the new headquarters, the new proposals? For the first time in more than a dozen long interviews, Mr. Gore looked as if he might scream. "That's a myth!" he cried, leaning forward, very close to his interviewer in the car. "Tipper and Karenna," his oldest daughter, "took me to a store and said we're sick of these dark suits. What's the big deal?"

But then, asked how he would know if he had sold out, Mr. Gore not only simmered down but almost laughed. "I don't know," he said, "because I haven't."

To walk the line between idealism and compromise that is politics, he said, "you find the limits of the possible and you push."

"Look," he said, "if you're going to climb a mountain, you need to do a number of things to get ready -- plan the route, identify the base camp, get the supplies and, hopefully, some luck.

"This is a mountain," he added, referring to his environmental goals but also to his presidential campaign. "And I've been planning to climb this mountain for a pretty good while."

Post by: Bianca on December 10, 2007, 05:18:21 pm